Earlier this week I witnessed two new parents on the train with their baby. They gingerly settled into their seats, being sure there was no extra jostling. When the train squeaked around a curve they made sure to buffer the impact, rocking and shushing to their little one. When the child looked up at them and smiled, the parents’ faces were full of such pure joy that it made everyone around them smile too. Even better, when the baby started to fuss, the joy stayed completely intact. It was not the joy of a random happy moment, but something deeper and more essential.
Friends, sometime this week a gremlin will appear. If we are fortunate, the gremlin will be tiny: an oaf who cuts us off on the Mass Pike, or a cup of coffee gone cold, or a meeting that is running way too late. It could be bigger gremlins, too: old wounds opened up by a chance remark, deep disappointments that leave tears prickling in our eyes, meanness from those who we should be able to trust.
Might it be possible to meet these circumstances with something other than irritation, or anger, or distance? This week, when we are tempted to add a layer of armor, when we feel the gremlins start to stir, let’s muster up some whisper of those parents on the T.
Let’s see if we can view the fussing of the world, in big ways and small, for what it is – the cry of a most beloved child.
Let’s try to smooth the bumpy ride.
Let’s try to shush the noise.
Let’s try to reflect back the deeper love and joy that we all deserve – even when (especially when) the ride is not so smooth.