They say ignorance is bliss and, quite often, I’m inclined to agree.
Last Friday, we had the misfortune of attending the funeral of the baby boy of a very close friend of ours. He lived a matter of hours and the beautiful, emotional service proved – if there were ever any doubt – that there is little in life more powerfully heart-wrenching than the sight of a coffin that can be carried by one person.
What the day did bring home to me, however, is just how right my theories about children have always been.
Our friends have a beautiful young daughter who will now no longer be a big sister and she was wisely, kept away from the raw grief of the service itself, but did come to join us for the gathering afterwards.
Watching her and her cousin tearing around, enjoying the attention and huge selection of people from whom to choose their doting affection, brought so much of life into focus.
I’ve always said that as adults we can all learn valuable lessons from young children. Until a child is into their school years, the most important thing in the world to them is whatever they happen to be doing at any given time.
As we grow older all manner of outside pressures, fears, hopes and dreams invade our personal space and lead us away from moment-to-moment living into a world of “what next”.
In the theories of zen, being in the moment is known as mindfulness; a state of being where one totally invests oneself into the moment/task at hand. Watching the children running around on Friday showed just how wonderful this can be.
As the song goes, life goes on. It’s hard, yes, and the pain will never truly pass. But the last thing anyone wants when they pass on is for those they leave behind to call a halt to their lives.
We owe it to everyone that has gone before us – be it in the recent or distant past – to live a life that’s full, happy and appreciated for every second. There’s always a time for sadness and we never want to be ignorant of the pain and grief that death causes, but we must always strive to stay focused on the important part of life: the living.