My good friend Patty just started a blog, “Stark Raving Mythopath, Musings about Myth and Meaning and Everyday Mysteries.” (http://www.mythopath.blogspot.com) Don’t you just love that title? Her first post, “Magic Beans,” is as tasty as a bowl of my mother’s bean soup on a brisk autumn day. A handful of magic beans: Plant them. Water them. Wait for them. And when they grow stupendously high, all the way up to the sky, ask yourself this question: “Will you be brave enough to climb? Or crazy enough?”
Patty continues, “So begins a story. And so begins every story. With a choice. Even a really bad, how-could-I-be-so-dumb choice. Our choices take us places we never dreamed of going. Who knew that beans could sprout a stairway to the stars?”
In prayer this morning, I pictured God holding out his hands to me. “Here, Kathy,” he said. “Magic beans, just for you!” And he opened his hands and let the beans fall, with a soft clicking sound, into mine. Then he disappeared, leaving me with a handful of beans and a fluttery feeling in my stomach.
I saw myself planting the beans in fertile ground, behind the barn, right here at Cloudland. I pictured myself watering them, feeding them with Miracle-Gro, waiting for them to sprout. I saw myself waking up one morning. I walked out the door, ignored the tormented sounds of the hungry cat, and hurried around the barn, expecting to see perhaps a few measly sprouts poking their heads above bare ground.
Instead, I was confronted by a row of bean stalks, greenly gargantuan, climbing, like Jacob’s ladder, to the heavens.
As I sat with the image of mile-high bean stalks, I realized that this is where the story-within-a-story of my life begins. Here, today, at Cloudland. What will I choose this day? Will I choose life, or will I choose death? Will I run away from these monster-sized beanstalks, afraid of the power they represent? Will I chop them down in a frenzy of fear? (They are, evidently, a genetically altered species, and I avoid genetically modified food whenever possible!) Will I brag about their superpowers to my friends, while I spend most of my time in the house, afraid I might give in and start climbing?
Or do I take a deep breath, hike up my jeans, and hoist myself up, praying for God to help me overcome my fear of heights?
God has given me a handful of magic beans. I’ve planted them here at Cloudland. And I’m committing myself to climbing up those stalks, no matter their height. What I’ll find at the top is still a mystery. But that’s okay. Like my friend Patty, I enjoy a good mystery at bedtime. As Sherlock Holmes would say, “The game is afoot.” Anyone want to join me?