Peace Is Child’s Play

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The Godsend Conspiracy

In their original play children conspire with Creation to see around the corners of life and to engage us in a model of peace accessible but hidden, suggested, but ignored. At such a moment one realizes that we can communicate in ways that are far more profound than through words. Whether we know it or not, and however far removed we imagine ourselves to be from wonder, we have deep down just such a feeling of belongng; held in trust at the source of our own childlikeness which enables us to share in the secret of being at its most wondrous.

Creation’s compact with childhood is described in Psalm 104, verse 2,3,4.

A child says:

I am His messenger sent to tell you the way to Him . . ..
If you respect me, and leave me as I am,
And do not seek to seize me with a full and selfish possession
Then I will bring you joy:
For I will remain what I am.

This Godsend Conspiracy is a kind of contract in the human spirit between Creation and children for the purpose of reinstating the original meaning of childhood into the direction and growth of human life and thereby fulfills childhood’s promise of peace.  The Godsend Conspiracy is experienced as an ecological wisdom, sentient kindness, and original play, which animate all life.  In it’s grace we share the rapture of being alive, that ineffable experience where reality is the same in oneself as in everyone else, and where action emerges out of the present moment without reflection, where one sort of knows how one should relate spontaneously, without thinking, to every moment of life.

Katie is one such guide and mentor. Katie was a special needs playmate of mine in Southern California. One day when I arrived in the classroom Katie was wandering about, stopping momentarily to jump lightly up and down. She vigorously shook her hand in front of her face. She walked a few steps toward me and repeated her self-stimulating motions. She seemed disconnected from the other children and staff in the room. I said her name, got down on my hands and knees, and crawled towards her. She smiled, cocked her head, and sent me a delicate blue-eyed play-look which darted in like a hummingbird sucking nectar from a flower, hovered and darted away. Three year old Katie unselfconsciously opened her arms to embrace me as I crawled closer. We rolled over onto a blue and yellow mat. She sat on my tummy and bounced up and down. As I turned over she slid off and laughed We lie next to each other on our sides. Our faces were just a few inches away and our eyes gazed into each other. I quickly turned away with tears in my eyes. I thought to myself, I’ve just seen and touched a face of God. I couldn’t help but to look back at Katie. Like an arrow, a thought impaled my mind, I said to myself, “You know don’t you.”  She giggled a tiny bubble of laughter. It seemed as though she sent the arrow. “You know don’t you.” I repeated in my mind. Another bubble of laughter erupted from her. We rolled over and continued our play.

After we finished playing I walked her to her chair for a snack. Before I left she smiled at me and we hug. I feel like something very special had passed between us. Katie not only knew the questions that had been rummaging about in my mind like marbles in a tin can; she also knew how to share the answers with me.

Our moment is not available to scientific investigation, educational pedagogy, or psychological reasoning. Katie’s bubble of laughter is like a hot spring in my heart that bubbles out of my eyes as tears on the drive home.  On my drive home through the green fields of early Spring in Southern California Driving home I remember something Jung said about God. “’I cannot define for you what God is. I can only tell you that my work as a natural scientist has established empirically that the pattern which men call God exists in every man, and that this pattern has at its disposal the greatest transformative energies of life’”.&sup2

What happened?  I had seen a face of God. Should I say to her teacher that I just saw a face of God in Katie? No, that doesn’t seem possible.  What I decide to do is to write a letter to Katie’s parents and tell them of our experience. I sit down in my car and handwrite the note. I wait and give it to her mother as she arives to pick Katie up. The next day Katie’s Mother comes to pick up her daughter walks up to me and hugs me. With tears in her eyes she tells me that I am the first person, other than herself and her husband to really see

Katie.

Katie’s giggle is an inkling of something deeper that cracks my ordinary world, something within that cannot be expressed in ordinary language. Her giggle is a spontaneous response, a dynamic, childlike, and immutable principle of playful experience. It is a wholehearted “Yes!” to a moment that reverberates through all existence. Such inklings are what St. Benedict termed lectio divina

, a spiritual reading done more with the heart than the head so that one’s whole being resonates.&sup3 The consciousness of life shimmers in Katie’s giggle. Her giggle is like the little spark described by St. Teresa of Avila,  “This little spark is the sign or the pledge God gives to this soul that He now chooses it for great things if it will prepare itself to receive them.  This spark is a great gift, much more so than I can express.”&sup4 It’s not that Katie knows more; it’s that she is more. Katie does not make herself one with God, she is God.  She has never been anything else.

Katie’s giggle is the sound of the first child in each of us who profanes the sacred belonging in order that the sacredness of the profane world might be revealed. Katie expresses a love affair with life that is indelibly imprinted in the human heart. What makes Katie so ordinary and special at the same time is that she is willing to come out to play and love, rather than retreat in fear and desperation. She does the one thing that most of us seek to avoid at all costs: to act wholeheartedly and put our entire bodies into a situation, and to refuse numbness and protection in favor of love and immediacy.

Katie is a co-conspirator with Creation. I have become a co-conspirator. The children and I made a bargain. Without words we agreed to believe in each other.  I had to return to the sacred, living world I knew as a child. By including me in their conspiracy children haven’t made my life easier; they’ve made it more holy—and that is more difficult. They do not offer me spiritual tranquilizers. They bring a vocation: to play in the world of contest and thereby touch the face of God in all life. They give me little of what I expect, but quite a bit of what proves later to be what I need. I had to believe in a sense of reality that was much larger, grander, and more enchanted than I imagined. The playful mind is life’s “common sense”.

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I can’t believe people tie children up in bags to throw out with the trash. That is the single most heartbreaking thing I’ve read in a very long time.

This is the most moving and magical article! I’m sitting here in work trying not to just break down crying..  Wow..

Thanks so much for posting this. I’m forwarding the link.

Posted by Chandira  on  10/08  at  08:48 AM
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