Have you ever hungered for a vague realm you can’t describe but only sense when a book, a movie, or a shared experience awakens a yearning? It grips your inner being but is not easily defined.
As a child, I used to daydream of fairy places and adventures and King Arthur. I wanted to live in an enchanted place where life is exciting, boredom is vanquished, and good overcomes evil. I read books like Kate Seredy’s The Chestry Oak and yearned to right the wrong done to the young hero, to save his father, and allow the two to live in their kingdom all their lives. I even wrote stories to heal the yearning I felt.
The journey away from childhood is mentioned by Paul in the love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13: “When I became a man, I put away childish things.”
Yet, this yearning hints of our desire for a world of right and love. The best stories allow us to enter that realm again. We cannot remain there, because we are now adults with adult responsibilities. A visit there, however, awakens us to the deeper purposes of our lives. We return better able to discern the chaff from the wheat and toss it from our lives. We choose a clearer direction.
Ann Gaylia O'Barr, author ofSinging in Babylon, Searching for Home, Quiet Deception, Distant Thunder and A Sense of Mission (all OakTara), was a Foreign Service Officer in the United States Department of State from 1990 to 2004. Assignments included tours in U.S. embassies and consulates in Saudi Arabia (Jeddah and Dhahran), Algeria, Canada, Tunisia, and Washington, D.C. (Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and Bureau of Intelligence and Research).