There is nothing quite like the love of a child. Last year, I was walking in Jerusalem with four year-old Purieli when he noticed a patch of trees.
"Ima," he calls me mother in Hebrew, "did G-d make the trees?"
"Oh, I love you little trees! And did G-d make the flowers?" he asked, pointing around the trunks of the trees where pretty spring flowers were popping up.
"Yes," I answered again.
"Oh, I love you little flowers! Ima, did G-d make these?" he continues, pointing to some prickly weeds.
"Yes, sweetie-pie," I answered, wondering how many more questions would follow in the next few minutes.
"Oh, I love you little pokey things! Ima, I love everything that G-d makes."
Anne of Green Gables liked to say that it takes all kinds of people to make up the world, but that there are some types we could all do without. It seems that G-d didn't agree.
Some people that we know are like the trees: strong, supportive and consistent. Maybe it's a sibling, a spouse, a parent or a very dear friend. Even if you don't see them for a while, when you're back together it doesn't feel like much has changed. Reliable and dependable, we all need people like this in our lives.
Others are the flowers. These people may not share a significant slice of life with us, but they make it colorful and beautiful. If we are focusing on the past or future too much, it's easy to miss out on these seasonal relationships. They help us slow down, take a deep breath, or jump up and dance, and enjoy the moment.
Still there are the people who are prickly and uncomfortable to be around. Maybe you have some of these in your life...and maybe we've each been one of these in someone else's life. It's a challenge at times to love everything--and everyone--that G-d makes. But that challenge has been handed to us and it's actually simple enough that even a child can do it.
Fast forward to five year-old Purieli, walking home from school with me and baby. He suddenly stopped, his eyes got so big, and he pointed excitedly to the road that had just been paved into the new neighborhood of Kfar Shamai. "Look Ima," he cried out, pointing to the construction workers, "they made a road! They are so, so, SO nice...aren't they?"
How does a person get to that level of love and appreciation? I'm just thrilled to have found such an outstanding teacher. Maybe one day I'll catch up to him.