If we know the following words of Chesterton by heart, it’s because they ring so true:
“Fairy tales say that apples were golden only to refresh the forgotten moment when we found that they were green. They make rivers run with wine only to make us remember, for one wild moment, that they run with water.”
But we who are sowing holy imaginations in the minds of our children know that it is not only fairy tales that aid us in accomplishing our task. It’s the book on seeds we studied after planting our first ragtag garden. It’s the Youtube video we watched of N.D. Wilson talking about the wonders of our world. It’s the science curriculum we chose that points us to our Creator over and over again. It’s the hymn we sang about “rocks and trees and skies and seas” and the Father who made them all.
And, yes, it’s the fairy tale we read when only the lamps and the twinkle lights were shining in the bedroom up the stairs. All of it together, it fills up our ears and it fills up our hearts, and our capacity for wonder grows, even though we’re getting older.
My four eldest children and I loaded up with my dad last month to go for a ride through the country. Springtime had descended upon Oklahoma, and the greenness was dazzling and the air was fresh and new life was all around us.
Our first stop was to the bush he’d spotted growing in the thicket north of his house, a wild, hardy-looking bush that was covered with white flowers.
“Do you kids know what’s gonna grow here where these flowers are?” he asked in the West Texas drawl he still has after forty years of living across the state line.
No one could guess, and when he told us that those flowers would soon turn into blackberries, every mouth in the vehicle dropped open, including mine.
The response was the same when we drove to one of his neighboring properties to see the abandoned house he’d just purchased, and the flowering trees scattered throughout the neglected front yard.
“What do you think these flowers will turn into?” he asked, now including me in his query.
This time it was pears.
I knew that… I’m sure of it!… but it’s just that I’m paying closer attention now and… how amazing.
“You can pick a leaf off of there,” he told my 4-year old, and as that still-pudgy hand reached as high as it could to pluck the closest leaf off of the tree, my eyes were taking it all in. The tree with the flowers that would turn into fruit for our nourishment and delight, and the hand connected to the body that houses one of my favorite souls. It was a glorious sight, and the entire yard and pastures around us seemed to be glowing with a kind of breathtaking magic in my periphery.
Not because it wasn’t there before.
I’m just learning to see it.
The tree. The promise of fruit. The little boy, with hair and eyes and spirit. Magic, every single one.
It made me grateful all over again for this path we are on as a family, a path of learning, of exploring, of reading, of hearing sermons and passages and hymns and fairy tales.
Imagination is a lovely thing on its own, but when it finds its origins in a house where the God of the Bible is worshiped in spirit and in truth… little hearts are set aflame.
Mom’s hearts, too.
Because when the magic is seen and acknowledged, the eternal Kingdom of God becomes that much more impossible to deny; if trees can spring up from the ground, with flowers that turn into food, and if little boys have souls behind their eyes, then what is so crazy about there being unseen evils and powers and angels and realms and, at the heart of it all, a mighty King who is coming back someday for His bride?
Our family believes, and the stories and the songs and the fruit trees are only making us stronger.