Possibilities imagined

To the Journal editor:

When my kids were young, they’d routinely ask some pretty bizarre questions like, “Dad, what if the sky fell on the Earth?”

I’d say something like, “Don’t worry about it! It doesn’t work that way.” I actually didn’t know the answer, but I thought acting like I did was better than saying, “Gee, uh, I don’t know.” Invariably, they’d come back with the follow up, “But what if it did?”

I think that’s because little kids are willing and anxious to allow for new and wondrous possibilities. We “grownups” are not often so inclined. In fact, maybe we shouldn’t be called “grownups” at all. It’s misleading. Maybe “give-ups” or “put-offs” would be better.

As adults, most of us have lost the capacity to invent and engineer new and better ways of thinking and living. Most often, we’re too busy looking down our noses at people who are different from us to wonder why they are different and what being different actually means to them and to us.

Very often, “Just give me that old time religion” is very light on forgiveness and rather heavy on judgement. “Do unto others” frequently gets lost in a torrent of hellfire and damnation. Twain observed, “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.”

No wonder Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Perhaps he was fed up with the self-righteous babble of his day’s grownups. Twain observed that based on his life experience, it appears that you should go to Heaven for climate, but Hell for good company.

There’s something to be said for open-minded innocence and wonder. As adults, we expect to be understood but are hesitant to understand anything or anyone who sees the world differently. And that’s a shame, in every sense of that word.

Politicians, marketers and scoundrels of all stripes use our cold hearts to separate us and, ultimately, to restrict the very freedoms we purport to cherish.

Jesus said that we are to love one another as he loved us. He fed, forgave, and embraced the very ones the so called adults ignored and despised; the lepers, the lost, and the freaks that didn’t fit in.

I close with the question my children posed to me a thousand times: “But what if we did?”


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