The Adventure Continues

by Larissa

“I’m your knight in shining armor!” His exuberant voice rang into my ear, pulling my attention away from locating a pair of scissors and down onto his tiny yet lanky body. He was grinning from ear to ear with his arms stretched out wide, inviting me to bask in his brilliance. I ransacked my brain trying to remember what might have triggered the outburst.

When it donned on me, a grin all my own spread across my face.  Nearly half an hour earlier I had been attempting to stir him on to begin his work.  And frankly, the ‘you can do it’ speech wasn’t cutting it. So, why not spice up the dialogue with some action? Why not make it an adventure! Children are supposed to have big imaginations, right? Slaying a dragon is generally a lot cooler than finishing your math facts… However, comparing his math to a fire-breathing monster didn’t sound like the most tactful approach.

Think, Larissa, think. What else always got the heroes to put themselves in the heat of battle, or in his case, to pick up his pencil? What great cause could my young friend fight for?

He could rescue a damsel in distress! So, all we needed was a damsel. I glanced around the room and realized I was probably the best candidate for that role. Getting into character without much effort (I was getting desperate) I asked him if he wanted to be my knight in shining armor. His eyes bugged out and his fidgeting temporarily ceased. He nodded rapidly and his excitement was notable.  Pleasantly surprised at how well this was going, I explained to him that to save the day he had to complete his duties without delay. Once he completed his ‘quest’, he would receive a special reward:  a big, thankful hug.

Within a few minutes I was swept away from him and involved with the hustle and bustle of incoming kids completely forgetting our conversation. That is, until my knight presented himself later. In that moment, he had stood before me as a conqueror awaiting his reward. Pure joy coursed through me to see him like that. I bent down, smiling wildly, and stretched my arms out to match his.

In the Peace Program, our rooms are filled with young adventurers. We have warriors, knights, heroes, princesses, and even cackling caterpillars. You might not see it when you first walk in, in the same way my friend couldn’t see the adventure in his homework. There comes a point when childhood illusions and dreams start to dull as ‘reality’ drags us into the lull of routine. We begin to believe that are greatest task is to get through each day without a major meltdown.  Get in, get out. Live, die. Eat, drink.

The young, fragile vessels that I see while I’m in #20 illustrate the fullness of life.  They each have their own story, their own character, and their own individual role.  And it is utterly captivating. To watch flowers slowly unfold and the roots of mighty oaks push through the soil. To watch them step into new chapters and new grace. How can you not lose your breath at the brilliance of creation? Of redemption? Of purity?

Each new day at the Peace Program is an adventure. For the children and for the volunteers. Every time I’m there I’m given an opportunity to witness the approaching culmination of the Story. I catch glimpses of what Heaven must look like when all the ‘more than conquerors’ receive their crowns of glory. And I remember there is One coming on the clouds and who will not delay. The One who defeated the grave and is now interceding on our behalves until we receive our eternal reward.   The True Knight in Shining Armor.

 

Every story, great or small, shares the same essential structure because every story we tell borrows its power from a Larger Story, a Story woven into the fabric of our being…All of these stories borrow from the Story. From Reality.  We hear echoes of it through our lives. Some are written on our hearts.  A great battle to fight, and someone to fight for us.  An adventure, something that requires everything we have, something to be share with those we love and need.”

                                                                                                                                (John Eldredge, Epic)

 

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