I watched as she skipped down the sidewalk.
And then hopped.
And then twirled.
All before skipping again.
Sometimes holding her father’s hand.
Other times off on her own.
When, I wondered, did I become so self conscience or to grown up to skip or hop or dance my way down the sidewalk? When will she?
As I watched I recalled these words of Thomas Merton.
If my memory is correct (which I am not sure it is) from his book New Seeds of Contemplation.
What is serious to me is often trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as “play” is perhaps what He Himself takes most seriously. At any rate the Lord plays and diverts Himself in the garden of His creation, and if we could let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear His call and follow Him in His mysterious, cosmic dance. We do not have to go very far to catch echos of that game, and of that dancing. When we are alone on a starlit night; when by chance we see the migrating birds of autumn descending on a grow of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children; when we know love in our hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet Basho, we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash – at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of values, the “newness,” the emptiness and purity of vision that make themselves evident, provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance. For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of the wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does no matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to our not. Yet, the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance.