As a child, I enjoyed these words. Once Upon a Time. These words meant a story was about to come. Our teacher might be telling the story. Maybe the words appeared in a book I was about to read. At other times, the words were spoken just as a television program or movie was beginning.
Once Upon a Time meant I was about to use my imagination. Something was going to happen. Maybe in a far away land. Maybe there would be something magical and hopeful. This was not everyday, 9-5 talk. No, something in the telling of this story was about to capture my attention.
I still like these words. Once Upon a Time. These words remind me that it is not to late to imagine, to dream, and to live with hope. Maybe I like these words because the child-like person within me still needs to hear them.
I talk to too many people who have no hope, no dream, and no imagination about a new future. They've been disappointed too much. Life has been hard and for some people, really hard. I never get used to these conversations. At times I will think, "this person used to be a child, a small and innocent child."
- Her eyes are full of tears that go back years. So much disappointment. Disappointment with people, her children, the church, and life itself.
- His outer shell is hard. He learned a long time ago not to show emotion and to keep it all within. And--he is keeping a lot within.
- Her anger does not seem to fit the situation. In fact, her anger has little to do with the immediate situation at all. This anger is deep and is bubbling over from years of hurt and betrayal.
I would not attempt to minimize in the least the disappointments that many, many people have faced. After so many disappointments, a person may finally lower her expectations about life. She just trys to survive but wonders when the next gust of wind will blow.
I wonder what the people thought that day when Jesus interrupted the funeral procession (Luke 7:11-17). A widow was about to bury her only son. She had already buried a husband. Now this woman, who was probably seeing her source of income go as well, was about to bury her child. Never mind that he may have been an adult. In the mind of a mother, she is burying her child. Jesus interrupts this procession and raises this young man from the dead. The people who witnessed this event praised God saying, "A great prophet has appeared among us. God has come to help his people."
I love these words! I wish I had been there. To hear these people shout, "God has come to help his people!" Right in the middle of disappointment and grief are these words of hope. God has come...
Once upon a time reminds us that there is more than what meets the eye today. God has come to help his people lets me know that my life is more than the sum total of all my disappointments. God has come...
I don't know about you, but I'm going to hang on to these words. I have no idea what will happen in my life tomorrow or next year. But--I am learning that I can put confidence in the one who has come.