Parenthood provides the opportunity for fully grown adults to re-capture childhood joys. When my children were younger, I re-captured some childhood joy when I came across the book Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson.
As a child I loved the simple sketches and fun story, but as an adult I appreciate the profound spiritual truths that lie at its heart.
My friend Harold begins his story in chaos, with his purple crayon scribbling all over. Then he decides he needs a moon to light his way and solid ground on which to walk. With these two necessities in place, he begins his journey.
At first, not wanting to get lost, he creates a straight path for himself.
The straight path soon loses his interest, so he decides he needs a tree, and that the tree needs some apples. Wouldn’t they be delicious?
As soon as he has apples though, he worries that someone might steal them. He creates a frightening dragon to defend his treasure. The dragon is so frightening, it scares even Harold, so he falls backwards into the wavy ocean that his trembling hand squiggles out for him.
Soon Harold is in way over his head.
To save himself, he creates a boat, and then a sail, and then a shore upon which to land.
Harold takes himself on an adventurous journey complete with delicious pies, friends, hot air balloon rides, large cities and helpful guides. The moon accompanies him on every page.
Eventually he grows so tired he wants to go home to bed. He remembers that his bedroom window is always right around the moon, so he draws himself his bedroom window and his big comfy bed. He crawls in and goes to sleep.
This beautiful story shows spirit (the moon) and our physical world (the solid ground) created out of chaos. With the moon shining on him always and the ground solid underneath, Harold uses the purple crayon (free will, the Source, Universal Mind, whatever you choose to call it) to shape his life. He creates fun times, hard times, dangers and solutions to his problems.
I keep a copy of this book on the shelf beside my desk. When I look at the cover, it returns me to a quiet centre. It makes me ask questions: Which fearful events and situations have I created for myself? What solution can I create, or draw, to solve those problems? What positive and fun things can I draw next?
It reminds me that spirit is always shining down on me and that the ground is solid beneath my feet. It reminds me that the path my life takes lies in my own hand.