“It was straight out of a storybook!” my friend exclaimed. She was describing to me her visit to North Carolina, the state where I grew up.
“There were so many old houses and white picket fences, chickens pecking around the yard and I just expected little children in neat, white clothing to come out of the door ready to go for a buggy ride.”
I smiled inwardly as I listened to her first impressions of the East Coast. It was true, my family lives in a big white farmhouse with a tire swing lazily hanging from an oak tree and a friendly dog who comes out wagging his tail to greet any visitor. But I never thought of my life as a “storybook life”. That was just the way things were.
I imagined that the great state of Colorado where my friend grew up was the land of majesty and beauty. I had never been but I could just picture in my mind the luscious meadows of wildflowers and the grand peaks of mountains topped with snow. That my friends, is where I am sure all the adventures happen.
I think of my life now, in a small pueblo in Northern Mexico where I walk down the street to the tienda to buy fresh tortillas for the day and where I go to the market every Tuesday to socialize, eat amazing street food and buy the everyday necessaries. I think of the desert where I run, kicking up dust as I chase the soccer ball with a magnificent sunset painted behind me and I realize that my life is a storybook life. I am living the life that I read about in books as a child. I am living a life that others dream about living.
What if our dreams are right in front of us? What if we saw our lives as what they are, beautiful pieces of art, no matter the culture you find yourself in? Maybe we need to take a fresh look at the world around us and remind ourselves what a glorious thing it is to be a part of it. Because when things become too normal to us, we often lose the sense of wonder.
I don’t give a second thought to doing the things that I do. But maybe I should. Because when I open up my imagination, the world I live in looks a lot more colorful. The simple, everyday things of life become a grand adventure. My life becomes a storybook life, the only catch being that it is real.
Maybe we need to look at the Gospel this way too. I hear this story told over and over and over and though I believe that this story is true with all my heart, sometimes I forget that this is the greatest story ever told. This is the story that I sell all that I have just to obtain. This is the story that I forget my housework and sit and listen to. This is the story that makes dry bones stand up and dance.
The truth is we need imagination to interact with this story. Because all too often, this story becomes normal. It becomes as normal as belting out songs in the back of a fifteen-passenger van or curling up in the trunk of a tree with a good book and a crisp apple. And then someone comes along and shows us that the most beautiful things we have are right in front of us. We need those reminders.
There really is a hero who came down from heaven to fight for our hearts. He came as a baby and he took the whole world by surprise. He changed the course of history and he changed the course of my heart. He is coming again too, in magnificent robes and with a flaming sword in his hand. He is the Story that all our stories point to. He is the rising sun and the great I AM. He is the Word made flesh and every promise finds their ‘yes’ in Him. He is right in front of us.
Will you open your eyes of imagination and see that this, the most glorious truth, is real and present? Will you read with fresh eyes this story? And then rejoice in the beauty of it?
Featured image by wirestock