Tuesday, May 8, 2012

An Adventure Begins

Picture yourself in an ancient European city-Florence perhaps or Madrid. You find yourself at dusk, wandering through the older parts of town. Narrow streets are lined with dimly lit shops-pawnbrokers, no doubt, alongside various dealers in antiquities, booksellers, curious haunts harboring mysteries from far-off lands. Partly out of curiosity, partly out of a wish to avoid the jostling crowds, you turn into a musty parlor. As your eyes adjust to the twilight inside, you discover aisles crammed with Babylonian trinkets, Persian rugs, suits of armor, Colombian pottery. You browse indifferently among everything old and intriguing.

Then, something catches your eye. Sitting in a pile of forgotten silver urns and incense burners, it might have escaped your notice altogether. But it seemed to call to you, whisper your name. In fact, it is already in your hands. This is ridiculous, you think. You turn the lamp over and over most carefully, looking for . . . you're not quite sure what. Obviously it is from the Middle East, Arabia most likely. What am I thinking? These things happen only in fairy tales.

Something you read long ago-was it in Chesterton?-crosses your mind. "An adventure is, by its nature, a thing that comes to us. It is a thing that chooses us, not a thing that we choose." He's right about that, you admit. Alice wasn't looking for Wonderland when she fell through the looking glass. Come to think of it, the four children just stumbled into Narnia through the back of the wardrobe. Anodos simply woke to find fairyland had taken over his bedroom.

But another voice rises within you, urging caution. You've got places to go, for heaven's sake. Don't let yourself get carried away. The voice is full of common sense, of course. But the voice also seems old and tired. From how many adventures has it swayed you in your life? How many dreams left in the closet? "Closing time," calls the curator of the shop. He begins to blow out the lamps. Your heart is racing. Somewhere back in your mind you hear the voice urging you on to your duties. But it is too late. You've already rubbed the lamp.

 While I wasn't lost in a dusty corner of Madrid, I was with close friends at an outdoor market in Helotes, TX.  Betty and I were oohing and ahhing over real antiques--not someone's dimestore junk, but genuine articles like a Lionel Richie record, a first edition Mark Twain, a milk glass vase and lovely cats painted on rocks.  All of a sudden she 'rounds the corner cradling this lamp, saying, "here, this one's calling out your name!" 
Beautiful Jesus, You knew I had read this Eldredge devotional just days earlier.  You know the intense burning in my heart to fall out of the wardrobe into Narnian woods.  You know the pain I carry, some days feeling very crushed and broken.  You astonish me, Lord.  "I see you, Elaine, I really do.  And I have brought you an adventure all your own.  Don't lose me in the cobwebs and the dust of your heart.  I AM sweeping them away and replacing your tears with life and joy.  I promise." 

Bowed low, I am grateful.  I can breathe again.  And I rubbed the lamp . . .

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