“Black and White” by Elizabeth Russell

When a small child gazes with star-filled eyes to the universe beyond her little sphere, she sees briefcases filled with glittering treasure, vacations to exotic places whenever she pleases, and good, righteous people pitted and wrestling against corrupt, greedy, and evil, monolithic tyrants. child-562297_1920

She does not understand what is hidden away in the shiny, leather box bag, so she assumes it is something wonderful – perhaps even the key to understanding all of life! She believes the world is her playground, so who is to stop her from exploring it when she is no longer tied to mother’s apron strings? And finally, she knows that good people are great people – a good person would not work a mediocre job, and by far, they would never be lulled into working for something evil! They would recognize it – for evil’s is a frightening visage, and though the young child herself may be fooled by his offers of candy and sweet things, she knows the adults are far too wise and grown-up to be deceived by him.

Ah, for the eyes of a child! If only her faith in us were proven true. What if evil were so cut and dry, and not hidden away into even the recesses of the best person’s heart? Then we could meet and fight against it.

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We would conquer and purge the world, until it shone as glistening as the child’s wondering gaze. Perhaps then briefcases would hold more than tax reports and marketing slogans. Perhaps we could safely and freely wander over the whole world, and yet still, somehow, make a living.

As buried as the evil, or probably even further down, lies hid in our hearts the eyes of a child, hurt and disappointed in our mediocre lives. Her fantasy is disillusioned, but still she clings to it with desperation, afraid to let go and face this tangled, gray-scale world, where black and white is few and far-between. We keep her there because we do not want to teach her. We are too disappointed ourselves, and we fear that if we face her, the world will be too tragic.

But she is a brave little girl. Let her out! Take her hand and teach her your trade. Show her the briefcase, the little vacations, and the messy, funny people in your world, and you will be surprised. Instead of hindering your enjoyment, you may find that her unique perspective, the perspective of the child, colors the landscape of your life. She will reinvent those dreams she once had, accustom them to your broader, newer interests, and with the boundless energy of youth, will remind you of what you never knew as a child: that no fairy-tale, to those who lived within them, was ever black and white.

 

Photo of airport by Hanson Lu on Unsplash

Photo of briefcase by Olu Eletu on Unsplash

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