A girl was moved to different foster care and detention facilities and always found ways to escape. Until she escaped each time, she learned a little about reading and writing, but didn’t understand the point of all the words in most of the books she struggled through.
After lying yet again in a counseling session, the girl took her assignment home as directed. She was expected to read a children’s fantasy book about a dragon and talk about it the next week. Staring at the drawings, the girl was mesmerized. She identified with the mythical creature and was fascinated. She began reading any book on dragons she could find. After that she carried a small dragon with her at all times and wrote poems and stories that detailed an imaginary life with her very own dragon.
A foster parent submitted one of her stories in a competition and was surprised when the girl’s story won. Her story was purchased by a publisher and even made into a low-budget cartoon. The money made by the story was helpful to the family, and gave the girl a much needed confidence boost. She agreed to really try counseling to deal with her past and made great progress. Seeing promise in the girl, her foster parents took a risk and adopted her, with certain agreements on behavior.
The girl’s agent worked to have a series made from her story, and hired a tutor to assist her and improve her skills. For most of the time, the girl was diligent and determined, but occasionally still disappeared as she had before she was adopted. She had found a hidden ‘cave’ of sorts, and believed she was most at peace when she was holed up in her cave for a day or two. When she returned, she had a mind full of new ideas and adventures for her dragon and so everyone adjusted to this strange behavior after a few repeated events.
On one occasion the girl discovered that a back entrance to her cave led into the sewer system. Not thinking of any danger, she immediately set off to explore the new area for herself and use it for her stories. Wandering in dark and unfamiliar pipes, she slipped and fell several stories into moving water. She was found unconscious and rushed to the hospital. After several weeks of tests, treatment, and close calls; she was finally allowed to return home with her parents.
The girl’s lungs had been severely damaged, and she required oxygen at all times. Her movement was restricted, and she was often too weak to stand without assistance. Months went by with the girl bravely fighting to maintain her sense of independence and identity. Her stories continued after a time, but each required much more effort than it ever had before. Watching with concern, the girl’s parents wondered if the physical strain was worth it all and suggested that perhaps one story was enough. The girl hugged her tiny stuffed dragon to her and refused to stop. She loved the stories, she explained, now more than ever.
After special education courses, the girl was given a trans tracheal tube for several reasons. Each system tried before had been prohibitive, but the new system meant more mobility for her. Thrilled to have the new device, the girl felt she had been given freedom itself. She planned and then executed her next escape to the cave, only to find that her parents had expected this. She heard them enter and stared up at them, then pointed to the extra ‘couch’ she had always considered her dragon’s. She was secretly relieved to see them. Her oxygen canister had failed momentarily, and she had realized she could never again be alone safely.
—————Thoughts that motivated this story—————
In this story I wanted to reflect on dependence.
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
In Matthew 4:4 we read Jesus response to Satan’s temptation when He was very hungry. I think the response is also talking about general dependence and need. I am so far removed from the effort and process involved in the preparation of food that for me, making home-made bread is a treat and not a necessity. It’s actually more expensive to make bread, so I’m dependent on others to make and deliver it to the store. Living in the time of the Israelites in Egypt, things may have been quite different, but as they left Egypt they also had to depend on some other for bread. In Deut 8:3 Moses reminds the Israelites of the fact that God knew about their hunger, and even allowed them to hunger. Once they were hungry God met their need with manna.
I understand manna means ‘what is it?’. So what was ‘what is it’ really? It was an answer to their human needs and a display of the Lord’s power. Our needs can sometimes seem so big; but with just a word from the Lord they were fed for forty years. As I was thinking about this, I came across a question. Did they do anything to earn that manna or that favor? Maybe you could say they were born special but did they live up to any sort of birthright by being from Abraham’s family? No, in fact they were a disappointment and complained all the time. Dependence on God is not new, but it is something that all must discover.
Jesus met the hunger and temptation with the reminder that we live every day and every minute by the word of the Lord. I believe that dependence, whether recognized or not, leads us we seek meaning or purpose. Because we can’t control what will happen to us or decide when to stop breathing; we want to have a say in our actions and define our value somehow in that, whether we are rebels or saints. It is contrary to our reasoning, but just like the Israelites our meaning is found in relationship with God, not in our actions. As the Israelites, I can’t claim I live up to any birthright, or deserve anything good; but I can boldly claim that my Savior did it for me.