The other day, whilst walking Puppy, we passed a group from a daycare that had planned an epic trip to a football field. I could imagine the teachers discussing this voyage they were about to mount, and how it was the perfect day to be outside and feel the warmth of the sun and a little crisp breeze on the air. How if they left now, right after morning snack and just before lunch, they would be able to totally rock the field without any ornery tots falling asleep or jonesing for goldfish crackers. How if they just turned these kidlets loose on the open field, it might be the best day of their entire wee little lives.
I suspect it was. The best day of everyone’s life. Because for me, merely a spectator, I was completely intoxicated by the unbridled joy in their ruddy little faces. Oh my. The sweet reckless abandon of their little wobbly gaits, a bit drunken looking and still finding their sea legs. They darted in all directions. Some of the sturdier tots were taking to a plastic ball, giggling and kicking it back and forth like they had invented soccer just in that very moment. Others had not yet learned to walk so they were crawling, excitedly caterwauling across the football field toward touchdown territory. Maybe they’d done this drill before.
I beheld this tableau of humans at their best and most unadulterated and it moved me in a way I cannot overstate. I thought about how God presents us with opportunities, wide open football fields full of chances and new experiences, but too often, instead of running arms flailing eyes wide tongues peeling out of our mouths excited toward the Wide Open Wonder, we are content to stay strapped into our strollers, chilling and checking our e-mail, sated by the endless scrolling of endless screens.
I wouldn’t normally have been strolling past a football field at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday, except for the fact that I have a Puppy who needs to get out the zoomies sixteen times a day and I live at a boarding school where athletic turf is a common sight. I can well promise you that I considered all this an interruption, though, before we traversed the football field. Because Puppy is the most stubborn creature on four legs, I am typically dragging/lifting/shlepping/bribing her across great expanses of terra firma. On this particular morning, though, she was walking me, and I was also being held. Held by a God who sees me and sees my agenda and crinkles his eyes and laughs uproariously at all the things I think I am meant to accomplish, that carry such weight. He holds me still for a moment and turns my face to see the sun and the patchy grass and the little drunken munchkin prophets speaking life into my raggedy heart.
I have done some things in 2018 that have earned my work a spot on the refrigerator, but by far the best thing I have done is adopt this stupid cute Puppy. She forces me out into the world and forces me to be neighborly. She has interrupted my work and my sleep and completely foiled all the plans I had made to not notice the matchless beauty, to not feel the warmth of the sun.