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Never Let Me Lose My Childlike Heart

“Great is the human who has not lost his/her childlike heart.” Mencius
BoysOn Easter Sunday, I was talking to my three-year-old grandnephew, Kellan, as he was playing with my sister Mary’s cat. I asked Kellan if he had any pets. He responded, “Yes, I have two pets.” I was a bit surprised, because I had not heard of any pets arriving on the scene. His parents, Sarah and Chris, have enough on their hands with three little boys and a recent move into a new home. I innocently asked him, “What kind of pets?” He responded with great confidence, “We have two dinosaurs.” Stifling my laughter, I said, “Where do you keep them?” Kellan didn’t miss a beat and replied, “In the backyard. My mom does not want them in the house.”
I can’t be in Kellan’s presence without smiling. He is just that kind of child—warm, friendly, and a bit mischievous. My brother Peter, Kellan’s grandfather, often says to me that no matter what difficulty he might be experiencing, Kellan’s presence just brings him to a brighter place. The Kellans of the world remind us to never lose our childlike hearts. There is a popular quote from Mencius, an ancient Chinese philosopher: “Great is the human who has not lost his/her childlike heart.” Similarly, Jesus reminded his disciples they must become like little children in order to enter the kingdom of God.
We are in the Easter season, spring is finally in the air, and it’s a good time to get in touch with our childlike hearts. Children hope against hope, they forgive and forget easily, they trust unconditionally, they let their imaginations run free, and they love to play. I live too much in my mind and, too often, my thoughts are preoccupied with work. During these fifty days of the Easter season, pray with me for the grace to let the Spirit direct us through our hearts. The Lord will look after us and all we are responsible for. Christ promises that if we have the faith of a little child, we will enter the kingdom of God. It is time to go with the heart and be childlike as Jesus called us to be instead of always living in the confines of our adult minds. I, for one, will keep an eye out for dinosaurs.
Sr. Terry is the Executive Director of RENEW International and a Dominican Sister from Blauvelt, NY.

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