Wayne Dyer, the Dalai Lama, Buddha, Eckhart Tolle, and many others—all wise men, have taught me many things over the years, but the wisdom that I have found in one small child’s words have taught me the most about the power of living in the moment.
When I was a young father and my now twenty-three year old daughter was four, I was put in charge of watching her. I was given explicit instructions to keep an eye on Sara by my wife: Don’t let Sara eat cookies for breakfast, play with Mom’s makeup, or dress up in Sara’s new Easter dress.
Check, check, check…got it. “Don’t worry,” I said, thinking, how hard could it be to watch a four-year old. With a bit of trepidation Mom left us alone. After mom left, I laid down for a quick nap, knowing Sara would be fine. After all, she was playing quietly, so how much mischief could she get into.
After some time, I woke up to the sound of giggling coming from Sara’s room. I was curious to what she was doing so I lumbered to her room, pulled back the lace curtains of the French doors, and peered through the window. My heart quickened, my eyes bulged, and panic over took me. Sara was having a tea party with Ken and Dreamtime Barbie, Teddy the one eyed bear, and Curly Q the half-bald Cabbage Patch Kid that Sara decided would look better with a trim. She was serving cookies and milk to all partygoers and she had on my wife’s lipstick (both on her and Ken). She was also wearing her frilly pink Easter dress, with full compliment of stockings, gloves, and black pearl dress shoes.
I panicked and thrusts open the doors—it cracked with the sound of thunder against the wall. Sara gave a quick jump, smiled, and said with the voice of happiness, “ Hi Daddy, want some milk and cookies?” She was oblivious to the predicament we were in, but I was not. I had failed completely at my mission and knew when Mom came home I was a dead man.
I grabbed Sara’s startled hand, and dragged her to the bathroom. I tossed her onto the edge of the sink, and as I began wiping the overused Ruby Red lipstick from my perplexed child’s face, I noticed rips in her stockings. They were soaked in a dark crimson, and both precious knees were swollen, scraped, and bruised.
My voice cracked, “What happened?”
She shrugged her shoulders—casually pronouncing “I fell down, no big deal.”
My hands trembled as I began working on her wounds. My eyes darted around the room, and my breath quickened as I berated my daughter. “Your Mom is going to kill me! Why didn’t you wake me? Where’s the Band-aids? Doesn’t that hurt? Why aren’t you crying?”
Sara stared into my soul with her precious blue indigo child eyes, and softly spoke, “Daddy, I got hurt earlier, why cry now?”
I huffed, “But what about Mom, she’s going to be pissed?” Sara again shrugged nonchalantly.
“I think we’re both going to get grounded,” I said.
Sara laughed, and that’s when she said the wisest words I have ever heard from a child. “Daddy, I got hurt earlier and Mommy don’t get home until later, now we have all day to be happy.”
A wash of calm overtook me, tears welled up in my eyes, and my spirit became still. I lifted Sara into my arms, and asked, “how about some more milk and cookies Pumpkin?”
She smiled, wrapped her arms around my neck, and squeezed my waist with her legs, as she whispered in my ear, “I love you Daddy.”
The rest of the day, we were happy.
This incident taught me the power of living fully in the moment, and not to worry about the what happened, or what may happen, the only time we have to be happy is now. As Eckhart Tolle says, “Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now”
These are the words I live by till this day.
Terry A. Elkins (whyguy)