This morning at the Children’s House in Gorogszallas I was reminded of the good-natured simplicity of being a child. The children don’t care that I don’t know what they are saying; they love me just because I play with them. There are even a couple children who follow me around and have to sit by me in order to color a picture or build a tower out of blocks. The children love me simply because I am there with them. Though there are temper tantrums and hurt feelings at times, I am learning a powerful lesson from their acceptance and nonjudgmental love.
Though the children who come to the House in the mornings do not have simplicity in their home-lives (their stories are actually quite hard to hear), they are able to laugh and play without a care in the world when they are in the safe space that the House provides. We are able to play hide-and-seek together and it is never a challenge to find them because as soon as they hide, they giggle incessantly at the thought of you searching for and finally finding them! They are also free to use their imagination and fly, on a row of chairs by the fireplace, to Alaska with all their friends.
During play time, small groups may form and different games may be played, but there is always great fellowship in breaking bread together during snack time. Our morning snack is always an adventure, but the time we spend around the table giving thanks and eating in one another’s company is a highlight of the morning. There is something very special about the connections made by sharing a meal with people—even if there is a mighty mess to clean up afterward.
After our snack we have art time where the children have free range to express themselves in color. Whether it’s painting leaves with water colors, or just painting with a brush full of water, the children are always beaming with pride when they show off their final product. Of course everything they create is ‘nagyon szep’ (very beautiful) and the lion that you thought was a bunny is the fiercest lion in all the land with its red, brown, and green mane. Art time is an imagination free-for-all. Anything goes.
Someone once asked me if I would rather be old or young. I said I would rather be old because I would have seen so much and would have gained so much wisdom in my lifetime. Age definitely has its merits, but the more time I spend with these young children, the more I think I would like to be young. I would love to love people just because they are going on plane rides to Alaska or are building the prettiest tower known to humankind with me. I would love to break bread with people in fellowship every day. I would love to forget to dip my brush in the paint while painting with water colors and tell everyone about the lion I painted on my soggy piece of paper. Yes, tempers may flare up and feelings may get hurt, but children are quick to forgive. I definitely need to take a page out the ‘child’s guidebook to life’ so I can learn to be more forgiving and love others simply because they are in the moment with me. I think life would be more fulfilling if I was truly young at heart.