July 9, 2013 § Leave a comment
Thank God for children. I might have gone and tossed myself off into the Susquehanna today if it weren’t for the perfect timing of Leo and Lucy’s visit. My little nephew and niece arrived safely here in NEPA last evening and we spent a few wonderful hours playing together in the big, joyful tumble of people at my house.
Turns out I needed those hours of grace this morning, when I had to deal with a client who told me he was the owner of a company and therefore much more important than “a secretary answering phones.” Oh, I know the old rhyme about sticks and stones and words and bones, but I think it’s fairly evident to anyone who knows me that it doesn’t work like that with me. Words are powerful. Our language is beautiful, a gift given to express our hearts and our thoughts. I don’t sprinkle my conversations with multi-syllabic words for the shallow glory of showing off; I use words because I love the way they sound, or the more precise meaning they invoke. Some people might think I don’t curse simply because it’s unladylike, or because of my Christian beliefs, but those have nothing to do with the fact that I find profanity ugly to hear and say. There are words that are just so ugly. And when someone says something ugly to me, something harsh and demeaning- despite being patently absurd-, it still cuts. It strikes at the deep-down fear I have that people do think that about me: that I am merely a secretary and a secretary is merely a lower class worker. His words hurt me, even though I tried not to let them.
So I stewed and I muttered and I angrily blinked back some tears. I thought to myself that I have brains and ambition aplenty, whether or not people recognize them. However, it wasn’t until I looked at my phone and saw the pictures and videos I’d taken of Leo and Lucy that I realized the truth. When someone treats you as if you don’t deserve basic human decency and respect, there is no better antidote than the unconditional love of a child. Every human being has dignity and deserves respect. I know that. But knowing something logically isn’t nearly as comforting as seeing Lucy toddling on her plump legs towards me, alive and alight with new found freedom. She is a baby, unconcerned with my brains or my position, needing only the simplest things from me and giving back so much more by her sweetness and smiles. I watched the video of Leo running around in circles with me, giggling uncontrollably at the sheer delight of playing with his “Aun’ Ro”. He beams up at me when I chase him on the library field, and throws himself wildly around on the ground to get away from my tickles. He pays no attention to the boundaries of bodies, melting into my lap when he is tired, draping his blanky over his legs and mine, giving me ungrudging smacks on the lips when I ask for a kiss. He is sincerely, perfectly happy, because he is innocent and filled with joy.
I think that if beauty will save the world, it will be the beauty of children, the beauty of innocence.