One of novelist Rita Mae Brown’s characters in her 1983 novel, “Sudden Death”, made the statement, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
Repeated actions, with no change, typically bring the same results. Adults get this.
Children, however, are different.
There is a beautiful naivete in the very young that allows them to embrace the world in wonder and awe, without cynicism and sarcasm. They try things and have an expectation of a response that makes sense to them. They have hope.
Beck, at almost two, is a true nature lover. His parents have taken him on hikes, walks, camping, places that have helped him develop the same joy in the outdoors they have.
He loves flowers. Smelling flowers is something he does because he’s learned that many flowers have wonderful scents. They bring a smile to his face as he closes his eyes and inhales.
When Beck walks into his daycare room and sees huge paper flowers tacked onto the wall, his response is to smell them. There is no sweet smell, but he smiles anyway. It’s a flower.
The next day, he tries again. He takes a deep whiff of the paper posy. No scent. But the smile remains.
Every day Beck enters the class and smells the paper flower. He smiles, not because he can smell anything, but there is hope that someday this flower will do what it’s supposed to do. Smell sweet.
That’s not insanity. That’s hope. He knows what a flower is supposed to do. He doesn’t question his perspective; he acts out of simple faith that flowers have a capacity to have a delightful scent.
In many ways, I envy Beck’s faith. His ability to believe the best in what he sees without being disappointed with what he doesn’t understand.
As we grow older, we become more calloused in the way we look at life, and having a simple faith in anyone or anything seems impossible. Questions come too quickly; doubts rise up rapidly; the unwillingness to listen and hear what is being said grows stronger.
This definitely applies to faith in God. We look at what we see, the injustice, pain, loss, grief around us and miss the beauty of a child’s laugh or a magnificent tree. We don’t value that we wake up in the morning, get out of bed, make decisions, live life. We focus on what we don’t have, what we can’t get, where our demands fall short, and hope is lost.
True insanity is lost hope.
Rather than being in awe of the fact that life happens, babies are born, flowers grow is overlooked when those babies don’t turn out like we wanted or flowers develop blight. When what we want isn’t what we get.
We will never have all we want here. Our brokenness has affected our world, and rather than putting hope in us fixing it, we need to recognize God is sufficient even in what we don’t have. He is hope, even in darkness and despair.
We need to stop, admire the flowers, and take a whiff.
Hope isn’t in the smelling.
Hope is in God who made the scent.