Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Exploring The Universe With Chloe

Yesterday my wife was ill and stayed home from work. Since it was Tuesday Chloe needed to be picked up at the daycare. When I got there, she was the only child in the daycare wearing a Jerry Garcia tee shirt. That is what happens when you have a hippie grandfather. She gave me a big hug like she always does and off we went. Since Granny was at home in bed, dinner would be a solo venture for Chloe and me. We went to her favorite place...Dairy Queen....and had a wonderful time. Talking with Chloe is like talking to an adult, only better. We discussed just about everything under the sun including her recent trip to the zoo. Whenever I asked about a particular animal she would imitate the sound they make. The highlight of the zoo exchange was when she stood on one leg and told me she was a flamingo! We shared our food and fed one another ice cream. When we were finished we drove to her house to wait for Mommy to get home from work. Since we were a few minutes early, we sat on the front porch and looked at bugs. One way to renew your sense of wonder is to spend time with a small child. A sense of wonder is mandatory for a contemplative spirit. Chloe renews my sense of wonder and I hope to always keep hers alive. I enjoy being her guide as we explore the universe. I think I am better at this as a grandfather than I was as a young father with my own children. She was not happy when I left her but I promised that I would see her again in a few days. It's nice to be loved. Hopefully all of us are loved by others. Sometimes, however, the love is not apparent to us. Small children, like Chloe, don't hold back. She hugs me and kisses me and tells me she loves me. We adults are often not so open with our love. Perhaps we have loved another and not felt love in return. It's a rare person who has not had their heart broken. Some people believe it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Others get hurt by love and never recover. Love is not easy and it can be scary. Love does not always pay off. Sometimes it is disappointing. In spite of all this, I continue to believe in love. My whole life I have been led more by my heart than by my head. I hope that my head never takes over and demands that my love be logical or practical. Don't be afraid of love whether you are giving it or receiving it.

One of my friends is making a trip to the country of Bhutan. Do you know where that is? Admittedly I needed to look at a map. Bhutan is a small, somewhat isolated country sandwiched between China and India. It is a country where Buddhism flavors all aspects of living. Though a small country, there are approximately 1000 Buddhist monasteries throughout the land. Many young men spend some or all of their lives in these monasteries. It is considered a great honor for a family to have a son in the monastery. What a nice alternative to going in the army! I've asked my friend one small favor. I asked that she carry me in her pocket as she backpacks through the hills and mountains. Maybe she will go in a monastery, burn some incense, and think of me. Knowing her as I do, I know this will happen. It is very comforting to know that a friend, in a holy place thousands of miles away, will stop for a moment and think of me in prayer. She and I are kindred souls and I will be walking with her in spirit.

The best part of waking up is just WAKING UP!!!
-From an old Folger's coffee commercial

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