Thursday, October 6, 2011

Let's make French fries enough

It’s much easier not to know things sometimes. And to have French fries with your mom be enough.
–The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I always want to live with the eyes of a child--with innocence, wonder, passion and curiosity for life. My feet took me on a spiritual pilgrimage this summer to Spain for World Youth Day (WYD). There, I spent a week and a half prior to WYD on a program called Magis with a group made up of North Americans, Mauritians, and Chileans in Málaga on what was called an “experience” set up through the Global Jesuit Network. Our focus was seeing God through nature and ecology. We did meditations in nature, walked through knee-deep rivers, went on hikes, visited an aquarium, and cleaned a beach. Every day had private and group reflection. And every day had a theme. One day, we were encouraged to see the world through the eyes of a child. After some confusion on my part, I began to understand why.

Children tend to see the good around them. They are easily entertained or awed. They ask questions and are not too concerned with the passage of time or their schedules. They laugh easily, fall often, and have killer scars with a pretty good tale to go along with them. See the appeal? Living this way, or attempting to, gave me a new appreciation for what goes on around me. I remember on my “experience” in Spain being led around by Malagueños from activity to activity much like a kid at summer camp. For once, I was not preoccupied with where I was going, what I was doing, and at what time. I literally think my biggest concern was whether or not I would eat ice cream that day. (If so, nutella and white chocolate flavored.) I liked the lack of control, the peace I felt by not being overly-concerned for once. For someone who’s used to planning almost every minute of the day during school, this new development was awesome. Life was relatively easy.
So then why do we try to know everything, to grow up so fast? I feel like my mom, infamous for asking me the same questions throughout my teenage years. Is it the typical case of “you don’t know what you have ‘til it’s gone?” We seem to look at the past and want to relive the golden days, those infinite memories of naps, coloring books, bubbles, and cake. Of those days when we didn’t know everything all the time. When eating French fries with your mom could be enough. But what’s stopping you from bringing those things back? Why don’t we aim to live life like this to some degree more often? Why don't we let our feet drag us back to childhood--or at least, to that mentality?
At dinner tonight at an Indian restaurant, my friends reminded me that in many ways I’m still basically a child. It might have something to do with my tendency for quote movies in regular conversation, get overly-excited about food and tend to spill things on my clothing. But today, I think that can be enough.