As soon as I learned to read, I was swept into that other world where I’m an observer yet feeling every emotion the characters experience; walking beside them; cheering them on; warning them of danger.
It all began with the simple stories of Dick and Jane. I was so excited to be able to make sense of the strange markings on the pages called letters.
One of my favourite storybooks was about an infant who ventured out into the front yard and discovered the softness of the green grass, the fragrance of the flowers, bees buzzing, butterflies dancing in the air and the comforting warmth of the sun. It was a perfect world of peace, beauty, discovery and freedom. While reading the story, I felt happy and could feel Baby’s excitement in the adventure of learning and experiencing new things. But when I got to the end, I felt sad. I longed to have the same comfortable life Baby enjoyed. Yet I knew Baby’s life was fiction and my life was real. I read the book many times and always felt the same emotions. Perhaps without realizing it at the time, I was using the book as emotional therapy; to lift my spirit.
I don’t have that book now but I often think about it. The story had a good but simple lesson which I didn’t catch as a child. Instead, I read the book with longing for a life without sorrow, without fear, without worry; a storybook life. But now I see the lesson it held. It reminds me to stop and look around; see, touch, draw in God’s wonderful fragrance. He is here; there’s nothing to fear. No doubt about it, life is the pits sometimes but there is still much that is good and beautiful. My life isn’t a storybook but God is in it and that makes all the difference.