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Tenderhearted

June 17, AD2013

CS-LIttle Boy-Pixabay

How often do we see life through a child’s eyes?

When we are young and come directly from God, we enter this world without any preconceived expectations or formulated opinions. We embrace life fearlessly and lovingly. We see those around us through compassionate eyes. We love unconditionally, not expecting anything except the same love and compassion in return.

As years pass and life experiences challenge us, we lose perspective on our purpose on this earth. We forget that we are spiritual beings living a human experience. Our compassion towards our fellow man becomes skewed. Sadly, we become more a part of this world, conforming to its nature, and less a part of the Godly spirit that defined us.

Recently, my precious nephew and godson reminded me of our purpose, not through his words, but his actions.

Since the beginning of the school year, Alex talked about his friend Jack. They seemed to enjoy every part of their school day from classroom to recess to lunchtime.  So, it was understandable that on parent-teacher night, Alex’s parents were looking forward to meeting Jack and his parents. As children milled around the room, and parents and teachers talked to one another, Jack and his parents entered the room. Alex ran to greet them. As Alex’s parents turned, they saw the boy that they had heard so much about. However, Alex never indicated at any time that Jack was a special needs student.

While Alex and Jack were talking, Jack’s parents and teacher shared how Alex enhanced Jack’s school experience just by showing Jack simple acts of kindness. The teacher explained how when she asked Jack to do something, he sometimes ignored her, but when Alex asked him, she said he responded immediately. Due to Jack’s unique special need, he does not respond well to everyone. But he responds to Alex. Through Alex’s gentle demeanor and patience, Jack basically trusts Alex. He feels comfortable and that seems to allow Jack to enjoy school.

I’ve always said that there is something very special about my godson, Alex. It is that something that you can’t define, you just know it’s there. Now, thanks to Jack, I know exactly what that “something” is. Alex is still close to God. He hasn’t lost that intuitive spirit for selfless compassion and love for another human being. He sees those around him through Christ-like eyes. For a five-year old boy, it would have been so easy to just avoid Jack, disappear in the crowd of classmates and view Jack as “not my problem.” Yet, Alex saw a boy that needed a friend. He reached across the aisle and showed Jack that he was not alone.

Jesus told his disciples:  “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4)

Take a moment and look at your own life. How often, if at all, do you look at the world around you with the eyes and heart of a child? When was the last time you saw someone struggle to exist in this world and just stopped long enough to offer them your hand, a smile or a kind word? If you were that person who was struggling, how would you want someone else to treat you?

We are all spiritual beings living a human experience. We came from God and hope to return to God one day. If we want to return home, we need to remember to be more tenderhearted in how we view humanity.

Thank you, Alex, for reminding me.

© 2013. Diane McKelva. All Rights Reserved.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Recognized as the former Editor in Chief, Diane McKelva is now the Editor Emeritus of Catholic Stand. You can learn more about Diane and her work here.

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  • Phil Dzialo

    Ah, yes! “We are spiritual beings merely having a human experience.” Those words and the evolution of human consciousness (noogenesis) were developed by Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ in is book “The Phenomenon of Man” (1955). Frowned on the Magesterium back then, but probably the greatest thinker of the modern era. Those words have been attributed to many sources but they are actually de Chardin’s legacy to mankind and the Church.

    • You are correct, my friend. The complete quote is….. “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Sometimes in this crazy world we need those words to remind us. I know I do. Fr. Pierre left us quite a few ponder-able quotes. Now sure if I have this one correct….”What paralyzes life is lack of faith and lack of audacity. The difficulty lies not in solving problems but identifying them.” I love that one. It holds so true for today’s world. Thanks for sharing, Phil. Peace be with you, Diane

    • Diane McKelva

      You are correct, my friend. The complete quote is….. “We are not
      human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings
      having a human experience.” Sometimes in this crazy world we need those
      words to remind us. I know I do. Fr. Pierre left us quite a few
      ponder-able quotes. Now sure if I have this one correct….”What
      paralyzes life is lack of faith and lack of audacity. The difficulty
      lies not in solving problems but identifying them.” I love that one.
      It holds so true for today’s world. Thanks for sharing, Phil. Peace be
      with you, Diane