wild liquid living wordsJuly 20, 2013
Once upon a time – there was a very little girl who lived in a tiny little house on the corner of two streets, Clark Street and Otway Street by the rough old oceans that beat the cliffs and rocks every day, and change the shape of the world.
And she lived there with her mum and her dad and her big brother, but not her baby sister because she wasn’t born yet.
(This is how my children have heard me start hundreds of stories – the stories of my life growing up, to strengthen them in their stories of growing up).
And every week since this little girl was 8 days old; she was bundled up in a double wrapping of love – love for her and love for God, and taken to church. And as she grew, she grew wriggly fingers and wriggly toes, and wriggly legs and a wriggly tummy, because she was fascinated with life. She had so many thoughts and these thoughts made her wriggle.
And her mum and dad kept bundling her up in that double wrap of love, love for her and love for God and taking her to the church where, despite all her wriggles, she tried very hard to sit still. But it was especially hard to sit still in church because there – in church – were Bibles! And people spoke of God, and this made her especially think-ful of thoughts and especially wriggly. But her mother, being full of love for the little girl and full of love for God, and a great lover of the Bible and also just a tiny bit desperate to not have such a wriggly girl in church began to do something.
Something that would shape this little girl and all her wriggly thinking forever.
This mum, who always took pencils and paper herself to write and draw as she listened in church, gave pencil and paper to her wriggly-thinking daughter. And as they sat side by side in church, this mother would lean across and say,
The man is talking about a part in the Bible with a tree. Draw me a tree.”
And the mum would draw a tree, and the little girl would scribble on her paper. Then the mum would lean across again and say,
“The tree is beside a river…draw the river” and the mum would draw a river, and the little girl would scribble with
her pencil. And as the little girl grew she began to form the shapes she saw on her mother’s page, and her mother would keep leaning across…
“There is lots of beautiful fruit on the tree.” And the little girl would draw colourful delicious red and orange and green fruit all over her tree.
And soon, after a few short years, though it must have seemed like an eternity to a mother with such a wriggly daughter, the little girl learned to read. So the mother stopped leaning across and whispering, and began writing her suggestions on the page. “In this part of the Bible, Jesus is talking inside a house.” And the little girl would draw.
And then questions would appear….”Four friends have come with a man on a stretcher –how can they get to see Jesus? Draw 3 possible ways to get in.”
“Some of the people are grumpy with Jesus; draw their grumpy faces – but who is happy? Draw their face…”
And so it went on. And over time the questions changed…
”The preacher is talking about something called “redemption” – keep a scorecard of how many times he says that word.”
“Write or Draw 4 ways that David was protected as he fought Goliath.”
And so by the time this very little girl, who had started off so wriggly, was going to high school, she was full of expectations. She expected that when the Bible was opened, there would something for her to do with her wrigglesome thoughts; she expected that if someone was speaking about the Bible, she would hear and wonder and understand something; She expected that when you read the Bible there would be pictures that you could form in your mind and on paper. Because the Bible is full of things, real things, strange things, interesting things, God things, and human things.
As she read the Bible she would hear the different voices in colour and form, and it would make her wriggle. Because every sound has a colour and every shape has a sound, and every movement has a shape and every sound has a movement.
Although after many many years, this very little girl grew up, she never gave up reading the bible and she never gave up her crayons when she read it. She was always wriggly restless. And the voices, sometimes songs, sometimes shouting and sometimes silent were always stirring and storying and shaping her.
Like the rough old oceans that beat the cliffs everyday, the wild liquid living words would froth over her edges and submerge her coastline, reshaping her world with courage and love, forgiveness and grace, daring and hope.