A few weeks ago, I had a silly disagreement with a friend and, in a heated moment, he scolded me and said, "You're acting like a child!"
Upon first hearing that, it wounded me. A great deal. Not because acting like a child is a bad thing (because I think it's a great thing), but because my friend made that accusation with so much venom.
In the end, I was hurt more for him, than me.
And yet, as I look back in retrospect, the "child" reference is such a compliment...as the child's heart that I posses has always been so very good to me.
It's kept me healthy, and strong - and young.
I always take my work very seriously, and I always take my life very seriously.
But I never take myself seriously at all.
The "unseriousness" of my child's heart has kept me singing and dancing since 1960 - and it will keep me energized forever, through good times and bad.
For, ultimately, on the flip side, I know how mature I am.
I know the maturity that it takes to have accomplished the things I've accomplished in life, professionally and personally, against all odds and obstacles.
I know the maturity that it required to serve as primary caregiver for my elderly ill parents for 15 years - and I was certainly younger at the time, then I am today (physically, psychologically and and even spiritually).
I know the maturity - and unsurmountable courage - it takes to have uprooted myself, time and again, to follow dreams that others, in many instances (if not all), have tried to curtail me from pursuing, if mostly with their best intentions.
I know the maturity it requires to dream big.
I know the maturity it requires to stand firm in the midst of any challenge.
I know the maturity it requires to laugh in the face of the bullies of the world, as they battle their insecurities and personal demons.
I know the maturity it requires to "take it like a man," and to laugh like a child - even when I feel like crying like a baby.
So if someone happens to one day say that you're acting like a child.
Stand firm, keep a smile in your heart and on your face, and remember all the maturity it required to get you where are.
And then, somehow, your accusor will one day open their eyes to understanding the importance of widening their margins of error.
Soon following, they will bless you for having been in their lives to help them see their flaws - the flaws that we all share in this broken world - a world that that is more times than not held together by the laughter of a child.