The other day, out of the blue, one of my preschoolers said something about God. Since my center isn’t church-affiliated, I unfortunately can’t talk about the Lord much with those kids. So when J (4 years old) mentioned God, I was all ears. She told me she has a book about Him. Her eyes were wide with wonder, yet her expression was also sweet and tender – as if she somehow understood the combination of complete power and complete love that is the Lord. She told me with gentle amazement in her voice: “He created the sky, the trees, the flowers…even the snow, and the leaves…the branches…hair. And He even created the people….” She trailed off as if she’d never finish the list. We talked a little more, and I shared how special that was to me too. I could have sat in that moment, acknowledging something bigger than both of us together, forever. I am beyond happy that she knows that the Lord loves her.
One of the things I most like to encourage in children is a sense of wonder – in anything really. The world is so big and amazing to them, and we lose that a little as we grow up and have more of a sense of control. I want to encourage their curiosity, humility, and awe, partly because I think I’m supposed to be relearning those things from them too! I want to encourage them to ask questions that don’t have to be fully answered or understood. We put so much emphasis on knowing. At what point do we know enough that we forget to see things with that childlike wonder? It is good indeed for children to learn, and to grow rational so that they can make their choices in freedom. But I wonder if the innocence and wisdom in their recognition of more
expansive and wonderful things is oftentimes underrated.
“It has been shown me by a method of communication that is familiar in the other life of what nature are the ideas of little children when they see any objects. They were as if everything was alive, so that they had life in every idea of their thought. I also perceived that little children on earth have very similar ideas when they are at play; for as yet they have not reflection, such as adults have, as regards that which is devoid of life.” Arcana Coelestia 2298.
My latest goal is to be more in awe of the things I must not know. I want to banish any notion that the world is limited to what we know of it – that our knowledge is more powerful or even more comforting than what’s beyond it. It’s an easy recognition when I’m typing it out, but in my day to day life I respect and appreciate the things I know much more quickly than the things I don’t. I love the way Divine Providence 174 puts our understanding into perspective:
“No one knows how the Lord leads and teaches man inwardly, just as no one knows how the soul operates so that the eye sees, the ear hears, the tongue and mouth speak, the heart circulates the blood, the lungs breathe, the stomach digests, the liver and the pancreas distribute, the kidneys secrete, and much else. These processes do not come to man’s perception or sensation. The same is true of what the Lord does in the infinitely more numerous interior substances and forms of the mind.”
As we continue learning to use the tools we’re given, let this be an invitation to also hold it all gently enough to really open our arms to the vastness and wonder of what we don’t see.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be his glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory!
Amen and Amen!