In church, we just finished the “Our Father” and the priest offered us the space to give thanks and peace to our neighbors. We shook hands and said “Peace Be With You.” Yet, something out of the ordinary happened that triggered something I had read about a few weeks ago.
I read that we are innately born with two fears. Any idea what they are? Out of the womb, we fear loud noises and falling (that’s it). We don’t fear spiders, heights, or public speaking like many of us relate too. The piece went on to make the point that these fears are learned. What’s important to recognize is that they can be “unlearned.”
In addition, this morning I read that “our lives change when our habits change.” So if we can unlearn and make small shifts in our daily habits we can become more like the little girl in church. It is important to note her spirit for life and presence is the point here. The bigger picture is the long term impact and possibilities her mindset could have on impacting change. Change that looks like community, feels like belonging, and sounds like “peace.”
This little girl, whose name I wasn’t blessed with learning was what we’ll call an angel. The congregation started with shaking hands and giving of oneself to their neighbors in the pews. In church, it’s a learned practice that we shake hands with those in close proximity around us and when the priest directs us to move on after about 10 seconds we do so.
Angel was about four years old. She was with her brother who was about six, her mom, and grandfather. Her blond hair and colorful flower dress shimmered in the light. It was truly as if her presence was like the shiny North Star in the galaxy of many. Most of all, her smile was contagious and the majority of older people around her smiled back in accord.
Then, it happened! We finished with our allotted time for giving thanks and peace but Angel wasn’t done. She wasn’t even close to being done! Standing on the pew with her cute little sandals on, she began to walk down the pew. She kept shaking hands saying “peace be with you” to more people beyond her little two foot radius.
Meanwhile, the priest went on with his services and the mother tried to acquire control of her daughter. Angel was now poking her elders in the kidneys. They looked back is surprise and were greeted with Angel’s reached out hand and bright smile stretched ear to ear. I watched as the old ladies reciprocated the smile. You could feel in the air how she was making an impact with each touch.
Angel must’ve touched 25 people before her mom could scurry out of the end of the pew and go across the aisle to regain control of her. The priest then stopped everything; for now, she had garnered the attention of almost the entire community. He celebrated her spirit and called us all to be more like Angel.
We can all learn to be selfless and giving of ourselves for no other purpose than the betterment of our small communities. I’ve felt a sense of loneliness and I’ve heard from others this constant cry in the world we live in today. Humans naturally (again innately) desire love, importance, and appreciation. I hope that this little girl inspires you and I to regain His spirit that is alive in our souls to be good people. People that give people the time of day as we walk by them in the halls, coffee shops, gyms, and grocery lines.