Do you remember the first time you found wonder?
I do. I’ve been remembering each one of them.
Curious George Goes to the Hospital, the last book in this beloved series and the first favorite of Forrest Gump and yours truly. It is the first book I remember loving, and it opened the door for all the rest.
Thuvia, Maid of Mars by the great Edgar Rice Burroughs. Holding and reading the near crumbling remains of what I know now to have been a first edition hardcover from 1920.
I found it lost and alone in our family bookcase, right above all the endless volumes of green bound Encyclopedia Brittanica. I discovered treasure that day indeed.
A childish first grade cartoon about Robin Hood scrawled by me (complete with dialogue), winning the attention of Mrs. Bankston and a trip to the principals office for kudos. I thought I had done something wrong and was in trouble…
The Letter, by the Box Tops, a song all but unknown to the rest of my second grade classmates, much to my bewilderment. They most certainly didn’t have a clue about the Beatles.
Many years later it was the first time my newly teenaged finger raked across the strings of my brothers Alvarez 12-string guitar, filling the room with glory and sealing my fate for life.
When Mr. Widener, the Erwin HS band director defended one of my feeble bass solo attempts from the derision of an upper classman by declaring me to have “more music in my little finger” than the heckling senior. Humbling to be sure (it was a bass solo after all).
The moment when a room full of your peers goes silent at the end of one of your songs, only to erupt with applause.
These are the moments when your eyes are opened to wonder, to creativity. When the spark inside erupts into flame, a fire that consumes doubt and fear.
Yet doubt and fear are never far. Creativity comes at a cost. Even remembering requires a heavy price.
There is a verse that says we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but “powers and principalities” and all manner of spiritual adversaries. While I know and believe that to be true, there are battles that are waged here in what passes for the real world. And for me the powers and principalities I war against are cowardice and fear and despair.
In every battle there are the fallen and forgotten. I have been lost in the ruin of myself, a victim of wounds both physical and spiritual. But there is strength in remembering, a spark of flame in the distance of memory, a reward worthy of risk at any cost.