Kathy Perusek discovered how becoming childlike helps her to navigate life with peace and joy.
I once heard an author discuss her theory that you can tell what you’re your life’s passion is by thinking of the ways you liked to play most as a child. I have found this to be true for both myself and my children. Enjoying all my baby dolls, I wanted to be a mommy and have lots of children. I also wanted to be a nurse, and I look back and remember playing Emergency 911 with my cousins, as well as office and teacher with my sister. I did grow up to marry and have eight children, one in heaven, miscarried before birth. I also became a nurse, an occupation which includes office work and teaching.
The older I get, the more I reflect upon my childhood, and its many happy memories. I have found lately, that drawing from the well of these memories helps me enjoy my everyday errands and my work. I have chosen to have a positive attitude, and I have discovered a secret to contentment and joy. Whenever I am weary, or facing challenges, I purposefully remember playing pretend activities as a little girl!
Although I love being a nurse, there were many times it was hard for me to leave my family behind and drive 40 minutes to my night shift, 12-hour job at the hospice house. As I drove, I remembered when I was 4 years old, playing driving at nursery school. My teacher had a life-sized traffic light, which I thought was so cool! I remembered my passion I had in the summer at my cousins’ house playing Emergency 911, tending to all the needs of my patients.
I would arrive at work, dive right into passing medications, then start my computer charting. This could be tedious until I reminded myself of the fun I used to have at my grandma’s, where my sister and I would play office. I would pretend to be so knowledgeable and efficient; now I got to do this at work. How blessed I was! Throughout the night, I would meet, talk with, or take phone calls from my patients’ family members, and spend much of that time teaching them about diseases, medications, and signs of end of life. I remembered the joy I had lining up my stuffed animals and my little sister, playing teacher, so long ago. I do the same at my current job as a pediatric nurse in a doctor’s office, educating parents and doing some office work too!
Even errands can be fun when I remember how I loved to pretend I was grocery shopping as a little girl, able to pick out whatever I wanted. I also remember the fun of riding in the cart at the store with my daddy. And cooking dinner, which can be tedious after all these years, becomes a pleasure, as I recall the fully stocked wooden play kitchen in my neighbor’s playhouse, where I’d whip up imaginary meals.
When I am able to relax, what I most enjoy now, after time spent with family, is going out for coffee with my friends, as I played at my tea parties so long ago. When the weather is nice, I try to pay more attention to the outside world, enjoying a trip to the park or a campfire in my own back yard. I smile as I remember the delight I felt when each of my children brought me a precious hand-picked dandelion or fragile morning glory. I take time to look up to the clouds and notice the various shapes, just as I used to do with my mommy, when we had our backyard picnics.
Besides the benefit of a positive attitude, I am grateful for the opportunity to do many of the things I dreamed of as a little girl. It is good to remember my childhood because Jesus calls me to be childlike:
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
Children are simple, trusting, thankful, content, take pleasure in little things, and live in the moment. They are close to Jesus’ heart. This is where I always want to be.
What childhood passion do you still enjoy today?
Copyright 2021 Kathy Perusek
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About the Author
Kathy Perusek is a mother of seven children, and a grandmother. She was a stay-at-home mom until her oldest child graduated college. Kathy then returned to school, earning associate degrees in nursing and arts. She worked as an RN in a hospital, then for hospice; currently, she works in a pediatric practice. She is a former La Leche League leader and enjoys reading, singing, and babysitting.