Sunshine, My Mom, and the Goodness of Life

We’ve had a little sunshine here lately, and it has been greatly appreciated. Everybody’s lots more cheery.

I lost my mom last fall, so I noticed the direct connection between moms and sunshine. My instinctive reaction, when I see the sunshine, is this internal tape recording of my mom saying, “It’s a beautiful day. Go outside and enjoy it.”

All evening I’ve had an image before me, a photo from GoNOMAD of an orphan in Malawi with nothing but a tattered pair of pants, standing by the roadside, smiling a big broad smile.

I think too of the kids in Kent St. John’s photos from Papua New Guinea, standing in the sunshine smiling.

There’s a message here: GoNOMAD writers are funny-looking so they make children smile. Also, life is good, especially when you’re standing in the sunshine, even though it’s actually nuclear radiation from a fusion reaction 93 million miles away.

These images remind me of a transcendent experience I had as a substitute teacher in a fourth-grade classroom in the Hawlemont School (serving Hawley and Charlemont) many years ago.

Fourth graders are perhaps the most wonderful people in the world. They can round off to the nearest thousandth, but they don’t know how to tell a decent lie.

I looked out at this one particular classroom and I was somehow able to see what would happen if every one of these children realized their full potential — Mozarts and Martin Luther Kings and Jane Goodalls and Frank Zappas.

It’s a staggering thing to see, but somehow, at that moment, I saw it, and it changed forever my ideas about humanity.

I experienced a power that’s so far above and beyond everything I’ve ever known that I couldn’t tell you the first thing about it, except that it’s very, very good.

That’s the only thing that can possibly save this sorry world, the promise of our children.