Children get it.
We can learn much about faith from listening to the words of toddlers. Last weekend, my mother-in-law was in town and went to Mass with us.
During one of the readings, she whispered into my two-year-old Olivia’s ear, “I love you.”
Olivia turned, put her mouth to my mother-in-law’s ear and went “Shhhhh!”, then pulled back, made her hand-sign for book and said “Time for readings!”
Kids can help us (re)discover prayers that we have long abandoned. Litanies were never “my thing”, too repetitive for me. But not for a two-year old. Olivia’s current prayer-of-choice is the Litany of the Sacred Heart. I say whatever the invocation and she responds “Have mercy us!”
Today, we are so connected in so many ways. I’m an early adopter (read: geek) and was one of the first—if not the first—of my friends with a website, on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Foursquare, the proto-Foursquare service Dodgeball, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc, etc, etc. I communicate with people more via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter than face-to-face. I catch myself checking my phone far too often.
But toddlers, nope. They live in the moment and are present only to those physically around them. They might not have a 1,000 followers on Twitter and just yell out “birdie!” when they see the Twitter logo, but they’re fully present.
Lately, when I’ve been frustrated with where I’m at on my spiritual journey, I can look at Olivia and be reminded that, sometimes, I’m making life too hard. You have to plan for the future and be connected to others, but, first, you have to pay attention to where you are now and experience that for what it is.