Every night, I go through L’s backpack to sign his planner for the next day and see if there are any important papers to read from his teacher. I know that the students have been working on writing stories, and L has told me excitedly a few times about his story: its length, the dialogue, the characters, the plot. I can’t wait to talk with him in the morning about the draft I read this evening.
So far, his story is three notebook pages long (front and back), in penmanship that would make some adults jealous–and L still hesitates to say that his cursive is good! What I read, reflects all that he’s been reading lately: Lord of the Rings, the Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress (though he hasn’t gotten far in this one, but I’ve described it to him and we’ve been talking about heaven more lately), and Nancy Drew mysteries.
His story is of a journey to a land of happiness, and the half-dozen travelers face both troubles and relief along the way. In one battle, they overcome their foe with merely a word. In another stand-off, there is fierce fighting. They are able to rest before completing their quest. Bliss and peace abound when they reach the land they sought.
It’s a draft, and he probably didn’t think through all the symbolism the way I am tonight. What I see in his writing, though, is pretty accurate for the world in which we live: pilgrims, on a journey to an eternity of joy. We will face troubles, but we will have victory. Traveling together lightens the load. There will be some along the way to encourage and help us. There will be enemies, who will do everything they can to stand in our way. Sometimes, we can ward off our foes with words of truth. Sometimes, we must battle, and I think here of battling on our knees in prayer. We will weep, we will groan, we will cry out to God. Finally, and I get goosebumps thinking about it, we will enter the land of happiness, of rest, of eternal refreshment. We will walk beside our Creator, our Father; we will praise Him with untarnished hearts, hearts that have been made new.
My heart has been heavier and heavier as more bad news comes. I have a very real sense that our world’s youth will see things unimaginable to previous generations. I can’t keep my children in a bubble, nor do I want to. There is a great light growing in my son’s heart, and I believe in many young hearts everywhere. When I can read a just-for-fun story that he has written and I can see hope, faith, and brotherly love in three short pages, that’s a light that I want to help grow and shine! My hope does not waver, my faith stands firm. I believe that L’s “eternal land of happiness” is the heaven we hope for, and I am humbly in awe that I will someday enter in.