...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Charlie's Monument and Me

When I was growing up, my mother used to buy us books and stories on tape (that's right, you remember tapes from the good old days).  I'm not sure if she was trying to get rid of us or what (just kidding, Mom), but I used to spend HOURS in my bedroom listening to the voices of Abbot and Costello, Bill Cosby and a host of old radio show like Amos and Andy and Dragnet.  I also grew to love "The Great Brain" stories and "War of the Worlds" among others.

My very favorite tape of all time was a wonderful little book called "Charlie's Monument" by Blaine Yorgason.  If you haven't read it, you really should.  To this day it is still one of my favorite books ever.

This is the story of a boy born with severe deformities and the way he copes with life through many tragic circumstances.  It is a powerful story; I honestly love it.

On top of being a good tale, it is was also a heady teacher to a young girl still developing her sense of personal-being and self-worth.  I don't know exactly how much of my character was shaped by listening to the fictional history of a man named Charlie that was published before I was even born, but some piece of who I am came from frequent perusal of that particular tape.  I learned to try to control my attitude no matter what is happening around me (which I am still working on) and that you can get through anything and be a success if you never ever give up...among other things.

The preface to "Charlie's Monument" is another lovely little piece of writing that speaks to me and has since I was small and it sets the stage perfectly for the story that follows.  This is what it says:

Before He sent His children to earth
Gave each of them
A very carefully selected package
Of problems.

He Promised, smiling,
Are yours alone.  No one
Else may have the blessing
These Problems will bring you.

And only you
Have the special talents and abilities
That will be needed
To make these problems
Your servants.

Now go down to your birth
And to your forgetfulness.  Know that
I love you beyond measure.
These problems that I give you
Are a symbol of that lave.

The monument you make of your life
With the help of your problems your
Will be a symbol of your
Love for me.
Your Father
-Blaine M. Yorgason
This poetic snippet was a commanding bit of literature for me.  I connected with it.  I cannot say I have always seen trials and struggles as precious gifts (just like everyone else, I do my fair share of whining), but I have always felt like the way I handled myself as I work to overcome those trials is a testament to my Father of the person I am working to become.

Mostly I just love the sentiment in this piece.  I love the idea that every day through my choices I am building something and that one day I will look back at what I have made and be grateful for the hardships that made it possible.  Every chip, every mark will be an event or moment that I blatantly remember and that made my life, my monument, unique and sculpted me into the person I've chosen to become.

Our monuments will all be different, but I imagine they will be amazing.  I can't wait to see how we turn out.

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