“Let’s tell a story…” has been “my story” for the last week. My guest is three-year-old Sarah, and she is fascinated with telling stories. The fairy tale character Rapunzel is her favorite. But it’s not just one girl to keep track of. Her big sister Lana has a “big” Rapunzel, her sister Brianna has a “tiny” Rapunzel, and Sarah herself has one of medium size. “Remember, we’re talking about the little Rapunzel,” she will say. And if I happen to forget, she’ll remind me of which one the particular story we’re telling is about.
This morning when we were cuddling in bed and I was reading Billy Graham’s latest book while at the same time trying to pay attention to the stories, she had mentioned what she wanted to tell and I must have been too concentrated on what Billy Graham was saying, so I forgot. “What was it we were going to talk about,” I asked. “I already told you,” Sarah answered. And she would not say it again. I clung to what has been the most common subject, and asked, “Are we going to tell a story about Rapunzel when she went to sleep?” Can you believe that I nailed it!
What is so fascinating about Rapunzel going to sleep? Because the storm comes! And the lightning! And thunder! And rain! All of these we make as dramatic as possible. And Rapunzel, whichever one it is—the big one, the middle one, or the tiny one—is safe in her big tower with her mommy and daddy. This can make anybody want to have a storm. To be safe and secure in loving arms!!!
These last few days Rapunzel has given way to another fascinating story, about Sarah when she came out of her mommy’s tummy. She discovered my scrapbook about her, with a page that has a picture of my daughter in the last stages before giving birth. That is what has fascinated Sarah, that she was inside and that she had a jacket (I wonder where that came from?). On the next page is a picture of the little one “right out of the oven,” with the umbilical cord still attached and all the white gooey stuff babies come out with. She has looked and admired that picture over and over again, and then the picture of her taking her first bath, with the big “boo-boo” on the belly button. “How did mommy spit me out?” she asked. I didn’t correct her. In due time she’ll know that the entrance door to the world was in the other direction. Her brother David had the same idea. “Mom will have to open her mouth wide so Sarah can come out,” was his philosophy.
Another thing that has fascinated her are the airplanes that fly by high in the sky. I live relatively close to the airport so you can see them quite often. She has wondered if they go into outer space. One day she wants to go in an airplane to outer space, but not before she is as big as I am.
Talking about being as big as I am, one day she said she wants to be like me when she grows up. Isn’t that about the best thing you can hear from a child?! She doesn’t have to wait, she is already like me—a story-teller!
What other story might this little mind be cooking up?
Sarah went to church yesterday and brought home a memory game they had made in class, with stickers of animals since the lesson had been about Noah. Guess what we have done in between telling Rapunzel stories? Played Memory! We even sat outside in the late evening playing the game. But the wind played tricks on us. It wasn’t a storm that came, but the wind blew just enough on the cards to make them fly to the ground. So we had to go inside.
Now the little story-teller is sound asleep in my bed. In the middle of the night her little arms will come and wrap around me. But it won’t last. Her mommy misses her. I’m sure her daddy and her siblings also miss her. So I have to start thinking about taking her home again.
Life goes too fast. It seems like yesterday I had her mommy’s arms wrapped around me. If God allows me to stay a few more years here, before I know it maybe Sarah’s little ones will wrap their arms around me. But that will be enough. I don’t want to be ancient!
Do get Billy Graham’s latest book “Nearing Home”—Life, Faith, and Finishing Well, published by Thomas Nelson. It’s a book for young and old. Those who are near the finish line will be inspired to keep the faith and finish strong. Those who seem miles away from being old will get excellent advice on how to prepare for the “golden years,” which this man of God wonders what’s so golden about, with the aches and pains that go with it. But even in a weakened physical condition his faith is strong and he is still leaving a legacy.
Printed on the back cover of the book is the verse I’ve chosen as a guiding star for my life. I hope my little story-teller, my other grandchildren, and not to forget my daughter and son-in-law, will all live by this declaration of the apostle Paul:
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me,
if only I may finish the race and complete the task
the Lord Jesus has given me-
the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” –Acts 20:24
What do you value the most?