This is a story I wrote a long time ago. I found it recently and decided to share it with you. It’s semi allegorical and semi autobiographical.
Once upon a time, in a world far away known as Arkansas, lived an ordinary girl. She lived with an ordinary family, which had an ordinary mother, an ordinary father, an ordinary sister, and an ordinary dog.
What made this girl special was her love. Early in her life, she knew she had been made to love someone with her whole heart. It was as if she were a piece of paper that someone had torn in two, and she was looking for her other half. She knew there was someone, somewhere waiting for her.
Some people in her life had told her to wait, that her other half would come looking for her. Other people told her she should go looking for him. The girl became very confused listening to everyone. It seemed the more she waited, the more frustrated she became. She finally decided to go looking for her missing half.
It seemed like a pleasant journey to begin with. She met many nice people, all willing to be a part of her life, and for awhile, that was enough to keep her happy.
Then she realized that she had begun to tire. These nice people had become ordinary, and she once again longed to be with her other half. She knew that he would make her life exciting.
One day, something extra-ordinary happened. She met an ordinary boy. But as she looked at him, and considered him, she noticed that he seemed to have been torn as well. As they became friends, and even closer friends, she realized that he appeared to have been torn in the same places she had. Several times she thought, “Could this be him? Is he my other half?” He was exciting to be with, and she began to think that even though they were not of the same piece, they could become a whole. She even believed that she could take a pair of scissors and trim the parts that didn’t fit.
So one day, she took her red handled scissors and began to fix things herself. With the first snip of the blades, she knew the pain he felt was real. With the second snip, she realized she not only hurt him, she hurt herself. With the third snip, she understood that she not only hurt herself and the one she thought she loved, but that she hurt her family. And with the fourth and final snip, she realized she had hurt her God. This was the most painful cut of all, for with this snip of the scissors, she had cut off all the love she had ever known in her life.
She was no longer the person that she had known and wanted to be. All the jags and points and parts that had made her unique and given her the ability to love were no longer a part of her, and she was now truly ordinary. Before she had only thought she was.
Bleeding and hurt, she picked up her pieces. Now, she had to find not only her true other half, but one who could fix her and make her whole as well.
She began to travel again. Yet the steps were more painful. She trusted fewer people and thought it strange that those who had once helped her, now seemed to be crooks. More and more she began to have less contact with the ordinary world around her, and more and more she began to be totally alone.
One day, as she was walking with her ordinary dog, she wandered into a bookstore. This was not unusual, for in her loneliness, she had developed a love for reading. In fact, the only friends she had were the characters from her books.
On this day, though, she happened to wander into a bookstore where she had never been, with a bookseller she had never met. He seemed so very ordinary at first that she almost didn’t notice him. But when he spoke to her, she realized that he was very special indeed. He spoke in a warm, gentle manner that for a moment, eased her pain and loneliness.
“Can I help you, miss?” he asked in a gentle voice.
“Oh, no. I was just looking for a new book. Thanks anyway,” she replied.
“Are you looking for anything special?” he continued.
“No, just a book. About love, kindness, peace. Just an unordinary book to take me out of my ordinary life.”
“Well, my dear,” he began, “you are in luck. I have just the sort of book you’re looking for.”
“You do?” she asked, in surprise, for she had not expected anyone to have such a book.
“Yes, I do,” he said. And with that he took her to the corner of the store, and from under the counter, he pulled out what seemed like an ordinary black book.
“I can tell by the disappointed look in your eyes that you think this a very ordinary book,” he said, like a true salesman. “I assure you, miss, that it is not. Inside this book, there is a treasure map. It points the way to perfect and true love, kindness, and peace. I promise you, my dear, that reading this book will change your life. And just to prove my point, I’m going to let you have it for free.”
“But sir,” she protested, “I can’t let you do that.”
“Miss, just knowing your life will have changed is reward enough. Tell you what, you read the book, and if it doesn’t help, you can exchange it for another one.”
“Thank you, sir. Thank you.” And with that, she ran to her lonely little ordinary house.
