Friday, December 16, 2011


I want our children to love books. Some of our favorite days begin with picture books piled high on our bed where little fingers and bright eyes pour over them with delight.

One morning Salome', our six year old, found a lovely old library book in the shelves downstairs, which I had never read. The story, "Lost in the Storm" by Carol Carrick, was tender and eloquent with pictures painted in soft artistic watercolors.

As I closed the book I noticed a stern-looking red stamp, which marred the yellowed front page. DISCARDED it announced. It was a sad proclamation, yet perhaps it was the very reason we were holding the book after all. One single strong word of judgment over something or someone can influence thoughts profoundly.

In my hand I held my camera to capture the tender moment of Salome' reading to Emmaus. As I peered through the lens I understood the profound irony of our two precious children, adopted siblings from across the globe, thoroughly enjoying this book labeled discarded.

The bold, stamped declaration also prompted me to consider, "Are there people outside of my own little life whose stories I discard? Sad, hurting people who need restoring, who need to be noticed, but perhaps I obey a false idea that their life is better left unopened to me. Maybe at first encounter it is easy to see reasons not to pursue relationship. The world often gives us false guidance in this regard.

Yet the Author of Life has written His story throughout the ages on the pages of human hearts. As our stories meld, our dependence on each other, to love, uphold, value and notice, encourages and fulfills us. And we are strengthened in our understanding of the truth: That which is immortal is that which matters.

A few days ago I was amazed to hear the familiar Southern dialect of my sweet exceptional friend calling from Georgia. She is 63, calls me Mama and we had lost contact two years ago. She asked for the usual $50 dollars for Christmas (if I had it and if I did, she wanted it!), plus two devotionals, a book to read, and some coloring books. She asked me to look at the window of my cell phone to make sure I could see her number and she said in her strong voice, "I've got this cell phone with me 24/7 and when I go to the bed, it is beside me and when I leave the bed it is with me. You can call me any time!" She also asked if I'd gotten her letter from 2009. On college ruled paper she had written, "Dear Mama," then every subsequent line read "I love you, I love you, I love you..." and on the backside, the same, with her signature at the end. Each word was carefully crafted in her very best penmanship.

Stories, lives intertwined, all of value, yet those that cause our hearts to soften, and widen our perspective to love, are perhaps the very stories we must seek. None should be discarded.