The world of a child.
June 29th, 2003
Received by H.
I also remember that once, when I was looking for the small objects and the tiny beings of my world in the back of my home, I found a hole in a board of the fence. I looked through the hole and saw a lot similar to that of my home, fallow and wild. I withdrew a few steps because, vaguely, I knew that something was about to happen. Suddenly a hand appeared. It was the tiny hand of a child of my age. When I came closer, the hand was gone and in its place there was a small white sheep.
It was a sheep of faded wool. It’s wheels upon which it had rolled had been lost. I had never seen such a pretty sheep. I went to my home and returned with a gift that I left in the same place: a cone of a pine tree, half-open, fragrant and balsamic, which I adored.
Never again did I see the child’s hand. Never again have I seen a sheep like that again. I lost it in a fire. And even now, in these years, when I come by a toyshop, stealthily I look at the shop windows. But it is in vain. Never again such a sheep like that one has been made.
Pablo Neruda: I Confess that I Have Lived. Memoirs.
And you remember that, being a boy, you used to spend hours lying on your back in the grass, watching the clouds and recognizing animals, figures, all kinds of things in them. Turning around, you saw the flowers of the meadow, the yellow crowns of the dandelion, and the bees sitting on them, with their tails nodding up and down, while they gathered pollen on their legs. You saw the dragonflies cutting through the air with supreme ability, crystalline and sharp, and so your grandfather always called them “glass-cutters.” It was a mysterious and fascinating world, a world that got lost...
You remember that one day you were able to catch a dragonfly. You killed it with dimethylbenzene, and you took it to your home to try your new gift that your parents had given you on your birthday: a microscope. With scalpel and pincers you managed to open the firm harness of its thorax, discovering the crossed musculature in its interior. Delicately, you made cuts, you tinted and fixed them in Canada balsam.
Part of your curiosity was satisfied, but your curiosity did not diminish. And worst of all, the satisfaction gained was not deep, not even ephemeral; it left in that very instant.
The mystery and attraction of the dragonflies still existed, up to now, but the vivid color of excitement became pale, as if the mystery had slid out of focus. The scale models called reality gradually replaced the child’s fascination. Now, definitively, you are an adult.
There, thousands of years ago, on the banks of the river Nile, there was the boy Jesus, playing with scarabs, watching the grains of sand, all of them different. In fact, he did not care to investigate. In front of the mystery, the beauty manifest in each tiny flower of the weeds, he opened himself up, he became filled. He conversed - with his friend, as he recognized Him then, or with his Father, as he used to call Him later.
He left the house telling his father Joseph:
“I am going to play and talk with my friend.”
And Joseph answered:
“Ok, go ahead. But don’t come back late!”
But when he observed him secretly, he did not manage to see any friend. The boy was sitting there all alone, playing with sand or scarabs. And Mary used to calm her husband:
“Don’t worry. So are their fantasies, they will go away. Those are children’s things.”
Yes, those were children’s things, and fortunately, they never disappeared from Jesus. He was right, although nobody understood it: He was playing and conversing with his Friend, with his Father. Conversations, exchanging love, receiving wisdom, deepening in the mystery without destroying it. The beauty and the mystery never lost their color for Jesus; they never shifted out of focus.
The statement that we have to become as the children are in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, has many interpretations. One of them is simply: to see, to recognize, to observe and to inhale mystery and beauty; to become filled with the magnificence of whatever is surrounding us, and to open up to Him, who is hiding behind the things.
Have a nice day,
© Copyright is asserted in this message by Geoff Cutler 2013