Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Oh, the Places You'll Go!
His name was Theodor Geisel, but everyone knew him as Ted. Born in 1904 to German immigrant parents, Theodor and Henrietta, the family settled on Howard Street in Springfield, Massachusetts. Ted and his sister Marnie recalled a happy childhood; Ted’s favorite memory was being soothed to sleep by his mother’s soft words she had learned from her mother. For Ted and his family, there didn’t seem to be anything extraordinary about his life (or so he believed).
But Ted was enormously creative and inquisitive. He attended Dartmouth and Oxford, pursuing what he loved most: writing, art, and journalism. Like acting jobs in Hollywood today, journalists then were a dime a dozen. And, like actors today, Ted took the odd jobs and open opportunities as they were presented. Over the course of time, his goal was to write of great moral issues in a simplistic fashion.
He submitted his first written and illustrated manuscript to between 27 and 48 publishing houses (depending on whom you ask). All rejected Ted’s work. Undaunted, Ted kept writing because his soul had something to say. He was driven to communicate a message: each person is unique and tremendously valuable, regardless of size, shape, color, intellect, or measurable ability. Today, readers know Ted by his pen name: Dr. Seuss.¹
Of course, Dr. Seuss was not a theologian, but his artistic form and words remind me of the way Christ communicated deeper truths. Jesus—alongside many writers of Scripture—used simple things such as light, a mustard seed, rivers, roots, sheep, and fields to tell us of faith, foundational strength, and how to find help and safety in Him.
I’d like to leave you today with one such passage. Psalm 1 expresses one of the grandest truths I know: that God blesses those who follow Him:
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.
1. “All About Dr. Seuss,” Dr. Seuss National Memorial, http://www.catinthehat.org/history.htm, accessed Feb. 23, 2012.