A few months ago, when the rocks were covered with snow, my family took a plane flight south to chase the sun. During our layover, we found a big open rotunda. My son, just over a year, ran around squealing with happiness. He pointed and pointed urgently out the big windows watching the planes and trucks. He could have stayed for hours.
I realized he had a different sense of time than I did. For me, this was just a necessary stop on the journey. Our destination was another time and place. We were just passing time. For him, the airport was the destination. He had no sense of where we were going or how long we’d be away from home. He was not pacing himself. He was fully present, fully open and joyfully accepting what that time had to offer. In his enthusiasm, I become more present, too. We were not waiting to live, waiting to arrive, we were living. We had arrived. The layover was the destination. I think of the airport rotunda often in my daily life as I try to live in the present.
On the first nice day of the season about a month ago, my little boy stopped along the side of the house to pick up a rock. He seemed to choose one very carefully and proceeded to hold onto it for the entirety of the walk. I thought it a fluke until he chose a different rock the next day on the way to the park. He handed it to me when we got to the playground to keep in my pocket, and held it again on the stroller ride home. It has become a ritual that I find so endearing– taking a piece of home with us on the journey until we return. The rock seems to ground him in home as we venture out. It has become a part of our routine that I find comfort in. He takes something as ordinary as a rock and gives it meaning. It becomes his companion in his little hand, something tangible to take hold of. As we explore farther and farther from home, home still awaits us. I muse about heaven as a home that awaits us and what we will hold in our hearts from this place as we travel there.
He, like so many children, seems to have a knack for presence and ritual. He invites me to my higher self, making sure I don’t miss out on what today has to offer me, hidden in the rocks. Children apply meaning to the ordinary and find awe in things adults can take for granted. In this way, being a mom has re-centered me in the present and reminded me of the importance of ritual.
Easter is a great ending to Jesus’ story in the Gospels. For us, the ones here and now, Easter is just the beginning of our story. Children seem to know that and want to remind us. There is something for us here and now, in this life, in this time and place. Mindfulness and ritual can help us to celebrate that this Easter season.