Two-year-old Robert, who knows nothing about the novel coronavirus, drew a rainbow on the street in front of my house.
What a message he spread for all to see. “I am happy and well cared for. The world is a beautiful and exciting place. I know everything is OK. I’m loved. See, here’s my rainbow.”
Robert is too young to have been taught the religious symbolism of the rainbow. He hasn’t studied the archetypes of Carl Jung, and yet his joyful creation is that of a rainbow.
This 2-year-old has it over the rest of us. His world is pure joy.
He cries when he falls. He laughs at whatever is funny and then he lets it go. He lets it go and then he is off on his next adventure. He is excited about everything. His walk around our block is awe-inspiring.
Robert’s world is pure joy. He has not studied at the foot of Richard Rohr to learn to be in the moment. He is in the moment – the here and now.
I would like to take a class with Robert, but I am too uptight to let loose and experience pure awe.
What if someone sees me drawing a rainbow in her or his driveway? She or he would call the nearest assisted living facility.
What if I stopped to marvel at a pebble or jumped for pure joy into a mud puddle? What if I giggled and ran after every neighborhood squirrel? What if I believed everything you said because you are all grown-up?
Robert doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know what color I am or what country I came from. He doesn’t know if I am a Christian, a Muslim or a Jew. I may be an atheist. He doesn’t know whether I am gay or straight.
Robert doesn’t know and he doesn’t care, but he gave me a present. He drew a rainbow for all my neighbors and me.
This is what Jesus said in my translation. “Look at Robert. Unless you have the faith that Robert has, you can never share my world of splendor and awe. You can never know peace. You will never be able to live in a state of pure joy.”
I can remember when the world was an exciting place. I can remember being overcome with awe. I remember getting up early to watch the sun peek over the horizon of the ocean.
I remember joy, but that was before I became jaded, suspicious, cautious, skeptical and wise. That was before I grew up and lost sight of what is important. That was before I let the world take it away.
I want to be Robert again. I want to feel so overwhelmingly joyful I give you a present without knowing or caring who you are.
I want to be Robert and accept you the way you are. I want to live in the moment and let it go when it has gone.
Thank you, Robert.
Mitch Carnell is a member of First Baptist Church of Charleston, South Carolina. He is the author of “Our Father: Discovering Family.” His writings can also be found at MitchCarnell.com.