A new era of my life has begun in which I spend approximately 73 percent of my time trying to make my daughter giggle and the remaining 27 percent trying to catch it on video. Is there any sound as soul-swelling as a baby laughing?
Their joy in life is absolutely unbridled.
It’s so strong, it makes their whole body shake.
They can’t help but kick their legs uncontrollably.
Their arms do an unconscious dance above their heads.
Their laughs become so excited they end in a scream instead of a sigh.
The joy of a baby is unfettered, unconscious, pure exaltation.
But something happens as we grow up. This experience or that makes us check our laughter so it’s not quite so loud. We realize at some point that it’s not quite polite to shake our fists in the air in delight. We start looking around at others.
We temper our joy with reserve. We don’t want to look silly. We don’t want to be had. We don’t want to be a naïve Pollyanna.
When exactly does that happen — that our joy is snuffed out, stuffed down or smothered? What happens to stifle that unspeakable joy that used to well up at the slightest provocation?
Watching my daughter giggle when I kiss her, watching a child in the Dominican Republic sing, nay, shout, to the Lord with all her heart, watching boys in Rwanda scream with glee as they play in a river hints to me of just one tiny tip of why Jesus says we ought to be more like them.
I don’t want to make my child — or any other — more like me in joy: more reserved, more self-conscious, fettered, frightened and subdued.
I want to be more like them. I want to see this world—and the Lord Himself — through the eyes of a child. To laugh with abandon. To sparkle with delight. To simply ooze with the joy of the Lord, unbridled and big and loud.