After reading numerous updates on the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin yesterday afternoon, I was pretty much done with humanity. It all seemed so hopeless to think we ever stand a chance at getting it right. My eyes were weak from period outbursts of tears. My head pounded with such force that I had to physically get out of the house for a necessary breath of fresh air. As I stood outside, drained of life and hope, I felt the sunlight pour over my face and neck, reach over and tickle behind my ears and at the risk of sounding cliche, I felt rejuvenated by the sun. I longed to be in Florida. And then I was right back to thinking about Trayvon.
When will sunny days go back to being just as bright as they’d been before all of this? When will I forget? When will I no longer walk around with the constant reminder that people are hateful and mean. That nothing about life ever seems right or fair, except in spring, or when babies are born and we’re all blinded by the warmth of good feelings that never last always.
Then HuffPo posted this Youtube video to Facebook and I couldn’t stop smiling. I couldn’t stop watching. Already today, I sang along with little Makena at least half a dozen times. And already I have hope that these little guys and girls of her generation will get it right. Hope, not because she’s cute enough to memorize one of the greatest singles of the century, but because she’s young enough to not be so jaded by the world. She doesn’t know anything yet; nothing but family, Adele, and Yo Gabba Gabba. I watched this little girl and hoped for her a better world. I thought about my little second cousin (now a soon-to-be college graduate) and how much he loved to sing when at her age. He’d sit in his car seat and sing and sing. He couldn’t tell you what he wanted for lunch but he knew all the words to DJ Kool‘s “Let Me Clear My Throat.”
There is so much hope when we have a clean slate.
Little children put us under a spell. I wonder when they shed their mesmerizing abilities to provide hope for the future and instead become just like the rest of us with a human likeness that leaves us cringing with embarrassment and disappointment. It’s easy to love them, to smile they’re smiling, to sing when they’re singing, and to go to the ends of the Earth to make them feel special and adored. Why don’t we love each other the way we love babies? Is it so hard to look at an adult, worn down over the years, and not see that she was just as lovely as the girl in the video? The problem with resting hope on children is that they, too, grow up. Clean slates get muddied. We have to find hope in ourselves right where we are. Maybe that’s how we save ourselves, if we never stop delighting in each others very existence.