Like a Kid with a Flashlight
My almost-five-years-old daughter came home from VBS with a flashlight this week. It was just a cheap little plastic thing with her name scrawled on it with an off-brand Sharpie and it probably won’t survive the summer. Honestly, I’m not even sure it’s survived the week. It might already by dead, smashed, thrown-away by her overly-zealous trash-picker-upper youngest brother (if it’s in the floor and he didn’t put it there it’s liable to be labeled as trash and thrown away).
But as long as that little hand-held torch can emit so much as a weak beam of pale illumination, my daughter is a fearless explorer of worlds.
Her bedroom is no longer just a bedroom, but a darkened theater for her hand-puppet theatrical productions. Often musicals with complex, ballet-inspired dance moves.
That’s not a blanket anymore, it’s a cavern to be explored again and again. Each time she crawls under it’s a fresh, undiscovered corner of the world, ready to be mapped and charted.
The hallways is a tunnel with who-knows-what waiting at the far end.
Her brothers’ room is still a landfill, but now it’s a landfill with exaggerated shadows and mysterious corners and crevices.
The power of a handheld light is something transformative. To be able to go and not just see the world but illuminate and reveal its true nature is awe-inspiring. A little girl runs into a darkened room full of bumps and shapes and mysteries and instead of being afraid is empowered because she holds in her hand the power to see the world as it is. To be able to take her little brother by the hand and show him the wonders of what a light can see.
She squeals in delight, even after he loses interest and trudges back to play with his trains on living room window sill.
For once she doesn’t care that he’d rather play by himself. Because she’s holding the light in her hand, and the power of it enraptures her.
Oh, to be a child again! enraptured by the wonder of such a simple thing as a light held in the palm of our hands.