Last week in my Spirit Play class, one of the children was working with the Celebration of New Lives story.
This has been a popular story to work with in our class. The baby dolls in the story have been amply blessed with water and dirt making some fantastically muddy babies. The blessing by beauty takes place with a rose that is gently stroked down the baby’s cheek in our church’s ritual. We have enough artificial flowers for all the children in our room and I observed this child as she held big bunches of those flowers gripped in each hand and vigorously blessed the doll she was working with. She blessed the doll so enthusiastically she literally swept it across the floor with her flower bunches. It rolled over and over being tumbled and swept away by beauty.
I wondered about this encounter with beauty. Are there ever times when I am that moved by something beautiful? Would an encounter like that be profoundly disorienting? Would I want to encounter a blessing like that? I have also lately been thinking about where in my own journey I am a little too serious and could use a little humor. Well placed humor can completely change the energy of a tense or sad situation sometimes allowing us to move through those emotions with a little more ease. So I wondered again what this kind of encounter with beauty might look and feel like. I remember as a child being in the bright sun and rolling down grassy hills. The feeling of spinning and rolling and getting faster until I either rolled to the bottom or flung my arms out wide to stop myself. I remember laughing and being dizzy and enjoying that feeling of, well, of disorientation I suppose. Not something I tend to enjoy as an adult. But I imagined that if I was the baby being swept by flowers, that the flowers may even tickle and it might be a great delight to be surrounded by the scent and softness of petals. I might find it enjoyable to be rolled along. I might laugh.
I thought about the blessings of that moment in class. I am grateful to have had the presence to observe this play without getting distracted by the mess of the earth and water blessing. I am glad I did not try to shut down the active blessing with the flowers. I could simply delight in the moment and ponder it. That’s spiritual growth for me! I also thought about those astounding blessings we receive in our lives like close friends, the kindness of another when we feel alone, the gift of self acceptance and compassion; some are so generous and profound that we hardly have words to articulate our gratitude or their importance to us. In that profound and ordinary moments where words can fail, maybe laughter is the only adequate response to our blessings.