The last time I visited my seven year-old grand daughter Madeline, she dragged me into her room, as usual, so we could swap secrets. She pulled out a little photo album I had given her with excerpts from my (then) unfinished book, The Magic Barn.
“I take this out all the time and look at it,’ she said, stroking the album as if…as if it was actually very valuable. “You do?” I asked incredulously. The raggedy little album didn’t look that great to me, not as handsome as the finished book, certainly.
“Oh, yes,” she answered. “I read these words you wrote.” The words were wishing her a happy birthday and telling her how glad I was that she was born. Then she made me read each story to her, stories from my own naughty childhood. “Am I boring her?” I wondered.
“Read me the one about the creepy root cellar,’ then “read me the one about the snapping turtle.”
She has a copy of the finished book, but she loves the raggedy little handmade album best. I admit, I made it with love-and I guess that makes all the difference.
And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart,
even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection,
even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy,
even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.