Hug a stranger

It’s so refreshing to watch little kids play. They say and do exactly what’s in their miniature minds. They hear no and it doesn’t phase them. They move on. Uninhibited. Free. They are able to quickly let go of what didn’t work out and move on to the next adventure. They see someone they don’t know and they invite them to play. They’ll stare down a stranger and it’s never awkward. But you just try that as an adult and people will think you’re psycho.

These carefree little ones slowly grow into older kids who start caring about things that don’t matter. And quit caring about the things that do. Because that’s what we’re taught. We bring up our defenses. Guard ourselves. Close off. Then we get sad, frustrated and disappointed that life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

But what is it supposed to be?

The older I get, the more I realize how wonderful life would be if we all kept the childlike mentality of living in kindness, gentleness, wonder and awe. The ability to live and let go. To forgive and forget. The ability to couple those childlike traits with the wisdom we gain from life experiences as we get older. What a perfect union.

As an adult, childlikeness is foreign and something we appreciate from a distance as it’s no longer the appropriate way to handle oneself. But I’m questioning that notion. As I continue on my journey, I may soon start hugging random strangers. Why? Why not? Everyone desires to feel loved and appreciated. Or maybe I’m just getting one step closer to the cuckoo’s nest.

The irony is that as I write this, someone knocked on my door. I paused for a moment, glanced down the hall and thought I don’t wanna talk to anyone. Whereas most children would be running to the door eager to find out who could possibly be hidden behind it.

Maybe the idea is better than the reality. Or maybe breaking the habit of being an adult is just really, really hard. The real question is “would it be worth it?” A life of unlimited possibility. Freedom. Imagination. Always being in that place where everyone knows your name. Feeling home. Feeling in community. That, only you can answer for yourself.

* Sidenote: I did get up and walk to the door. Not to answer it. Merely to peek out my window and see who could possibly be disturbing me on this lovely Sunday evening. Once they were safely out of front porch view, I opened the door and down fluttered a flyer inviting me to find out why Jesus came to earth… Hmmm, I think one of the reasons was so he could remind us to not lose our childlikeness (Matthew 18:3).

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