Good friends are hard to find. The kind of friends who bring unbridled joy into your life, who challenge you to be present, who share with you what they know, who openly invite you into their world; those kinds of friends are a rare find.
Over the course of the last two years, I have made such a friend. Her name is Delilah Nelson, and she is the two-year-old child of our superb UUCC Office Assistant, Hannah, and her husband Zach; teacher, musician, and head of our UUCC Auction Team this year. Since Delilah’s birth, Hannah and Zach have graciously shared her with UUCC, and in particular, with our staff. Over the course of the pandemic, she has been an integral contributor to our weekly Zoom staff meetings, and as we have begun meeting and working in person again, she is once again a frequent visitor to our offices. During those visits, she might attend a meeting sitting on someone’s lap, share time with someone else, quietly drawing as they work at their desk, or she might be heard giggling as she chases someone around the office pod. She is a presence who seems to naturally spread her infectious, joyful spirit around. She is smart, artistic, funny, empathetic, and fiercely sure of her opinions. I had long teased Hannah and Zach about wanting to “take their child” and finally, the call came to do just that, to spend a day with Delilah.
Delilah welcomed me into her home and opened her world to me by to me by showing me her toys and inviting me to play. I always find this invitation from children to be extraordinary. I mean really, how many people do you spend time with whose only agenda is to get you to join them in play? I accepted her invitation, and we explored her blocks, stickers, dolls, Play-Doh, etc. We were simply present in the moment together, open to whatever would happen next. Eventually, we ventured outside to Delilah’s playhouse where she quietly and diligently attended to her household chores. I sat on the ground and every now and again, she would let me know how I could help. We worked together in quiet cooperation. At lunchtime, she turned around in her chair to look at three signs that are in the dining room of the Nelson house; she pointed, and I read, “Faith, Hope, Love.” We did this over and over again, repeating what now felt like a mantra as we embraced a few minutes of shared meditation. After lunch, we made up a few silly games of our own, but eventually, Delilah yawned and let it be known that she was ready to rest; and so, she did. When she woke, she asked me to turn on the television, and we watched and learned about colors and shapes. I sat with her and looked on in awe as I could clearly see that I was in the presence of someone who was intentionally expanding their knowledge of the world.
Spending time in the world of a child is a thing that grounds me and challenges me. It does not allow me to do anything but stay present in the moment. It challenges me to attend only to the things that bring immediate joy. It insists that I bring my best self.
Thank you, sweet Delilah, for reminding me to stay present and to take the day as it comes. For reminding me to find time for play and work and meditation and learning and rest. Thank you for inviting me into your world. You are indeed a rare find, my friend.