We have had a fun weekend and are enjoying our extra day of not laboring. I hope you are too.
Saturday was a lot of fun. My two “big guys” drove up to Morgantown to watch the West Virginia Mountaineers football game. They were gone all day, so Lil’ Jeff and I had some special time together.
Then we took Lucy to visit some neighbors. She had a romp with two friendly puppies. She finished her walk by taking a swim in the neighborhood creek. This then necessitated a bath upon return home. (no pictures of this to preserve her dignity).
cupcakes, which we delivered to our Associate Pastor as a belated birthday present.
We returned home, picked up some Chinese takeout, and took dinner to Grammy and Papa. We caught the last quarter of the game at their house and were doing the victory dance when Teddy and Daddy called to say they were on their way home.
We still had a few hours to kill, so we popped in a movie. If you’ve never seen Bridge to Terabithia, I’m about to ruin it for you. The only thing I knew about this movie going into it was that it was about two friends who create an imaginary world. It started out as a beautiful story of imagination and friendship. I was totally sucked in. Then…
The little girl character dies!
I was sobbing my little heart out on the couch and my nine year old just looked on.
“Honey,” I said, “If I knew this was going to happen, I never would have gotten this movie.”
“I wonder why they made her die?” He kept asking out loud, over and over.
He really seemed to need an answer, so I said, “I think that part of the story was to teach us that we can overcome anything, with God’s help.”
I was a blubbering mess.
That night, as I tucked him in, I couldn’t stop thinking about that sad story.
“Let’s make up another end to that story,” I whispered in his ear as I snuggled close.
“Oh, I don’t know, wouldn’t you like a happier ending? Let’s just pretend that they grow up and are always best friends and then when they are older they fall in love and get married.”
“But if Leslie never died, Jess would never have known how much his dad loved him.”
“Well, yeah, there was that. They did kind of have a problem communicating, didn’t they? Let’s just pretend that they get over that some other way.”
“I think the movie is fine.”
That shut me up.
We have never shied away from the difficult stories. I encourage my boys to read a lot of different things. From Narnia, to Hogwarts, from the Hobbit to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or the Wilderking Trilogy, stories have always been powerful teachers for us. Stories can heal; stories can spark growth in ways that no other medium allows.
I don’t believe that children automatically know how to handle the power of a story. That’s why it’s important to me to share the story with them. Not to manipulate, but to keep the story within its frame. And to make sure that the Greatest Story Ever Told is always the lens through which we view these stories. After all, Jesus knew best the secret of capturing the imagination.
Over the years, different stories have provided rich fodder for discussions on life, love, faith, what we believe, and what others believe.
It warmed my heart that my little one felt secure enough to accept the story of the Bridge to Terabithia…with all its beauty and all its sadness…just the way it was given to him. In fact, it was he who reminded me to keep it within its frame.
The author of Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson, says it best when she says, “What you are will shape your book whether you want it to or not. I am Christian, so that conviction will pervade the book even when I make no conscious effort to teach or preach. Grace and hope will inform everything I write.”
To this I say, what I am will shape how I see the world. I am a Christian, so that conviction will pervade my life, even when I make no conscious effort to teach or preach.
This is what I hope to pass on to my boys.
Life is filled with tragedy. There is evil in this world. We cannot run away from these two facts. But if I teach my boys to see these two through the eyes of a Christian, everything changes. Grace, compassion, evangelism, and above all…love. These are the viewfinders through which we peer.
It was a very full day, and a special one. As I kissed my sleeping boy I pondered the time spent, and how it had tendered my heart to him even more than usual. It occurred to me that this is true in my relationship with God too: The more time I spend with Him, the more fulfilling our relationship. But it must be more than time spent…My day with Jeffrey was special because I put effort and planning into it. We both looked forward to our special day together all week. That is how I want my time with my Lord to be.
And so, I try again. Looking through the lens of love, I see things much more clearly.
Happy Labor Day, Dear Ones!