Years ago, my young son and I attended the funeral of a lovely, young cousin, who was taken from her family far too soon.
Her funeral service was one of the first I had ever attended which struck me more as a celebration of who she was and the impact her life had left on all those who knew her. The atmosphere was uplifting and the center stage was adorned with her picture and several clusters of balloons. Among the tears and sadness, there was laughter and smiles and love, because that is the kind of young woman she was.
My son was about 7 or 8 years of age at this time, and we sat waiting for the service to begin, amongst the many, many people who had come that day.
My son tapped me on the arm and quietly asked, “Mom, why are there smiley faces on all those balloons?”
I turned my gaze toward the stage, and much to my surprise, there were indeed smiley faces on each and every one of those balloons, as the helium-filled spheres stood tall and proud, radiating the room with their happiness! The lights in the room had reflected in such a way, that a bright, shiny smile landed perfectly on every balloon, as if they were sharing the same bright, full-of-life smile with which this young person had won the hearts of all those who loved her.
Talk about a new perspective!
Previously, my eyes simply saw a display of colored balloons. But my little boy, whose eyes still saw the world through his innocent, untarnished scope, saw smiley faces!
My mind and my heart were instantly stirred with this new view. I could no longer look at the balloons and just see balloons. Every time I looked, there they were. Smiley faces!
I silently thanked God for this wonderful gift, which imparted a new sense of peace on this celebration of life. After the service, we were given index cards on which to share a special memory of this beautiful young woman. I wrote down this unnoticed moment, hoping it would bring a little bit of joy to her family.
Perhaps no one else in that entire room saw the reflections of light at just that precise angle in order to notice the smiley faces.
Or perhaps, their eyes, like mine, could no longer easily discern this childlike viewpoint. Just like in the beloved tale of Peter Pan, by the time that coveted objective of adulthood is attained, the magic of childhood imagination becomes clouded with the cares and woes of life.
God surely knew this about mankind, as He found it note-worthy enough to include a reminder in His written Word, imploring His followers to be mindful of their perspective on the kingdom of heaven.
“People were bringing children to Him so that He would touch and bless them, but the disciples reprimanded them and discouraged them [from coming]. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and He said to them, “Allow the children to come to Me; do not forbid them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever does not receive and welcome the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” And He took the children [one by one] in His arms and blessed them [with kind, encouraging words], placing His hands on them.
Mark 10:13-16 (AMP)
We as adults sometimes think we have it all figured out… and some days, we find out in the most humbling way that we indeed have a lot left to learn about life. So many things skew our perspective and filter it all in the most unpleasant ways.
May each of us learn to take a step back, set aside the political, social and pre-set ideals of what it all should look like, and put on our ‘kid goggles‘.