I know a wise little girl who cannot walk. She is confined to a wheelchair, and she may spend the rest of her life there, since her doctors hold out almost no hope of ever making her paralyzed legs better.
When I first met this little girl, she flashed me a smile that burned me with its blazing happiness. How open she was! She wasn't hiding out from self-pity or asking for approval or protecting herself from a sense of shame. She felt completely innocent about not being able to walk, like a puppy that has no idea if it is a mongrel or a champion of the breed.
She made no judgments about herself. That was her wisdom.
I have seen the same wise look in other children, "poor" children as society sees them, because they lack food, money, secure homes, or healthy bodies. By the time they reach a certain age, many of these children grasp just how bad their situation is. The way that adults look at their lives robs them of that first innocence that is so precious and rare. They begin to believe that they should feel bad about themselves; that this is "right."
But this wise little girl, being only four, floated above pity and shame like a carefree sparrow. She took my heart in her hands and made it as weightless as a cotton puff, so that it was impossible for me to even begin to think, "What a terrible thing." All I saw was light and love. In their innocence, very young children know themselves to be light and love. If we will allow them, they can teach us to see ourselves the same way.
One sparkle from a little girl's gaze contains the same knowledge that Nature implants at the heart of every life-form. It is life's silent secret, not to be put into words. It just knows. It knows peace and how not to hurt. It knows that even the least breath is a gesture of gratitude to the Creator. It smiles to be alive, waiting patiently for ages of ignorance and sorrow to pass away like a mirage.
I see this knowledge showing itself in the eyes of children more and more, which makes me think that their innocence is growing stronger. They are going to disarm us adults, and that will be enough to disarm the world. They feel no reason to spoil the environment, and so the environment will be cleaned up without a quarrel. A wise little girl told me the future when she looked at me, so full of peace and contentment. I rejoice in trusting her above all the experts. As light and love drive away our guilt and shame, her prophecy must come true.