The other day, a child provided an entirely new perspective on what had become a daily source of frustration for me. Over the past several months, the university campus on which I study and teach has been progressively torn up by construction. One never knows from one day to the next which sidewalks will be open and which closed. A route that would yesterday have constituted a 10-minute walk, today involves what seems like a mile-long detour.
But, one afternoon as I returned from class, I came upon Tommy and his mother, a music professor. Tommy, two years old, paid little attention to the habited Sister approaching him. He had eyes only for the yellow digger truck that was raising and lowering its toothed bucket.
“The construction has inconvenienced a lot of people,” his mother told me, “but it has proven only joy for Tommy. Every day, we go somewhere new and watch the trucks and the construction workers doing their job.” As she spoke, Tommy shouted, “Wow!” in pure delight, and ran a few steps from Mommy to get a better view of the digger as it made a slow, 180-degree rotation.
Why had I never paused in awe to watch the diggers or admire the forklifts? Why had I always rushed by, indignant that I was running late? Part of the reason, of course, is that adults have schedules to keep. But part of the reason is that adults grow accustomed to what is actually quite incredible.
Why had I never paused in awe to watch the diggers or admire the forklifts? Why had I always rushed by, indignant that I was running late? Part of the reason, of course, is that adults have schedules to keep. But part of the reason is that adults grow accustomed to what is actually quite incredible. To the eyes of a two-year-old, a digger is as amazing as it seemed to its inventor or its first beneficiaries. A 2019 digger is as new to a 2019 two-year-old as it was in 1880 to the first farmers who used it.
It does us good sometimes to view the world with new eyes. For a digger is indeed a marvelous machine! And a leaf is a marvelous and intricate work of art. If we try, we can see the wonder of the world around us, rather than merely its nuisances.
This must be one reason why Our Lord said that only the childlike will inherit the kingdom. When we have learned to appreciate the ever-newness of God’s creation, and also of His creatures’ inventions, we will know that we really love Him.
In this month of the rosary, let us especially approach that familiar prayer with the eyes of a child. There is always something new in the rosary, both because the vocal prayers are drawn from Scripture and thus contain in themselves immeasurable depths and because the mysteries upon which we meditate during each decade are likewise unutterably profound. Through the action of the Holy Spirit, they can continue to unveil new insights throughout our entire lifetime.
One student on our campus has made a new-school-year-resolution to say the rosary every day. Can you do the same during this month?
Sr. Maria Veritas Marks is a member of the Ann Arbor-based Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.