Sunday, September 11, 2016
A Magical Kingdom - Part 3
I tasted my first forkful of pie. Wow! This lemon masterpiece was made from scratch, not some boxed lemon pudding mix. It was the real thing made with fresh lemons. The tangy filling puckered my lips, and I wondered how Anna could achieve such results in her meager kitchen.
As I handed the empty plate back to Anna, the stack of magazines next to the chair caught my eye again. Anna suggested I do some reading. I thought she sounded like a school teacher as she plumbed up the stuffed chair and invited me to sit. She told me some of the magazines would suit a young boy like me. I saw Look and Liberty magazines. They were decades old, smelled damp and felt crumbly. As I grew into adulthood I never forgot those magazines yellowed by time and rubbed thin by calloused fingers thumbing its pages.
We never had magazines around our home as they were considered too expensive. We had radio back then, and that was enough.
Anna told me when you read, you can go anywhere. It took many more years later to understand what that meant, but the journey started in that dusty tumble-down structure. This was a different magic kingdom than the old man’s domain and his grandfather clock. I remembered reading those magazines over and over again for years until I entered high school. I began to feel like a penny with its two sides. One side wanted to be a scientist or an engineer, but now the other side suggested a different life option for me. A writer, a journalist, a novelist. The combination of science and the creative side of the brain d0 not easily coexist in the same person. Yet the two sides coexisted in one couple, the home they lived in, and the eclectic lives they led … like collecting scraps of coal during the day, left behind by the abandoned mines, and reading some issue of Atlantic Monthly from 1935 at night. Both activities sustained their lives.
Now an adult, I am convinced that the Lord knows and proves that he could take anyone’s upbringing and use it for his good purposes. Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)
Whatever life phase one may be in, think of yourself as being prepared for the greater good, a mission, an occupation, a vocation you haven’t yet given a shred of thought towards. We may consider our lives falling short at times. Start dreaming about all the possibilities of a life in Christ. Be open. Above all, be patient. I published my first novel as a senior adult. But God started preparing me when I was nine years old by sending two eccentric people into my life.
So grab a seat, reach for something to read, and let your mind soar! You don’t need an expensive ticket to enter this Magical Kingdom.
P.S. When I returned from engineering school years later to visit family, the two-room building was demolished for business development. The old couple was gone … mysteriously, with no explanation. Maybe they were flying to the moon or growing lemons in California.