My mother in-law believes we are at our wisest as infants. Intelligence is an altogether different beast, and is something we pick up along the way to adulthood. The square root of π is 1.7725. The first law of thermodynamics states that neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed. When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking and says his own name.
Our ability to catalog facts and figures, names and dates, often comes at the expense of our wisdom. Slowly, bit by bit, we lose sight of the big picture and life becomes hard. We can factor binomials better than we can relate to our own selves.
Yesterday, Nicholas asked if we could go on a picnic. I didn’t want to go on a picnic. For one, I am tired. I’m also busy with things I need to do in and out of the house. Those are both good reasons to skip a picnic, but the biggest reason had me fiddling with the heat and looking at an overcast sky.
“I don’t want to, Nicholas. I’m cold. It’s cold outside.” Case closed.
“Then how come you can’t put on a sweatshirt, Mama?” Case brought up on appeal.
Therein lies the proof. Intelligence usurps the wisdom of our youth. For a three year old, it’s simple. If you are tired, sleep more, go to bed early. If you are busy, do less. If you are hungry, eat more. If you are sad, cry. If you want something, get it and then leave it alone when it no longer holds your interest. If it’s cold, put on a sweatshirt.
So I put on a sweatshirt and we had a picnic in the front yard under our very big tree. While we ate, I watched dozens of people go in and out of our neighbor’s home. The husband is dying, his short and furious battle with a fatal disease almost over and with it, his opportunity for picnics on Wednesdays. I pushed up the sleeves of my sweatshirt and rubbed my suddenly flushed skin. Nicholas leaned over for an Eskimo kiss, his favorite.
I would like to say that tomorrow or next week or next month I won’t be cold or tired or busy for a picnic on Wednesday, but I am almost 38 and far, far away from 3. Sometimes I will be fortunate to find a reminder of the wisdom I once held, and other times I won’t. The grace comes in acceptance. Besides, not all knowledge is pointless. For example, today I learned that the best thing about having a picnic on your front lawn is that you can carry out a week’s worth of leftovers and call it a spread. Roasted Brussel sprouts with caramelized onions and toasted almonds, cold bean salad with spinach, oven fries and dip, olives, cashews, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cookies all washed down with cold water…for Nicholas. I had my favorite chemical-laden Crystal Light Peach Mango Green Tea because even a 37 year old like me is wise enough to know that perfect is for Jesus.