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The American Traveler: A Children's Story
The original story was written for Tyler, a little girl that behaved very well at the doctor's office.
A little boy named Matthew lived next door to a little girl named Clare. I don't know how to be happy, he thought, maybe God can tell me. "Clare, have you seen God?" "No," she replied "Why don't you just talk to Him?" He shook his head and insisted, "No, I need to see Him. So I'm going away to find Him."
The little girl whose heart had skipped the first time she heard little Matt's voice was so sad she closed her eyes and in her secret place she met with God. "God, will Matt find you?" God answered her, "Yes, he will."
"God, I'm going to miss him. Is he for me?" The answer came quickly, but it was not what Clare hoped for. "Yes, my precious Clare, but not just yet." Clare was happy and let little Matt go without much crying.
Little Matt traveled to California. A little boy named Emilio Jose told Matthew where to find a boat and go out into the deep blue ocean so Matt could talk with God. "Can I come with you?" asked Emilio. "No," said Matt, "You're much younger than me and could get hurt. Besides, I want to talk privately with God." Matt got on a skiff and paddled away. Not even 1/4 mile offshore a giant tail surged and splashed so much water next to him his small boat turned over. "Help me, God!" he yelled underwater as the bubbles rose to the surface. As he sank into the darkness of the deep ocean a huge animal took him on its back and brought him to the surface.
"Oh thank God! I can breath again!" said little Matt as he held on to the animal's back. "And thank you! Who are you? Are you God? I was told God is huge and saves people." "No. I'm just a whale. Do you see my eyes? They're small and limited. God sees everything."
The boy was once more sad. "OK. Please, take me back to shore." Matt saw Emilio on shore and told him what happened. "Sorry, Matt. Maybe, you can find God in the mountains." So Matt said goodbye and kept searching.
A year or so had passed and Clare asked God, "Is Matt well? Is he now for me?" "Yes. He is well, my angel, but he is not for you, just yet."
Another day Matt sat at the foot of a mountain in Arizona. A girl name Kaitlyn who lived in a cottage on the path up the mountain came out to greet Matt. He explained to her that the sea was too limited for someone to see everything from underneath the water so he headed upwards. She welcomed him to her mountain, "Oh Matt, the view is beautiful up there, but be careful where you step. It's a difficult climb. Do you want me to go with you?" "Oh no. Thank you, but I want to talk to God all by myself."
He climbed the mountain, but he got tired halfway and the stones beneath his feet gave way. Without any strength to hold on to the nearby branches Matt slipped and fell over the side spiraling downward. Just as he was giving up all hope of life a bird flew beneath him and swooped him away placing Matt ever so gently on a nest.
"Oh thank Heavens! I'm alive and safe!" He looked at the nest filled with giant rocks and wondered how him and they remained there without falling through the thatched home so he asked, "Thank you for saving me, but what are these rocks for?"
"I'm an eagle and these are my children waiting to be born." "Then, you're not God? God watches over all His children and hides them from harm like you." The eagle turned his watch-filled stare to the boy for a second and pointed its beak to its legs. "Do you see my legs? I can fly high and see far, but once I land I cannot walk far."
"No," said the disappointed boy. "You're not God for He walks with His children anywhere they are at. Can you take me back down the mountain?" The eagle let out a large screech and a larger eagle came gliding down next to the nest. Together they picked up the boy with their large claws as softly as they would one of their soon-to-hatch eaglets and placed the boy at the foot of the mountain. Kaitlyn saw this and remained speechless. Matt said goodbye and continued his journey across the nation.
Time passed. Pennsylvania offered a great opportunity for the teenager to swim in a river, but as he was learning how to swim a great upstream surge gushed down, enveloped him and spun him from one side of the river bank to the other. With no hope in sight the teen cried out, "God, save me!"
His tears were swept away by the water's current. Suddenly, he felt a cold current push him into an eddie pool behind an outcropping of rocks. He bobbled to the surface and breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you, Lord!" He was no longer sinking, but the continuous current prevented him from swimming back into the river. "Who are you that keeps me from being swept away? Are you God?" "No!" was the emphatic answer. "I could never be God. I begin in the mountains trickling down creeks until I reach the river and end in the sea. God has no beginning or end."
"You're right," sighed the teen. "Let me through and I'll continue my search." At that moment a splash of water overflowed the eddie pool and he was pushed to shore.
All the while a teenager named Clare prayed for his return.
"Another ocean," murmured the young man. Matt reached New Jersey's shores just before dawn and "no God." The ships on the horizon made a single line towards the busy harbors of New York but only their lights were visible. "I'm so tired and cold. I'll just sit by this rock and wait till morning."
Out of the deepest darkness, so deep he could not see his feet in the sand, from the sky ahead of him came a concentrated burst of orange, red and golden light. It moved up his body slowly warming his feet, hands and caressing Matt's face. It had been such a cold night and the warmth of the light felt so comforting.
"I have never seen this light before. Are you God?" "No. I'm the sun awakening the ocean and all its shores. My journey continues inland and I bathe the cities, vales, forests and mountains with my light even through the clouds when no one can see me."
"You sound just like God. I was told He is Light, like you, but that we cannot see Him. Only He decides who will see Him. Certainly, I'll never see Him." "Why not?" asked the sun, "Look, I'm not God. I depend on the earth to turn in order to reach my light and warmth around it. God does not depend on anything or anyone to do His will."
"You're right. I'm going home."
Matt returned home to find little Clare all grown up. Clare's joy in seeing Matt was uncontainable. She hugged and kissed him, but he was not responding. Only sadness welled up inside him. "You're so beautiful," Matt said, "but, just the same, you're not God either since God doesn't change. I'm so sad. God, help me."
"Don't be sad anymore. I'm not God, but I'm joyful to be His creation and have a purpose in living. He made us to live with Him always. All we have to do is live in the shadow of His wings and He will make His presence known to us when He wants and when we least expect it. Otherwise, we would always doubt if He is a figment of our imagination or real."
Matt gazed in amazement at her words. He began to tell her of his journeys. He remembered all the times he got lost or was tired, alone or dying and God did not abandoned him and all the people he met along the way who tried to help him, but he didn't listen to them. He was finally happy.
As he turned away to go home Clare went into her secret place and asked God, "God, is Matt OK? And... is he now for me?" As a breeze that cools the brow on a hot summer day she heard this answer, "Yes, my faith-filled Clare. Matt is OK. And he is now for you."