Monday, May 05, 2008

Blue Like Tidy-Bowl Cleaner, Kool-Aid, and Heaven:

Thoughts on Home, Family, and God from the middle of Suburbia!
When I was in the 6th grade I feel in love with the library. It all started when they had a summer reading program. I’m sure it wasn’t the first year they’d offered it, but this year I’d moved within a few miles of the library, and I was old enough to ride my bike there and check out books myself.

The idea was that for every book you read, you listed them on a sheet of paper and earned points for the best reader award. I checked out everything from little kids’ storybooks to young adult novels. My motive to begin with wasn’t about the stories, but rather the points.

I’d check out plastic grocery sacks of books and place them on my handlebars for the ride home. I felt smart and high-achieving by taking so many. Until the day when my pride got the best of me. For some reason that day, the books were heavier that I thought. And as I coasted down a long hill, something felt strange. I think it was a rock in the road that caused the accident. One little bump, and the balance was broke. The heavy books pulled the bike forward, and over the handlebars I flew.

I think maybe I took less books home per day after that. But at the end of the summer the photo of me in the Weed Press, with a stack of books and the label as best reader, made it all—tumble included—worthwhile.

I still have that newspaper clipping somewhere in an old photo album, yellowed and faded. But even more importantly I still cling to the love for books and reading.

That summer didn’t seem important at the time, until later when I was able to look back and recognize the seeds God planted in my heart. You see, I grew up in a home of non-readers. While most kids grew up with Dr. Seuss and Little Golden Books, I can’t remember ever owning one.

Then, at the right time, God introduced me to what would later become my passion. And during the years when I tried to get books published, I’d look back at that summer with the realization that the gift wasn’t something imparted by my family, but given to me by God. It was like a special treasure revealed at the right time.

Childhood summer memories are something many of us cherish, but for me also comes the knowledge that God crafted me with a unique design, one that seemed insignificant until the seeds planted that summer took root. Today it is a might oak of purpose in my life, and I remember that every time I pull out my library card.

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