I know a wise little girl who cannot walk.
She is confined to a wheelchair, and she may
spend the rest of her life there, since her doctors
hold out almost no hope of ever making her
paralyzed legs better. When I first met this little
girl, she flashed me a smile that burned me with
its blazing happiness. How open she was! She
wasn’t hiding out from self-pity or asking for
approval or protecting herself from a sense of
shame. She felt completely innocent about not
being able to walk, like a puppy that has no idea
if it is a mongrel or a champion of the breed. She
made no judgments about herself.
That was her wisdom.
I have seen the same wise look in other children,
“poor” children as society sees them, because they
lack food, money, secure homes, or healthy bodies.
By the time they reach a certain age, many of these
children grasp just how bad their situation is. The
way that adults look at their lives robs them of that
first innocence that is so precious and rare. They
begin to believe that they should feel bad about
themselves; that this is “right.”
But this wise little girl, being only four, floated
above pity and shame like a carefree sparrow.
She took my heart in her hands and made it as
weightless as a cotton puff, so that it was impossible
for me to even begin to think, “What a terrible thing.”
All I saw was light and love. In their innocence, very
young children know themselves to be light and love.
If we will allow them, they can teach us to see
ourselves the same way.
One sparkle from a little girl’s gaze contains the same
knowledge that Nature implants at the heart of every
life-form. It is life’s silent secret, not to be put into
words. It just knows. It knows peace and how not
to hurt. It knows that even the least breath is a
gesture of gratitude to the Creator. It smiles to
be alive, waiting patiently for ages of ignorance
and sorrow to pass away like a mirage.
I see this knowledge showing itself in the eyes of
children more and more, which makes me think
that their innocence is growing stronger. They are
going to disarm us adults, and that will be enough
to disarm the world. They feel no reason to spoil
the environment, and so the environment will be
cleaned up without a quarrel. A wise little girl told
me the future when she looked at me, so full of
peace and contentment. I rejoice in trusting her
above all the experts. As light and love drive away
our guilt and shame, her prophecy must come true.