Recently, I excitedly went to Barnes and Noble and chose a few new books for my 4 year old daughter. This is not a rare occurrence and is not what made this particular trip so exciting. This trip and these books were special because they are the next step up in my daughters reading/learning. I bought her books that have no pictures, just words, words glorious words. My daughter is in preschool and by no means knows how to read to herself, but since she was a baby, her father and I have been reading to her, our voices sounding out the rhyming patterns while we pointed at the pictures, letting her imagination fill in the blanks. After a few years of reading very simple stories with lots of pictures, I started integrating more complex stories with less pictures until finally we arrived at the day where I was looking for an even more complex story with no pictures. One thing that I love about the children's book world is that they have helped me greatly with this transition. There are many different versions of the greatest classic books, such as "The Secret Garden, The Wizard Of Oz, Little Women," etc. They start at a very simplified version of the story for the youngest readers and then there is a graduated version of the story for the more advanced reader. This goes on until the reader is finally able to comprehend the original book in all of its mature complexity.
I know that it would do no good to begin at the end with my daughter. She would have listened, perhaps, for a bit, but would have quickly lost interest because she was unable to process or understand the language of the original books. She would not have been able to track with the 500 pages of the original "Little Women," but she could wrap her brain around the 20 paged, many pictured simplified version. Then, as her brain learned to process the style of writing and storytelling and began to grow in comprehension, I could move up to the next stage, the 112 pages and sporadically pictured version of "Little Women." Once again I would watch her comprehension grow and see her leaning into the greater story.
What is great to me about this process is that my daughter has never looked at the learning process and kicked against it. She has never thrown down the new book and reached back for the old one. She desires to learn, to grow, to comprehend and with this desire comes a faster understanding. I had a revelation recently about something in my life that I feel like I am in the process of learning again, trust. I could've sworn that this was a lesson that I had already gone through and passed (if only mediocrely). Couldn't I move on to something else like learning how to deal with being really successful or super financially stable? Ugh. Trust. Again. Here is what I've figured out though. This time the teaching in new. This time the story is more complex and there is less obvious direction. I am having to lean in and commit more fully to the learning or else I get lost and distracted. I feel like Christ, the great storyteller, has been teaching me throughout my whole life. He has brought out the simplest books telling the story of trust and when he saw my understanding, He put that book away and brought out the next one; the one that is more challenging, that will stretch me again to learn and grow. Then once again, that book gets taken away and a newer, thicker, far more complex book comes out and I am re-learning about trust again, in even greater detail.
The difference between my daughter and myself is that eventually she will arrive at the level of learning that she needs in order to be able to read and comprehend the original, 500 page "Little Women" and even be able to move on to other, more advanced books, but with me, I wonder if there will ever be a final book on trust in my lifetime. Who knows, but I am taking a lesson from my daughter and I am not going to kick against the new story. I am not going to be grabbing after the simpler version. I am going to lean into the greater story.
Trust, version 10. Here we go.