The Book of Magic

Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved a book.  It was a huge book with so many stories of magic and anger and myth and villains and saints and gods, deeds of compassion and deeds of power.  Her family would read this book every night and the four of them would be held together by their love of this book and of the being that empowered it.  Their lives were made marvelous by the marvel of this book.

As time passed, she found that life was so much more and so much less than her book made it. She felt that she had gained all that she needed from the book, but now she had to learn so much else and there were so many other books and people and myths that seemed so much more powerful than the childish book she grew up on.

Her family stayed with the book and called upon the spirit of the book to restore her to her childish faith.  When she was home, she wanted to explain to them the new myths, the new paths, the new people she was learning about.  They sat down with her and explained gently, “Each of those ways you are exploring have their own demon, waiting to consume you.  We cannot stop you, but we implore you, return to the path we laid before you as a child. Only a life by the book is truth and safety.”

She was infuriated by their statement that all the new she had experienced was evil.  She grabbed her book, stormed out of the house, slammed the door, lit a fire in front of her family’s house and burned the book with her family watching, tears falling from their eyes.

Two decades later, the girl had experienced so many things.  Some powerful, some hurtful.  Some encouraging, some destructive.  But all these new experiences made her who she was and all she understood.  One day, she was walking down a strangely familiar path and found a group of four people huddled around a book.

“What is that book?” she asked.

“Look and see,” they exclaimed with wide-eyed wonder.

And, lo, it was the very book that she was raised on.  “Oh no,” she said as she held out her hands in defense, “I know that book too well.  It is a book that tells me that I and all I love are evil.”

They looked at her with astonishment, “That is not the book we read at all.”  And they read her the book.  To her amazement, she remembered that what she learned from the book was compassion and mercy and harmony and welcome.  She heard nothing of demons around every corner, waiting to consume her, nothing of evil at her very core.  In hearing the book again, with a new mind, she found joy again.

And so she gathered with these others and read the book again and the spirit of the book, the spirit of compassionate action, welled up inside of her, just as it had when she was a little girl. 

Steve Kimes