My three year old, Ella, learned to whistle a few weeks ago (much to the dismay of her big sister who still hasn’t mastered this skill). Ella announced (and demonstrated) her new found skill on the way to a weekday Mass. After praising and encouraging her accomplishment I didn’t give it much more thought, until we were in church.
For the next 30 minutes Ella could not contain her excitement over this new skill; she whistled the entire time. Of course I tried to stop her but there’s a part of me that couldn’t blame the girl. I mean, come on, this cool sound was coming from her lips and how could anyone expect her to contain it. She did try though. Each time she whistled her hand would cover her mouth aand she would giggle. Then she’d say in a sincere voice “sorry, mommy.” Admittedly, it was pretty cute. Thankfully those sitting around us thought it was cute too.
You have to love the inhibitions of children or rather the lack thereof. They just seem to be happy with who they are or what they can do and they aren’t afraid to express it. On top of that, they unabashedly show their love and affection. It reminds me of some of the elderly people I’ve come across at church recently. One in particular, Miss Amelia, has captured my attention and my heart.
We sit behind Miss Amelia everyday at Mass. I don’t really know her and she doesn’t really know me or my girls. We only met her a couple of weeks ago. But Miss Amelia doesn’t let that stop her from showing her love and affection for the family of God. Each day, either during the “passing of the peace” or after Mass she turns to me, takes my hand in both of hers, looks me in the eye and says with great sincerity, “I love you dear.” And then she looks at my girls, one at a time and says, “do you know I love you too?” No inhibitions, no calcuations, no deliberation…just love, expressed without reservation.
The other day when Ella arrived home with her daddy after running errands she swung the door wide open and announced in a loud voice, “Ella Bella is here.” (Ella Bella is her nickname). She had full confidence that her Godmother, who is staying with us, and I would thrilled to be in her presence. No inhibitions, no self-consciousness…just Ella being Ella.
It seems like somewhere between our childhood and our senior years many of us lose this, we lose the freedom to be who we are, to be comfortable in the skin God gave us and we start to carefully weigh and measure our expressions of love and the expression of who we are. How sad this is. My friends and I were discussing this the other day and we agreed, we’re cheating God, ourselves and the Body of Christ; our Father needs and wants us to be all that He created us to be in Him.
I want to be more like Ella and Miss Amelia. I want to be more comfortable with who God created me to be. I want to always remember that the Sovereign God of the universe whom I fear, honor and bow down before is also my “Abba,” my Daddy; He created me and rejoices in and over me as His daughter. And, He really does enjoy my presence.
In light of that, I want to share who I am in Christ with others without reservation. I also want to be more free with my expressions of love and affection for others, uninhibited by silly social constraints, self-consciousness, fear of what others might think or anything else… And I don’t want to wait until I’m 80 to do this.