In this hot weather in New Mexico, I am remembering a cool Winter spent in London, and the reactions of a small boy in Harrods's Department Store.
Visiting Harrods's for the first time, being me, I wanted to see the Toy Dept. It was the Holiday Season, and the store was fully decorated, especially the Toy Dept. While I was getting lost in the fascinating displays, a boy, about 8 to 10 years old was coming along with his father. We were in the stuffed animal section of the Dept, and all at once the boy exclaimed "Oh daddy, what a lovely bear! "
Having been in London for only a few days, the accent grabbed at me of course. But the sincerity and absolute love in that voice was startling. First, no boy in America, even back in the 1970's, would have called anything "lovely ", and in particular, a stuffed bear. While I accepted this difference, I was unable to let it go without examination. A American boy, in that age group exclaiming "Oh daddy, what a lovely bear", would attract all kinds of the wrong attention. A psychiatrist may be summoned. But that gets us off the point; freedom.
That boy was not thinking about what others (me) were analyzing about the situation. At 8 to 10 he was able to be free enough to exclaim, to his dad no less, a lovely bear. This may seem a small thing, but it's the biggest thing there is!
This is what is meant by "becoming " as a child. Although, in this case, it was simply giving in to a recognized but diminishing force. Opening up, being free and open is so much more comforting than hiding. There were times in my life where a "lovely bear " would have been much more comfort than a baseball. But boys in my time hid their old bears and monkeys from one another, just as we often keep secrets apart from loved ones. To finally open up our tender heart, not only showing the "lovely bear ", but our love for it, willingly accepting what may come next, is to open that door, closed for so long.
"Oh daddy, what a lovely bear!" Oh daddy, what a lovely world!" To openly, not only say this, but proclaim it, is the very essence of freedom. Shout it like a three year old, or an 8 to 10 year old who is sure of who he is!