This past weekend, our family celebrated the Fourth of July by driving up to the Sequoia National Forest and hiking one of our favorite trails–the Trail of 100 Giants. We’ve hiked this gentle nature trail as a couple with a dog, as a family with one baby, as a family with one baby and pregnant with a second baby, as a family with a toddler and a baby, as a family with two toddlers and a beautiful-but-dying dog, and as a family with two preschoolers and a 1-year-old puppy. It’s a trail that holds a lot of sentimental meaning to us.
The most amazing thing about this trail for me–surprisingly–is not the grove of trees that have lived for hundreds (and some even thousands) of years, although they are truly spectacular. No…for me, the most incredible thing about this trail is the newness and wonder with which my sons see it every single time.
The gasps as they look at how tall the trees are. The squeals as they dart in and out of “tree caves” at the base of some of the giant sequoias. The visible thoughtfulness about trees that have fallen down and died. The amazement when they look at the root systems of some of the fallen giants and consider what is happening under the earth for the living trees, beyond their sight.
Every single time we go, it is a new experience for them.
Part of it this is because they are so young–even with only 4-6 months between visits, it is still a good chunk of their lifetimes, and they forget most (if not all) of it.
But part of it is because the eyes of a child see things differently than we do. They breathe in wonder. They run from one experience to the next, breathless with excitement, drinking it all in with a sense of authentic awe that many times we as adults seem to have forgotten.
This reminder was repeated to me later in the evening, when we sat as a foursome watching the fireworks from our living room (luckily we have a pretty great view to where they set them off!). My 2-year-old couldn’t get enough of it, gasping and squealing and exclaiming, “That is so BEAUTIFUL! That is so COOL! Look at THAT!”
It was all so beautiful to him, because he was essentially seeing it for the first time. And he couldn’t get enough.
Sometimes I think that if we could just return to that sense of newness around us, we would see the world in a completely new way. What if we could capture that sense of raw wonder again–if we could see the world, each other, and even ourselves with the same eyes our children look through?
Think of what that would mean for your “normal” daily experiences.
Today, let’s open our hearts to experiencing the wonder of the world with the eyes of a child–choosing to see joyful interpretations of the world around us. Choosing to see colors more vibrantly. Choosing to see the miracles unfold in our everyday world.
And perhaps choosing to see our own beauty with new eyes, too.