This piece was originally posted in Story Warren, a project in which I’m delighted to play a small part. Drop by and visit. They’re great folks.
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It had been a long day. We were exhausted. But we had traveled a long way, and the trip wouldn’t be complete until we found it.
In the prior week, our family had roamed the fields at Gettysburg, floated down the Charles River, cycled the picturesque trails of Nantucket, and skipped stones across Walden Pond. We had endured long-winded tour guides on the Freedom Trail, haunted the House of Seven Gables, and foraged through Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in search of Alcott, Emerson and Thoreau. Our family had gorged on history with the zeal of Templeton at the fair. I was full.
But not my daughter. She was on a mission. With quickened step and unshakable resolve, she scanned the horizon searching for her destination. No, not toward the crimson dappled Virginian mountains. No, not behind the gardens where slaves had toiled for decades. Where could it be?
Suddenly, she stopped. Her pause was not due to uncertainty or confusion, rather it resulted from her being absorbed in a moment of delight. Her gaze was fixed beyond the flowerbeds at the end of the meandering brick path. There it was. The Reflecting Pool. She sprinted with abandon toward this, her final destination. Knowing the significance of her discovery, I dug the camera from my bag and prepared to capture the moment. “Not there,” I was instructed. “You have to take it from the other side – where the house is reflected in the pond.” The angle had to be just right. We were finally at her pond. It was perfect.
In preparation for our trip to New England, my children sketched landmarks which were included on our itinerary. They had taken a great deal of time and effort in selecting and recreating their building (or pond) of choice. A clever tactic, I thought. They would have exposure to the historical icons prior to experiencing them. We would optimize our time and financial investment in the trip.
The goal was indeed achieved. They did learn much about American history. Yet I was unaware of a deeper working in their hearts. What had started as a simple sketch had taken on dimension. As my daughter had considered angle, perspective, depth and shading of the Reflecting Pool, she had grown in attachment to it. She became intimately aware of each curve, shadow, and line. Through each stroke of pen on paper, the picture in her mind became more clear. As we roamed the grounds of that stately home, she knew exactly what she was looking for. A similar pond wouldn’t do. She longed to see the real thing.
When our children experience goodness, glimpses of eternity are etched onto their hearts.
Each great story engraves lines of truth.
Each work of art imprints ultimate beauty.
Each symphony resonates loveliness.
They all leave their mark, their imprints reflecting the image of the Master Artist. Their effect, to woo His children to himself.
Our children’s lives will be full of adventure, detours, landmark moments and wrong turns. They will travel long distances and lose their way. I can think of no greater honor than to present a rich array of goodness from which they can choose. Goodness that will find its place in their souls. Goodness that will mark the way toward Home.