My sister and her family recently came to visit, and through the eyes of her little ones, I am reminded of joy and wonder that is right in front of me.
One example is that my oldest niece delighted in playing with my hair. After she had parted it down the middle and fastened perky pigtails, she smiled and said, “That looks SOOOO good on you.” My laugh leaked out as I pictured myself with pigtails across from clients. How on earth would anyone take me seriously? I’m not talking low ponies; picture a high pony tail on either side of my head just above my ears. Hilarity! It was precious how sincere her compliment was, as she held no social awareness of what that would look like on a grown woman. To her, it looked great and she had no reason to think that would be hilarious or distracting.
At nine years old, she has fewer rules and less social restrictions in her mind. Anything goes for toddlers and elementary kids, and this seems to be a facet of their joy and wonder, for how they see the world. Also, she has a smaller view of the world and less weight to carry because she trusts her parents. She’s not bothered by bills or what to eat for dinner. She can then give herself to pony tails or toys, delighting in the wonder that is right in front of her.
Unfortunately, it is different for me. Not only are the little things overlooked, holding little shine for me compared to Emery, but even the big things that beckon marvel are watered down over time. The mundane life in motion is part of my being blind to the joys and wonders of the world. Over time “adulting” weighs us down, and we lose sight of the beauty, the sweet, the good, and the wonders right beside us. More essentially, we become too socially cognizant of how we are seen in pigtails.
We may still trust our parents, but we have outgrown our families of origin, and our parents have less say in our decisions and less involvement in our world. Our vision of the world grows, and sometimes to the point where there’s an insurmountable weight on our shoulders. But even though we’ve outgrown our parents, we’ve not outgrown our God. Our Heavenly Father has it all taken care of so that we can pause and rest, looking up to enjoy the wonders. We don’t have to labor or spin because He clothes us like lilies of the field (Matthew 6). We can enjoy the pictures He paints in the sky, the hearts and faces across from us, and pigtails created by nieces. We don’t have to get caught up in social constructs that bind instead of free us, that distract and steal rather than lead us to joy and laughter.
If you see me with pigtails soon, you’ll know why.
Mollie Johnston is a Counselor for The Barnabas Center. She has her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tennessee where she majored in Spanish as well as her Master of Arts in Christian Counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is especially passionate about helping individuals who are working through grief, doubts, trauma, relationships, anxiety, depression, self-esteem/identity issues, seasons of loneliness, family of origin issues, and divorce.
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