Dr. Suess speaks to me. All his alliteration and rhyming words settle deep in my soul.
A few days ago I picked up one of his books at the store and decided to save it for the perfect moment. Amazingly, I found that moment was while waiting for Caroline and Jonathan’s passports. What I didn’t realize was the deep layered meaning of the book that I had chosen. As a matter of fact, I teared up several times thinking about the different meanings behind each phrase. Seriously Jenni? Seuss? Yes…Seuss!
The book: Oh, The Places You’ll Go.
If you haven’t read it for a while, a quick review is that this particular book is often gifted to high school graduates speaking simple truths about the journey of their lives, detailing the things they will see and places they will go. But of course from word one I found irony in the fact that the two little listeners with me were waiting to receive passports–awaiting the opportunity to see many incredible new places…moving them a step closer to the places they will go! I could have stopped right there content for the powerful messages my children received as we read.
But I was actually struck by how it appeared that this book was practically written for ME and the crazy journey our family was on!
“You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights…
Except when you don’t. Because, sometimes, you won’t. I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang ups can happen to you. You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in the Lurch.
You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump. And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done. You’ll come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win? And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…or right and three quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.”
I love the honesty of Seuss as early on he explains to his audience from toddlers to teens that life is not easy and will not be perfect. You will hit hang ups and bang ups and such. And there are many options, many paths to follow. Choices about our future and moving through the difficult places are tough!
“You can get so confused that you’ll start to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The WAITING PLACE.
For people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go, or the mail to come, or the rain to go, or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow, or waiting around for a Yes or a No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting. Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for the Uncle Jake, or a pot to boil, or a Better Break, or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants, or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.
NO! That’s not for you! Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where the Boom Bands are playing.”
When I got to this part of the book I stopped wondering if Dr. Seuss had known our particular story and circumstance and was sending a message in a children’s book to encourage me?! I remembered I had a sweet heavenly Father who loved me enough to lift his daughter on to His lap and whisper…”I have a story to bring you hope.” I am living in the WAITING place. But what great promises to know that it is not forever. He has an escape route ready…and bright places are waiting ahead.
I paused for a moment to marvel at how thoughtful God was to minister to me in those moments in the tight spaces on the uncomfortable benches under a strange tent and under the watchful eye of others…many not sure what to do with me and my children quietly reading this book.
But it didn’t stop there…
The next few pages talk about the games you will play with friends and about winning and the reader being the winningest winner of all–then it reads:
“Except when they don’t. Because sometimes they won’t. I am afraid some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ’cause you’ll play against you. All Alone! Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot. And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on. But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.”
I have hit some lonely places on this road and I must prepare for many more lonely places along the journey. I can see that facing both my fears and hitting problems head on is quite often best.
“Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot from your left…
…you’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So get on your way!”
The timing of this book reading was no coincidence. I literally felt as if God was trying to whisper loving messages to me. Messages of truth, hope, and humor. Keep on trekking. One foot in front of the other. It is normal to be discouraged or get stuck waiting. It’s normal to be lonely, scared, or in the presence of your biggest problems and enemies. What I love was the strongest message kept repeating over and over throughout: keep going…you will get to your final destination simply put on foot in front of the other! And that is what we continue to do day in and out.
But the best news is that He is not only in the business of walking with us on our journey, He is in the business of moving mountains!
May You Be a Blessing and May You See Him in All You Do…