(The following is fact, not fiction. The name I have chosen for myself is a pseudonym.)
Oh, my dear friends and family, I never suspected when I sent out my whimsical e-mail that your responses would reflect so much of God’s beauty, creativity, compassion and love. I am humbled to call you my family and friends.
I wrote: Many of you know that I have joined an on-line group of writers that is fed one word a week to write on (150-750 words). This week’s word is “flat.” There is an activity, based on a children’s book of the 1960’s titled FLAT STANLEY that many schools use as a educational tool. A child sends a photo of himself or herself to relatives and friends, and asks that the photo be taken to interesting places and photographed there. I will not send you a picture, nor ask you to take any photos, but I do have a question. IF I were to send a “Flat Annabelle” to you, 1) where would you take me first, and 2) why?
Oh, my family and friends, I promised that your replies would remain anonymous, and they will. But now I know that you too must share in the beauty. Are you ready?
The boys, of course, would take me to their deer stand so Flat Annabelle could “experience the woods.”
EW offered to take Flat Annabelle to Florida on her next business trip “so we could lie on the beach and soak in the sun together.”
WL invited Flat Annabelle to the Maine mountains to “ski, snowshoe and make Snow Angels” with her.
PH invited Flat Annabelle into her living room to play “Joyous Music with a nice rhythm and a little speed in it” on a golden harp.
LL would take Flat Annabelle “out to my backyard garden. It’s all covered with frost cloth, making the inside a verdant greenhouse world that is a special place to be. It almost seems like a fairy land.”
KH hinted that Flat Annabelle might go to a hidden waterfall in Hawaii that is a “quiet and tranquil place for her to think, pray and enjoy God’s spectaculars: macadamia, banana and bamboo trees, flowing lava and powerful waters.”
KB suggested that Flat Annabelle might accompany her to Tuticorin, India. “Southern India was evangelized by the Portuguese Jesuits. The people there take their faith seriously.”
EF would put Flat Annabelle in her backpack as she hikes the Camino de Compostela, an ancient Christian pilgrimage route in Spain. “You would not take up much room, and you would be spiritually encouraging. ... Then we could talk about where our next adventure might take us ... this time I will be flat and you can do the walking!”
LS would place Flat Annabelle in Maipu, Chile. “I would show you the beautiful people there who are very poor. I would show you the newborn babies who are left alone all day so the mothers can work. I would have you pray for these people and know our Lord heard your prayer.”
LD would use Flat Annabelle as a bookmark as she passes from friend to friend a delightful book about Mary, Jesus’ mother, titled OUR LADY OF THE LOST AND FOUND. That way, “you will be Lost and then Found, and then Lost and then Found, and then ... into the world without end.”
MG said simply she would take Flat Annabelle to a “celestial realm where one’s heart-expression can be made perfect and beautiful for the Divine One.”
Finally, from the sublime words of MG, to the tickling irreverence in the words of JD. JD would take Flat Annabelle to three places. First to the Foundation Department of Nordstrom to get her the best push-up unmentionable. Second to a candy shop to eat a huge box of Chocolate Nut Mallow. And third to Ms. Yes-U-Can, a voice coach who will teach Flat Annabelle to sing “in a crescendo of perfect pitch clarity” (“Goodbye Flat Annabelle”).
In the original FLAT STANLEY book, Stanley’s brother Arthur restores him to fullness of life with the help of a bicycle pump. You, my friends and family, have breathed into me indescribable joy and thanksgiving, and tears and laughter, with your words. I am definitely no longer flat! I thank you with all my heart.
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