Last fall, I did some substitute teaching while I looked for a full-time job. One day I was working at a school in the north part of the city. It was a beautiful fall day, and I had an abnormally long lunch break, so I decided to take a walk. I knew I was close to a trail that cuts through a large portion of the city, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to get there. So I started walking east, cutting through side streets as necessary.
A few years ago, when I was having a particularly rough time, a friend of mine — who has often seemed more like a guide — spoke to me in a parable. Come to think of it, he didn’t actually tell me the parable; he simply suggested that I might benefit from tracking down and reading some of C.S. Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I set out to find the book at a library. Upon finding the book, I glanced through it until I found the part during which one of the book’s main characters — a boy named Eustace — wandered off from his siblings. Alone, he encountered a dying dragon. He got a thrill out of seeing how close he could get to the dragon, even touching it. He had, after all, “read only the wrong books.” As such, he drank from the dragon’s pool of water; he played with the dragon’s treasure, and he tried on the dragon’s jewelry. Eventually, he fell asleep in the dragon’s cave.
Madeleine L’Engle wrote a wonderful book called Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. Reading it made me wonder why it took me so long to read it; it was one of those works in which I just wanted to underline every other line and cherish it, memorize it, and apply it to my life. I had read L’Engle before, but only once: as a fifth grader, when my class read A Wrinkle in Time. I don’t remember much from it, but I do recall it possessing a certain depth.