For the Fourth of July, my family enjoys going to the park where the city fireworks are shot from. Nearby, the Loveland Concert Band plays patriotic music in an amphitheater for an hour before the fireworks show begins. To get into the spirit of the festivities, we swiftly walked down the grassy hill towards the band to find an open sitting area.
My mother in law, who had taken the lead, found a decent spot for the four of us to sit in comfort and quickly ushered us to all sit down beside her. In the hustle and bustle of trying desperately to ensure that we were not stepping on other’s hands and belongings, nor taking another’s claimed territory, I had not taken the time to look around to see who we might be sitting next to.
I sat hurriedly, anticipating the sounds of the ensemble. As I motioned for my husband to take his place next to me, I quickly looked around to ensure that no one around us was being inconvenienced by our appearance.
My head turned quickly to the left where my eyes met the eyes of a young girl which had not previously been the few inches from me as they were now. She was maybe nine years old and had a look of pure innocence about her.
(As a side note, I always try to maintain a safe distance from children for their protection and mine. Having begun my college education in elementary education, the one thing that was stressed unceasingly was the importance of keeping some distance between the child and yourself. Including hugs, where I was taught to always hug on the side of the body and never facing each other.)
In the moment that our eyes met, she gently raised her hand to me. She was holding a flower. A single, tiny flower which she must have picked elsewhere because there were no plants aside from grass nearby. This young girl had been holding on to this flower and in this moment, decided to share her treasure with me.
I raised my hand and took the flower from her fingers. “Oh thank you! That is beautiful!” Is all that I was able to say before her smiling, generous face turned around and bounded back to her family a few feet away.
This flower, this one particular child, and this one specific moment were all very simple. In a big-picture, grand-scheme-of-things, someone-else-looking-in kind of way, this event was absolutely insignificant. And yet, this was a moment of pure beauty filled with innocence, trust, connection, kindness, and love.
The greatest moments are not always grandiose. More often than not, they are small and deliberate. Her willingness to reach out to me showed a level of humanity which I have believed to be rapidly fading.
The innocence is still here. We just have to be a part of it. We must accept it and we must give it. Offer someone a flower of yours. Spread humanity with your small moments.