As a paraprofessional at an elementary school, I assist in leading reading groups in many different grade levels. I show up with books to read and listening ear at the scheduled time.
But sometimes the classes just aren't quite ready for me at the scheduled time. In that case, I sit in the back and glance over my lesson plans one last time as I wait a few more minutes.
But on this particular day, I found myself listening along with (most of) the class.
The third graders--my last class of the day--were listening to their teacher read The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds. It's not a very long book, filled with simple words and bright illustrations.
The story centers around Jerome, a boy who (you guessed it) collects words. Any interesting word that strikes his fancy, he jots down on a slip of paper and adds it to his scrapbook. Up to today, he'd always kept his words with other words of their types--big words with other big words, little words with other little words, so on and so forth.
One day, however, he dropped his word collection. And as he picked them up, he realized there were wonderful combinations in them being mixed up. He experiments with different combinations of words, but finds that "the simple words were the most powerful."
Jerome wants to share his words with the world. So he loads up all those little squares of paper, pushes them in a wheelbarrow to the top of a hill, and showers them on the valley below.
It sounds like a simple story, but seriously. Take a minute and find a copy of The Word Collector or look up a read aloud video of it.
We are all just like Jerome. No matter who we are or what we do, we collect words from the moment we're born. It's how we learn to use them.
We collect words we hear. Words we read. Words we think.
We collect beautiful words. Happy words. Sad words. Anxious words. Angry words.
We collect words that should never be said. Words that can tear through a person. And words that make our day.
I wish all words were the kind that could brighten a gray day. But even if we were completely perfect and never thought them ourselves, sad and angry words will still find their way into our collections whether we like it or not.
And whether it's through writing or another method, we want to share our words with the world.
So, a few things I'm remembering from Jerome's tale as share my words.
Simple words are the most powerful. Words like "I'm sorry." "I understand." "Thank you." It may not take an eloquent speech to make the world for someone else. So say the words that need to be said.
You don't have to keep sad or angry words in your collection. We cannot control the words others say to us, but we can control the ones we keep and share.
Shake up your words. Maybe you don't like all the words you have. Maybe they seem flat and boring. Toss them into the air and see what patterns emerge. Look at them in a new way. Use them to create amazing words. Even the words we dislike the most can become something that lifts someone else up.
Lastly, words are meant for sharing. So fling them out on the valley below and listen to what happens. Your words are meant for wonderful places.
*Where could your words go? What are some of your favorite children's books? Share your adventures in the comments!*
*I am so very excited to bring to you all today a guest post by fellow blogger Allison Grace! Once you've finished this incredible post about The Horse and His Boy, go check out her blog and sign up for her newsletter while you're there! I've been signed up for a while and have very much enjoyed her insight (and Oliver's adventures, too). Watch her blog tomorrow . . . a post of mine might show up (secret: It might have to do with The Magician's Nephew). https://allisongracewrites.com/articles/guest-post-from-rachel-leitch-how-digory-kirke-reminded-me-to-hope/ So without further ado, An Illustration of God's Sovereignty by Allison Grace!*
There’s a scene in Chapter Eleven of C.S. Lewis’ The Horse and His Boy that nearly makes me cry.
I’m usually not one to cry during books and movies. So it has to be something really special. And this scene is.
If you want to avoid spoilers, I suggest you go read the book before continuing. ;)
“I do not call you unfortunate,” said the Large Voice.
“Don’t you think it was bad luck to meet so many lions?” said Shasta.
“There was only one lion,” said the Voice.
“What on earth do you mean? I’ve just told you there were at least two the first night, and--”
“There was only one: but he was swift of foot.”
“How do you know?”
“I was the lion.” And as Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice continued. “I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you.”
While The Horse and His Boy certainly is not as allegorical as Lewis’ other books (most notably The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe) we as Christians can clearly see an illustration of God’s sovereignty.
If you are familiar with the story, you can see that Aslan (the “Large Voice”) is behind every important part of the story. He has guided Shasta’s story from the very beginning.
The same is true when you look at our world.
If you think about the nation of Israel for a minute and you go all the way back to Abraham, you can see God’s hand.
And that’s just the beginning!
Throughout the history of Israel, God has always preserved His people.
Sometimes there is not a clear “lion” in the story, such as in the book of Esther. But He is always working.
Now, it’s easy to think that God’s sovereignty and providence only extends to the big things or to the “important” people. But like an author controls all the elements in her writing, God has a hand in all the details of our lives. Nothing happens without a reason.
Did you see what Aslan said in the quote? “I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead.”
This isn’t a major plot point. This is nothing more than Aslan demonstrating his care for Shasta.
Sometimes, when God works in our lives, it’s obvious and huge. And other times, it’s in tiny ways.
But like Paul says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”
All things. Not just the big events of life--graduation, marriage, and eventually death--but all parts of our lives--our relationships, the school we attend, and where we work.
I’m sure when Aslan told Shasta that he was behind-the-scenes in every situation, Shasta probably wondered why. He might have been asking, “But why did I ever have to be kidnapped as a baby anyway? Why did I have to go on this long journey? Couldn’t you have done it another way?”
Let me tell you this: God doesn’t owe us any explanation for what He does. In fact, He doesn’t owe us anything.
Maybe someday we will be able to look back on our lives and see how God was working. Or we may never be able to fully trace the thread of providence through our lives.
But rest assured, God is working in every story and every situation.
“...for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13
Allison Grace used to hate writing.
Now she can’t imagine a world without telling stories.
She has written several short stories and completed a novel. Her favorite themes to write about (fiction and nonfiction) are identity, faith, and redemption. She also has a whole stash of unfinished fan fiction no one is allowed to read.
Besides writing, Allison loves to crochet stuffed animals and dolls to give to charities. She is a shameless Star Wars and Marvel nerd and can carry on an entire conversation solely in movie quotes.
She blogs at allisongracewrites.com.
Hi, I'm Rachel! I'm the author of the posts here at ProseWorthy. Thanks for stopping by!