I spent two years writing my story of a man’s search for truth, published in August as Gaspar, Another Tale of the Christ. If someone told me, “You have never had an original idea,” I would agree with her. Ideas are like stories and songs and paintings … they have always existed. They float around somewhere waiting for people to pull the thoughts together that already exist and to share them with other people in words, notes and paint.
I love books. One year ago, my friend Father Charlie asked me if I would do the book purchasing at the Redemptorist Renewal Center’s bookstore. I answered with an enthusiastic ‘Yes!’ The only thing I can think of that is better than being surrounded by books is to be surrounded by puppies.
I have introduced some new books into the Children’s shelf. Traditionally, it was stocked with books about Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Saints and Bible stories. That is good. Still, I believe God inspires writers to tell stories to children beyond ‘Bible’ stories, stories that are easy to read that carry valuable lessons for young people. With that thought in mind, we’ve expanded the Children’s shelf to include other spiritual books like God’s Dream by Desmond Tutu, The Tiny King by Taro Miura and The Three Questions by John Muth. They have sold well.
My idea to include books like this was validated this morning as I read Franciscan Father Richard Rohr’s summary of his weekly meditations. Fra Rohr by the way is the most popular author in the bookstore. We sell more Rohr books that any other author and by a significant margin.
One of the books on our children’s shelf is Old Turtle by Douglas Wood. Mr. Wood followed with a sequel titled Old Turtle and the Broken Truth. Fra Rohr uses the story this morning to sum up his weeklong message on ‘Oneing,’ God’s plan to create unity out of multiplicity. His summary of the Old Turtle story is so perfect, I’ve decided to pass it on. I know you will enjoy it as much as I do. I hope it encourages you to purchase this beautiful book for someone you love.
Rest: The Broken Truth by Father Richard Rohr, OFM
A wonderful children’s book, Old Turtle and the Broken Truth, written by Douglas Wood with watercolor illustrations by Jon J. Muth, tells an imaginary story of how the world came to be so fragmented when it is meant to be whole and how we might put it back together again.
In a far-away land that “is somehow not so far away,” one night a truth falls from the stars. And as it falls, it breaks into two pieces—one piece blazes off through the sky and the other falls straight to the ground. One day a man stumbles upon the gravity-drawn truth and finds carved on it the words, “You are loved.” It makes him feel good, so he keeps it and shares it with the people in his tribe. The thing sparkles and makes the people who have it feel warm and happy. It becomes their most prized possession, and they call it “The Truth.” Those who have the truth grow afraid of those who don’t have it, who are different than they are. And those who don’t have it covet it. Soon people are fighting wars over the small truth, trying to capture it for themselves.
A little girl who is troubled by the growing violence, greed, and destruction in her once peaceful world goes on a journey—through the Mountains of Imagining, the River of Wondering Why, and the Forest of Finding Out—to speak with Old Turtle, the wise counselor. Old Turtle tells her that the Truth is broken and missing a piece, a piece that shot off in the night sky so long ago. Together they search for it, and when they find it the little girl puts the jagged piece in her pocket and returns to her people. She tries to explain, but no one will listen or understand. Finally a raven flies the broken truth to the top of a tower where the other piece has been ensconced for safety, and the rejoined pieces shine their full message: “You are loved / and so are they.” And the people begin to comprehend. And the earth begins to heal.