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THE LITTLE BOY’S QUESTION

Posted by on August 20, 2014

In his dream he was walking along the forest path, in no particular hurry.  After all, that’s the best way to enjoy the journey.  Getting in a hurry misses things.  Getting in a hurry can get you hurt.  Somehow he knew that.

Coffee - Camping coffeepot4A forest path, even a familiar one, is always an interesting place.  There’s much to see, to sense, to appreciate . . .  It’s never completely quiet there, unless danger looms.  Then it’s as if even the trees are holding their breath, limbs unwaving, silently at their sides.

With a woodsman’s strange sixth sense, he felt the presence of someone else on the trail behind him.  The follower was not adept in placing his feet, stepping often on twigs that crackled and small dead branches that made cracks about his sorry efforts.  He also brushed through swishing live branches and undergrowth that any seasoned woodsman would instinctively miss, bending this way and that, moving shoulders in a graceful forest-inspired ballet that seemed to clear any potential noisemaker by mere inches.

The one coming behind was not dangerous.  He’s lonesome, unused to the forest, and welcoming my company, the man thought.  He’s trying to catch up with me, but having a hard time of it because he’s unused to this kind of travel . . .

At this point, his conscious asked his subconscious, “Now, how would I know that?”

His subsconscious, swatting the interruption aside like a pesky gnat, said, “You’re dreaming, remember?  Dreams rarely make complete sense.  You want to butt out so I can get on with this?  You’re gonna need to wake up soon, and you know how I get when I’m on a roll and you interfere!”

Mental arguments at oh-dark-thirty make for interesting results when you’re a writer.

. . . He thought to himself, I’ll slow down a little and see who’s behind me . . .

Conscious couldn’t stand it.  “This is a total waste of good sleep!  You’ve already pointed out this is a dream, so you and I both already know who’s on his backtrail.  It’s—–”

Sub stood right between thoughts, ideas folded and basic truths firmly planted.  “We also both know YOU can’t make this work without ME.  It’s a DREAM, Consh!  You know, the creative stuff that weaves reality and fantasy and history and eternity together all at once?  WHEN have you EVer made that happen on your own, Mr. Keep-It-Plain-And-Simple-Just-The-Facts-Ma’am?  Now, if you’d just shut to the UP, I could’ve had this DONE by now, and he–”  (pointing right at me) could have already found the right picture and published this!”

. . . Well, no wonder . . . 

His laggard companion on the deep forest path that day was a 10-year-old boy.  The man could see him, now, every so often through the trees and brush that separated them.  The little fellow carried nothing but a walking stick in his right hand.  No backpack with a bag of Fritos, a rubber band, and a wadded-up piece of tin foil in it.  No gum in his mouth.

As the man turned with the green-shadowed path to his right, slowing to step down some rough-hewn log steps to continue on his way, he could now plainly see the boy.  Oddly, he said nothing until the man looked back and made eye contact.

“Sir?  Where do you go to let go of things?”

Everything inside the man went as still as your thoughts just did.

Dreams . . .

The little guy never said another word; he didn’t have to.  In his other hand the man now saw a worn, torn small gunny sack; it looked to be half-full of things that created lumps and corners, making the sack awkward to carry.  The boy’s face wasn’t the sparkling, full-of-wonder-and-adventure one of a 10-year-old.  It was instead unusually sober, serious way beyond his years.  The man realized with a shock why the boy seemed so familiar.

It was him.

It was me.  This is the dream from which I awoke this morning.  Normally, I’m sure you’re aware, dreams don’t stay put any longer than the late-summer fly annoying you in the bathroom.  We actually remember very few.

“Sir?  Where do you go to let go of things?”

Wow.  Two things accrue.

  • What have I been hanging onto all this time that I need to let go?
  • Where, indeed?

The story relates how a younger man, Bob, came over to his neighbor, Allen, asking what he needed to do to find Christ.  “I gotta make some changes in my life.  Can you take me there?”   Nodding, Allen said, “C’mon,” and they went out and got in Allen’s old International Scout.

Bob said, “Do they even make parts for these any more?”  Allen was quiet, just driving.  Bob, spirit agitated, asked, “So when are we gonna get there?” 

Allen just smiled and said, “Soon.”  The question came in various forms three more times, each one with greater urgency.  Each time, the older man gave the same answer.

Allen quietly drove on, turning this way and that, out along a country road.  Finally, Bob exclaimed, “Man, stop the truck!  I need Jesus and I ain’t goin’ another foot until I’m saved!”

Smoothly, Allen braked and pulled the old Scout to the roadside beside a fallen tree in the field.  Looking at Bob, he smiled again and said, “This is the place.”

“Sir?  Where do you go to let go of things?”

© D. Dean Boone, August 2104

 

 

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