Chore 1. Face the consequences.
So this is it. The proof of the pudding. Even when you don’t eat. Or like pudding. So Sheebo went on this trip. The destination did not matter all that much, nor the trip itself, for this story is about a book only. And of course it is never about one-thing-only, you can just trick your mind into thinking that way.
So. A book. A gift. A chore. A test. It came to Sheebo on the Airport. At first glance it was just a book. But something never is ‘just something’. Sometimes -or actually everytimes- you wonder what would have happened to everything in your life if you hadn’t looked to the right, right that second. If he had looked straight ahead, to look for signs indicating Gate D, he wouldn’t have seen the bookstore, nor the book.
Sheebo likes to read. He reads all kinds of stuff. He reads black letters printed on white paper. He reads when sitting in the sun. He reads while tasting vanilla curd. He reads about sheep preferably. With the blinds closed preferably. And he likes to read together with us. With Potamotrygorgeous preferably. So now we were faced with this book we picked up at the Airport. Everything about it seemed just right. The cover. It had the picture of a sheep. The author. It said Jésus. The title. It was called The Flight.
Although our flock is sheep, they don’t follow a herd ‘just because’. The words on the back of the book did not influence the decision to buy the book. One look at the sheepy cover was enough. It was only on the plane that we read the back cover. It was almost as if golden shade introduced the reviews and we glanced over words like exceptional debut, masterly written, rich in prose and hyper realism, mythical, worlds’ best literature, a slashing emotional ‘tour de force‘.. Did we get the jackpot here, find the holy grail, or was it ‘just a book’?
Sheebo was not impressed, though. Sheebo is not impressed with words. Because words are just that. You can say you will do something. But if you don’t do it, what is the meaning of the words? And who are you with your words then, because if you die, your mouth is shut and nobody will ever hear the words again, and you fade. But if you have put your ‘will do’ into action, then that will gets noticed. And it will be preserved somehow.
Same goes for love. Love is born in action, not written down only in ink, or uttered from a tongue. Funny thing is that hate somehow does not need behavior to prove its existence or to be really felt, but that is beside the book, the story and the point.
The book then. Sheebo is all for character development. Everybody -except for Jesus of course- comes from a seed. The thing is, do you want to grow into something you are meant to be, or do you want to be hidden dead in the ground? Sheebo knew he wanted to grow, sprout, develop. And he put that into action too. So he picked up this book to read, he was sure there would be something in the book that was necessary for him to learn, because three clues are hard to miss. Sheep. Flight. Jésus.
Read it to me, Potamotrygorgeous, he asked. We know this because his intonation went upwards at the end, even though the grammar of the sentence would indicate a command if you had purely read it. But he didn’t command. He asked.
Read it to me. With me.
And so we did. And while reading the first page, we started to wrestle with the words. Ever went to a restaurant and had that first bite wherein you immediately tasted something being off? Or experienced the opposite of love at first sight? Or the automatic jerking of a knee when your GP hits you with that hammer? That is what we had with this book.
Sheebo felt it to, he had the shortest sound for it. No. This book is a no. The words are off, the tone is off, the word order is off, the analogies are so off that they don’t even fall on the opposite of the on-spectrum. It is like comparing apples with curtains. Or intention with amnesia. A receding hairline with acid. A Texas accent with.. sheep.
But we must keep reading, Sheebo said to us.
Yes, we must keep reading, we said to Sheebo.
And so we kept reading. In order to minimize the damage we decided to read only one chapter per evening. We only hoped it would not affect our sleep or our dreams. It was the second worst choice we could have made, because otherwise it would have affected our day, and while asleep at least we would think it was just a dream.
This is not a book any more, Sheebo said. This is a chore!
And we agreed. We decided something else after the strict read one chapter per evening thing. We decided we would finish the book. Because we are character builders.
We took turns. Sheebo read to us. And we read to him. After 88 pages we decided this was not a book, nor a chore.
This was a test. An answer to a prayer, perhaps not to the author of this book per se, but to another Jesus for sure. We prayed for meekness. For humility. Please humble us. Please take all the leaven out of our home-made bread and make us less puffed up.
This book was about us, in a way. Because it was in every way imaginable NOT US. So we had opportunity to grow.
Let’s read it from the point of view of the writer, Sheebo said.
Let’s read it from the point of view from the young boy in the book, we added.
Let’s just read it and withhold judgement, we both said.
We both agreed.
And suddenly the book changed. It was not because page 88 continued into page 89, but because we saw how this author was a different writer than we wanted him to be, and how that is perfectly okay. And how this writer had a predictable style, it was almost admirable how someone could keep surprising us with his bad writing. And so it happened that bad turned into surprise, the same way his analogies also did not make sense.
And then this weird thing happened. Someone contacted us. She knew we had the book. She wanted to buy it from us.
And there it was.. The book, first a gift, turned chore, turned task, turned into something that we protected.
Sheebo uttered his shortest answer again. No. No, we will not sell you this book. Not until the book is finished with us, teaching us to be humble.
Continue reading, Sheebo said.
This time it was not a question.