At first, she dared not even open her new book. It seemed too wonderful to be true. And then it was true. And then it was ordinary.
She decided one day, she should finally read this so called “treasure map” just to discover if there was anything special about this book. What she discovered was a bunch of rules, and since she never had liked rules, she shut the book and vowed never to open it again.
She was angry enough, she almost missed the telephone call.
“So, how do you like the book?” It was the little man from the bookstore.
“It’s fine,” she lied.
“Good, good. I find it quite interesting. Written by my father, you know,” he stated.
“Really?” she stammered in disbelief at how anyone could find rules to be interesting.
“Yes. Well, I must go. Come back to the store, and we’ll discuss it when you’re finished reading it.”
“Maybe someday,” she lied. “Goodbye.” And she rudely hung up the phone.
She woke up the next morning, still angry and still grumpy. After she had taken her morning walk, she felt guilty for having lied. “Maybe there is more after the rules,” she thought to herself.
She went to her favorite chair, picked up the book from where it had fallen the night before, and began to read.
She read stories of people. People who hurt like her. She read poems. Poems of hurting like hers. She read stories of tears and rips and stories of those who tried to fix them alone, those who had scissors like hers.
But it was when she realized that all these people believed in something that appeared to be bigger than them, then something extraordinary happened. They were healed. And she wanted to be healed too.
She began to read the stories of a teacher, a great teacher who taught love, mercy, peace, and kindness. She knew he was ordinary, like herself, yet unordinary.
She read of his life, his teachings, his friends, his enemies, and she began to know who the other people believed in. It was the teacher’s father. And she began to believe in him, too.
Then she read of the teacher’s death–a horrible death, nailed to some scrap wood. She cried for what seemed like three days. Teardrops stained what was becoming her favorite book.
When she felt like reading again, she read of something wonderful. People who went to visit the teacher’s grave found it empty. And what’s more, they saw him alive! This was the greatest news. One that not only taught love, but was himself pure love, had died and was risen.
All at once, her heart was full and overflowing with the love she had rejected. And one by one, the pieces and parts of her that had been cut off were healed. She was whole. Somehow this love she felt had healed her and made her whole. And even though she didn’t have her missing half, she knew she would never be alone again.
With excitement, she ran to the bookstore. “Thank you,” she cried to the little man. “Thank you.”
“I knew you would love it. Didn’t I tell you it would change your life?” he stated with glee. And with that, he closed the store, and they talked about the book for the rest of the afternoon.
The girl began to spend much time in the man’s store. But she also began to be with other people. She realized that even though they may have been crooks and willing to hurt her, they hurt, too. They also needed to know about the teacher and his great love.
People began to see a change in the girl. She was no longer the cold, miserable, ordinary girl they had known. Instead, they saw a beautiful, loving, and quite extraordinary young lady.
One day, when the girl went to visit the man, he had a visitor. A boy, young, handsome, and very extraordinary. She could tell when she entered the bookstore that he was special.
“There you are!” said the little man. “I have someone I want you to meet. This is my brother. Well, my adopted brother. And this is my friend. She has also discovered the secret of the book our father wrote, and has been telling others.”
“Good,” said the boy. “We need more committed people.”
They talked about the book, the teacher, and the people in need for the rest of the afternoon. And when the man closed his shop, they began to talk about life. And when the little man went home to bed, the boy and girl began to talk about love. And by the time the sun had risen to greet them, they had talked of dreams, ideas, and goals.
The ordinary girl who loved until it hurt and the adopted ordinary boy talked about an ordinary looking book and an ordinary looking man and began to understand. As they talked, they both realized that they ordinary man was the teacher, and that they had learned of his love for them. They realized they had been adopted by God on high. And they realized that his love changed them from an ordinary girl and an ordinary boy into people that loved and showed God’s love. And together, this extraordinary girl and extraordinary boy told the world of the teacher’s extraordinary love.
And neither was lonely again.
©1997 by Melinda Hollis. Reprints by permission only.