(Update, May 8: I did email my friend and got such a nice response! Re-reading a good book and re-connecting with old friends…it’s been such a great week!)
When I was still a kid, maybe about 10 or 11, an older friend from my church gave me a book that she thought I’d enjoy. It was The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. I’m re-reading it now for the 6th (7th, 8th?) time. (Just looking up the link above, I learned that her amazing house/watchshop, where they hid and saved many lives, is now a museum that you can tour! I want to go!)
The story is about Ms. Ten Boom’s amazing family in Holland as they devote their lives to saving Jewish lives during WW2. Their home became the headquarters of their local resistance against the Nazis. It’s really incredible how their faith grew and sustained their commitment to continue to doing what’s right, even when they were forced into concentration camps.
Her father and sister Betsie especially show an unwavering faith in God. I really love her father’s patient, kind, and loving style of parenting. The answer he gives little Corrie in one chapter stood out to me. At first glance, it seems like the typical “You’ll understand when you’re older” reply that many adults give children, but the way he expresses it and the physical/visual example that he gives her is just so lovely that I can absolutely imagine most kids accepting this and also feeling like they are being treated with respect.
On one of their weekly train rides, Corrie asks her dad what “sexsin,” a word she read in a poem, means. Here is his response to her:
“He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.
‘Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?’ he said.
I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchases this morning.
‘It’s too heavy,’ I said.
‘Yes,’ he said. ‘And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust to me to carry it for you.’
And I was satisfied. More than satisfied– wonderfully at peace. There were answers to this and all my hard questions– for now I was content to leave them in my father’s keeping.”
– Chapter 2: Full Table, The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom
I’m so happy to be reading this again. I’m going to send an email to the friend who gave me the book (she is a missionary who has been living in China for…15+years?) to thank her. I have a feeling she noticed how introverted and shy I was at church and loved reading, so this was a way of reaching out to me.
It’s funny how small gestures that adults make to kids can impact them, eh?
And it’s just great how satisfying re-reading books can be- I totally agree with the cliche that they’re “like old friends,” because they really are! And you appreciate and discover new things with each read (well, if it’s a well-written, good book, that is!). And of course (sort of related to that), one of the ways to encourage a love of reading in your children is to let them see you enjoying a book!
What are your favourite re-reads?