The lyrics to the song “If I Had Wings”, by Darius Rucker ran through my mind this evening as I watched my children play. He asks in a line of the song, “Have we forgotten some secret we knew back when we were just children? I thought to myself, yes we have.
Watch a young child. What is it that they possess that we don’t? What makes them worry and care free, trusting completely that everything is perfect and will always be? I believe that we were born this way. We were created perfect in love, knowing only love. We didn’t know that we were separate than anyone or anything, we didn’t know good or bad, love and hate. We only knew love and then we learned fear. We learned that life is not perfect and that we aren’t perfect the way that we are. We learned the black and white of things and that love is conditional. We learned that sometimes we are deserving of love and “good” and sometimes we are bad and unworthy of love. We learned to love some people and not others. We learned to love some animals and eat others. We learned that we could be better than others if we achieve more than them.
There is a constant game being played in the world today. It is a game of gain in a material world that we were taught to play and as we do, our childlike innocence gets lost as we watch and learn from the world we are surrounded by. Slowly, we begin to sink deeper into fear and lose touch with love, as we absorb the unconscious fear that we are surrounded by. Love becomes materialistic and conditional and fear becomes the driving force behind our entire existence.
As we age we continue to live our lives in avoidance mode, oblivious to the ever-existing present, by focusing our minds on either the past or the future. For some, energy is always directed to the past and in this mindset, we are essentially living day-to-day our past hurt, fears, unforgiveness and resentments. Our habit of dwelling on our past, may even become so ingrained that we never take risks, never let love in or allow ourselves the opportunity to be happy. We risk losing our entire sense of purpose and we forget to truly live.
If we aren’t dwelling on the past, we are looking ahead to the future, which does not actually exist, yet we eagerly anticipate the happiness that we believe the future is holding for us. We make so many plans that are dependent on “if” or “when” and promise ourselves life will be better once those circumstances ever arrive. “If I get that job, get married or move away.” “When I lose weight or when I’m older.” For some, it is even when I die and go to heaven. Anything that we tell ourselves to distract us from how terrible life seems in the present. Moments are passing by and we are just mindless. We miss out on so much happiness that is available to us all the time.
What I have learned in life is that tomorrow never comes and all my plans for if and when never bring true happiness with them. They have always only been a tool to keep me from the now. I am continually working on convincing myself that if I am not happy now, with my present situation or living and loving the life that I have now, I will not be any happier if or when. I have learned that when I play this gain game and live out my whole life trying to be somebody to the world, it will never really mean anything and it does not make me truly happy.
This is it. This is the hand I was dealt. I recognize that there were things done to me and things that I have done to others that I cannot go back and undo. Life does not always seem easy, I will never be perfect to the world’s standards and I can’t expect everything to always go my way and people to always be the way that I want them to. This is all true, but I am practicing looking deeply to see the perfection amidst the “imperfections”. I am recognizing the gift that my past presents me here and now. I see that all that has happened to me in the past has happened for a reason, to bring me to where I am, in this moment and accept the opportunity to shed this learned fear and return to love again.
I believe that life is constantly teaching us and offering us opportunities to grow and change. These opportunities and answers to our prayers are often the hard times we face and that our greatest growth is made during the darkest periods of our lives. All the terrible things that continue to happen all around us are really offering the answers to the prayers we continue to recite, but too often we miss out on looking deeply enough to see that. The hurt words and actions done to us by others are really what we need. Just like we need the rainy days to grow the green grass and the flowers, we need those times that seem so imperfect, so that we can have that same growth occur in our lives.
So often, we keep asking God to change us and help us, but when he does, through offering us the opportunity to make a better choice, practice patience or forgiveness, or see through the eyes of love we refuse and give up on the idea of love altogether. The world seems too hard, but it is only because we perceive it this way.
There is beauty in every moment. The child inside each of us remains, it is our spirit and it always longs for love. I believe it is what each of us is constantly searching for all the time. The silly thing is, that the search is completely unnecessary. We already are, each one of us loved, nothing we do or do not do during our lifetime will add or take away from that reality.
If only we could give up the search and remember that secret we knew back when we were just children. We were created perfect in love and anything that we have added on since is useless. Deep down we want to believe this simple truth and I believe that we will. We only need to let go of our learned fear, feelings of lack and imperfection and find that truth that lies inside. We need to return to love.