“Life is a gift, given in trust – like a child.”

  — Anne Morrow Lindbergh

So much is said about remembering to value the time we are given.  So much is said about the value of being present in each moment as we live our lives.  This philosophy is one that I embrace and believe to be true, but there are so many distractions that get in the way that some days I wonder whether I believe it at all.

Seldom do I indulge in the practice of stroking my long gray beard and beginning my sentences with, “when I was a child…” but it is true that, even in my lifetime, the world has become so much more busy and complicated that sometimes I hardly recognize it at all.  When I look back to my childhood, I remember long days with no demands on my time.  I remember packing a sandwich and riding my bike to the river.  I remember skipping stones and floating sticks in the current and dreaming of the faraway places the water might flow.  I remember curling up in a comfy chair and reading a book from cover to cover, with no noise or disturbance to distract me from becoming part of the story.  I remember hours of imagining and concocting games with my friends on lazy summer days.

Now children are entertained by a constant barrage of media that sometimes makes their heads spin.  Television is available 24 hours a day, and the temptation to engage in mental junk food is alluring.  Why bother to dream when there is ready-made entertainment?  Why bother to imagine when someone else has written the script?  Why bother to think at all if someone is willing to script a life for you?

If life is a gift, given in trust — like a child, we must ask ourselves what sort of child it is that we would like to raise.  Are we spending all our life-energy in front of prefabricated noise that drowns out the meaning of our existence, or are we providing that child with the opportunity to dream and to invent and to be carried away on the current of the mighty river that leads to unknown places that cry out to be discovered?

Care gently for the child that is your life.  Hold it close, love it dearly, and above all let its petals unfold slowly as the sun calls it to bloom and grow.  Life is like a child, given to us in trust.  Let us honor that gift and cherish every moment it has to offer.