I don’t know exactly when most of us trade our imaginations for calculators, but it happens far too early, and it is a very bad trade.
Once the deal is done, we spend far too many of our days wandering through life with our eyes half-closed, our spirits half asleep, dull and insensible, so witless that we barely notice the grievous loss. But sometimes a beautiful glimpse of the wonder we once had by the overflowing bucket-load takes us back to what is precious.
I think that’s what happened to me on a wonder-filled Easter evening. In the afterglow of the most wonderful Resurrection of all came a much more modest but still “wonder-full” resurrection of my spirit right in our back yard.
Two granddaughter-princesses, five years old and three, and a little eleven-month-young elf, were spending the weekend with us.
“PawPaw,” the princesses begged, “tell us a scary story!”
That presented a bit of a problem. First, my 55-year-old imagination is old and withered and can’t possibly keep up with theirs! I also have a 55-year-old back that soon became a factor. Plus, there’s scary and there’s SCARY. It’s a fine thing when magic seeds sprout into bean-stalks but no grandpa worth his salt wants scary story seeds to sprout into nightmares.
But we got started. In the shed/greenhouse, I sat in my chair and the princesses sat in their little “frog” chairs. I reached back into my own childhood for a story, but I soon found that all I had to do was get things started.
“Once upon a time, two princesses left their fine castle and started out for the forest. Their names were . . . Hmm, I’m trying to remember . . .”
“Alexandria!” shouted the older. “Belle!” interjected the younger.
And off we went. I provided some basic details and the princesses filled in the rest, bouncing up now and again to draw the story in chalk on the shed floor. A bridge. A troll. A witch. Cookies with enchanted sprinkles (because princesses don’t always eat the whole cookie but they always eat the icing and sprinkles). And a rescue by Kings Chris & Jeff and Queens Shayla & Amy. We went all the way to “happily ever after.”
Later in the day, the story moved to the trampoline, a tale my back still tells wordlessly. A troll looking much like me discovered that though princesses on trampolines are invisible, they are not inaudible or inedible. If you bounce them a bit, they soon start giggling and then you can find them and eat their tummies.
As the day was ending, Princess Number One made me promise to tell them another story about the Muleshoe Scare. It is evidently quite a well-known scary story, but I don’t know it yet. I promised to tell it when they come back, so I’m working on it.
“Here at the magic hour,” sings Andrew Peterson, “Time and eternity / Mingle a moment in chorus.” I think we found the magic hour. But I’d never have found it alone. It took two little girls (and a little elf) on Easter to take me by the hand and lead me to it. Yes, indeed, “a little child shall lead them.” No wonder the Lord of all wonder so loved the little ones! They remind us of what really matters. They lead us to Joy.
Copyright 2012 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.