Last week, Becca and I got an entire week of uninterrupted big sister little sister time. She rode back with me the entire seventeen hours from Nebraska after spring break and braved two plane flights all by herself last Saturday to return home. She came with me to almost all of my college classes, made a new friend with my professor’s daughter, went shopping with me at my second love (a used book warehouse called McKay’s), saw a world-renowned concert pianist, finger-painted, and finished an epic story about two princesses. We had a blast. Everyone this morning at school has been asking where my mini-me has gone.
In the midst of all our adventures, I found myself stopping to ponder the difference in perspective between my eyes and the ones of my nine-year-old sister. For one thing, it reestablished my appreciation for quiet and stillness. Becca was always moving, even when she sat, pumping her legs up and down in the chair and fidgeting this way and that. She was also constantly moving on to the next thing, asking what was next when I was still trying to finish the last. At first I wanted to chide her, inwardly thinking that she needed to slow down to fully appreciate things, but then I thought that perhaps we just appreciate life in different ways. Becca, she races to take in everything at once. I think she constantly moves because she doesn’t want to miss anything. She has eyes and a heart that are open to just about any and every adventure. Me, I have come to the realization that I will never be able to see it all, so I’d rather slow down and savor a select few things, soaking up all their riches. I like to pull up a comfy chair and settle into a moment, perhaps sip on a cup of coffee while it passes (only metaphorically of course; those closest to me know that I would never venture to drink the stuff in actuality, but I like the smell and idea of it).
Secondly, I noticed how easily I felt like silencing her voice or prompting her to sit down and behave properly when I was around my professors and peers. But they enjoyed her spirit, the carefree dreams of a nine-year-old writer and animal-lover. I realized that I’ve settled a bit too far into decorum, have lost the touch of innocent adventure and excitement of enjoying the little things in life, the child-like things perhaps. And I miss that. I miss being able to skip through a park or sing at the top of my lungs without worrying about someone looking, or dreaming without being squelched by the reality of logistics.
But mostly, she came into my world with the capacity to love what I had deemed unlovable. That is what humbled me the most. The heart of a child so willing to accept, so able to look past grievances and love what needs to be loved. I’m praying for the strength to reach that point too. I’m praying to see this person and situation with the eyes of God rather than my own. Perhaps with the eyes of a child, the faith of a child in a strong God. A God who does not differentiate between who and what he will love, unlike the struggling hearts of his grown-up children.