Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Love Takes a Hero

     I joke with people that I teach for the tater tots and recess. I really teach for tater tots and the opportunity read aloud to a captive audience. There’s nothing like getting kids hooked on a good book. I love it! Near two o’clock the end of day song comes on and my third graders pack up and go to the rug and I read to them. They get lost in the books I read aloud and talk about the characters like college kids do in a good literature class.  And I’ll let you in on a little secret, that’s why I do it. I want them exposed to those life changing issues in a positive way and I want them to talk about it.

     I grabbed Kate DiCamillo’s The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane as I walked out the library one day. Kate DiCamillo is one of my all time favorite authors. I knew that whatever she wrote would be well written and good for my students to hear. I wasn’t wrong. What I didn’t know was that it would be good for me to hear too.
      Edward is a china rabbit, (my kids said to tell you he was a jerk). He was jerk, a prissy jerk no less. The grandmother who gave him to her granddaughter told Edward she was disappointed in him and the next thing you know Edward is on a journey that he didn’t choose and it’s only purpose is to teach him about love.  Along the way, in the most unlikely of places, he discovers love after all. He also discovers that it hurts sometimes so he swears that he will never love again.  Sound familiar to anyone?

     Edward winds up with his head broken into a hundred pieces.  A doll maker puts Edward back together and sits him on a shelf in his doll shop. One day the shop owner puts a hundred year old doll next to him. She tells Edward that she can’t wait to see who will come next for her to love. Edward tells her that he is through with love. The old doll says, “Oh, phish, where is your courage?”  My heart tumbled and gave me pause when I read that line. Then the bell rang and we crowded out the door and onto the busses. I put away the vestiges of busy minds at work and Edward and his love story were forgotten…I thought.
   I dreamed about Edward and the old doll that night and subsequent nights, vague, amorphous dreams that seemed intent on reshaping my soul while I slept. After several nights of this I was left with the prickly feeling that I’m not sure I have the courage to be loved, at least not up close and personal.  There’s a difference you know. The reason I tell people that I’m waiting for a blue eyed guitar playing cowboy from Montana who paddles a red Caption is because I think it’s a long shot. (It is a long shot, right?)  Love up close and personal can be messy. Have I mentioned the drummers I’ve known?  But, if you can’t be loved how can you love? I mean, really love? Aren’t they one and the same thing?

    In Women Who Run With The Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes, “To love truly takes a hero who can manage his own fears.”   I think I might have to figure out how to do that because a. I thought Edward was jerk too, (at least until he learned how to love), and I don’t want to be like him and b. I believe in the transformative power of love. We need more of it not less. I know for sure that it was always comes down to this, it’s either fear or love baby. I’m feeling a little fear. It’s all part of the wilderness experience of being human though,so what can you do. Besides, I also know that in grace all things are possible, in grace love is born. Grace gives wings to love and gives our fearful hearts the courage to remember and know so that we may heal and through our love the world be made whole. Seems reasonable to me, now about that cowboy...

                                         Our End of Day Song. Appropriate, don't your think?


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