my very favorite children’s book is a story called the miraculous journey of edward tulane by kate dicamillo. it is a story of a rabbit doll who was very prideful in the beginning and did not know what love was, but through his life is owned and loved well by a series of owners and learns what it means to love. the end of the story is my favorite part. if you plan to read the book, i am about to spoil a lot of it, so skip ahead a bit. edward’s story has taken a tragic turn as the girl who most recently owned and loved him dies of an illness and edward’s head is smashed. he has lost all sense of pride as he has been destroyed, but the girl’s brother takes edward to be mended in a doll shop. the boy unfortunately has to leave him there to be sold by the shop owner. edward ends up sitting on the shelf in this doll shop for many months, watching the other dolls be bought by adoring little girls and their mothers. after a while, the story says, “He prided himself on not hoping, on not allowing his heart to lift inside of him. He prided himself on keeping his heart silent, immobile, closed tight. I am done with hope, thought Edward Tulane.”
of course, the story does not end there. a very old and damaged doll is placed on the shelf next to edward and they talk.
The old doll said, ‘I wonder who will come for me this time. Someone will come. Someone always comes. Who will it be?’
‘I don’t care if anyone comes for me,’ said Edward.
‘But that’s dreadful,’ said the old doll. ‘There’s no point in going on if you feel that way. No point at all. You must be filled with expectancy. You must be awash in hope. You must wonder who will love you, whom you will love next.’
‘I am done with being loved,’ Edward told her. ‘I’m done with loving. It’s too painful.’
‘Pish,’ said the old doll. ‘Where is your courage?’
through this encounter, edward begins to hope again, despite his best efforts to the contrary. the old doll is purchased and edward waits and waits, and finally is bought by a girl who will love him and who he loves back. the story ends by summarizing everything that edward has gone through, and the final sentences is, “Once, oh marvelous once, there was a rabbit who found his way home.”
my story and edward’s story are not all that different. i was born prideful and shamefully incapable of loving others more than i loved myself. i learned how to love, but not without heartbreak. it would be easy to give up hope, sitting in my corner of the world refusing to love or be loved, as edward tried. but just as edward could not, neither do i find myself capable. zechariah 9:12 describes the people of israel as “prisoners of hope” and i find myself in the same predicament. if i believe that God is good and that he loves me, then I cannot but hope in a brighter future, i cannot help but be filled with expectancy for who i will love and who will love me. the great God is everywhere and provides for everything with love. and i know, at the end of my story, i will find my way Home. i pray that you, in whatever circumstances you find yourself today, would be awash in hope.