Let the children teach us about hope.
Yesterday, at lunch, my first grader turned to me and asked me “Mom, when am I going back to school?”
I sighed, hoping he wouldn’t be sad by my answer: “Not for awhile, honey.”
Immediately, his eyes widened and he said: “How many days?”
“I just don’t know, honey. For now, mommy is going to be your teacher.”
As he considered my answer, he looked lost in thought. While I cleaned up the table, all three boys disappeared. I found them a few minutes later investigating a white folding picnic table in the play room.
“I think there’s a lever somewhere that makes it small so we can move it” my oldest said as he looked underneath the table. Turns out, they were trying to move it through the doorway and over to the front room so they could start building a makeshift classroom.
“And mom,” he said. “Don’t worry! When I go back to school, you do not have to get rid of everything for the classroom. We can just stack everything up in the corner for the next time we need it.”
Earlier in the day, as we splashed in puddles yet again, an older man walked by and paused to watch them. “I’m jealous of them,” he said.
I thought about that statement all day yesterday – jealous of what? Their excitement, their joy, their abandon?
Or maybe jealous of their hope.
Instead of being jealous, however, we can let them teach us how.
I love these words of Emily Dickinson:
“‘Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.”
My prayer for us today, on this third Friday of Lent, is for the grace to hope like children.
How will you find hope today?