It’s almost Valentine’s Day again and that means candy! The choices used to be pretty limited; a rectangular box of chocolates or a heart shaped box of chocolates. These usually had to be purchased at a candy store or a flower shop. That all changed once the candy bar companies got involved. Now, you can get Reese’s hearts, Nestle’s Crunch hearts, Butterfinger hearts, marshmallow hearts – even plastic hearts filled with M&M’s or jelly beans, and all of these can be purchased just about anywhere. .
Those little candy “conversation hearts” have been around for over a hundred years. I was never very fond of the flavor of the hearts, but the messages were always clever. Over the last several years, it seems the sayings on the hearts have been changing. Instead of “call me”, they say “text me” or “message me”. Instead of “true love”, some of them say “recently divorced”. You can even have hearts custom printed with your Email address or website name on them – a big message for a little heart.
Those little heart shaped boxes always surprise me with the amount and variety of chocolates they can hold. You would think “Here’s this little heart made out of cardboard. How much can it possibly hold?” I can usually find at least a couple of my favorite chocolates in those little heart boxes. I guess that just shows you can’t judge what’s in a heart just by its size.
The same holds true for children’s hearts. They have these little hearts; hearts more full of innocence than experience. Yet, there are more ideas, more questions and more dreams written on those little hearts than there seems to be room for and written with words young children may not even be able to adequately express. They are not deterred though. Their dreams and ideas are as real as those candies you can hold in your hand, but there’s no wax in THIS chocolate. A pure sense of wonder is their launch pad. These little hearts have not yet gone stale with cynicism or regret. They take promises as the gospel and they are true believers in the unbelievable. Be careful if you hold one of these little hearts in your hand. They can be crushed as easily as they can melt. They’re not yet “tough” enough to shrug off harsh treatment. They take some special care, but they’re worth it. You’ll never find little hearts that are any sweeter.
What happens when we get older? Where does that sweet innocence go? Why do our hearts sometimes grow stale? Maybe when we “grow up”, we stop looking for unexpected joys in small things. Maybe experiences put an end to questions. Maybe “facts” replace faith. Maybe clever explanations extinguish our sense of wonder. Sometimes, as our hearts grow bigger, our dreams seem to grow smaller and never match the big dreams we used to dream when we had those little hearts. Maybe we can learn to be young at heart again this Valentine’s Day.
© 2014 Curt Savage Media