Wednesday, March 5, 2008


One of my favorite books is called My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Actually, I like many of the books that she writes. But the last one, 19 Seconds, was disturbing. It was about a fictionalized school shooting. The week after I read it the Virginia Tech shootings happened. I like her writing because of her ability to put me inside a character's head and heart.

My Sister's Keeper is about a 13-year-old girl, Anna, who sues her parents for the rights to her own body. She wants medical emancipation and to be the person who decides if she will donate a kidney to her dying sister, Kate. Anna was conceived specifically to be a matched donor for her sister. Her entire life has been lived in the shadow of her sister's illness. In the book you hear from Anna, her parents, the lawyers, and her brother.

I wanted to share an excerpt from Anna (p.299).

When you are a kid you have your own language, and unlike French or Spanish or whatever you start learning in the fourth grade, this one you're born with , and eventually lose. Everyone under the age of seven is fluent in Ifspeak; go hang around with someone under three feet tall and you'll see. What if a giant funnelweb spider crawled out of that hole over your head and bit you on the neck? What if the only antidote for venom was locked up in a vault on the top of a mountain? What if you lived through the bite, but could only move you eyelids and blink out an alphabet? It doesn't really matter how far you go; the point is that it's a world of possibility. Kids think with their brains cracked wide open; becoming an adult, I've decided, is only a slow sewing shut.

I think she is right. On one hand, outgrowing Ifspeak is functional. If your ifspeak is only related to negative things, then it could cause a great deal of anxiety. On the other hand, out growing ifspeak limits us.

For kids, anything is a possibility. They dream BIG. When I was a kid I was going to be a dolphinologist (not that there is such a thing), keep the dolphins in a pool outback, have six kids, and the kids would daily help with the dolphins. By studying the interaction of my kids and the dolphins, I would break the barrier to intelligently communicating with these remarkable animals and win lots of awards. That was my primary dream. I also considered becoming the first female president.

As we grow up, reality slowly sets in. They just don't let people keep dolphins in a pool outback. We find we are limited by our rules and regulations, finances, intellect, abilities or lack of abilities, circumstances, . . . .

As I was thinking about this quote, I wondered if we are also often limited by our faith. Yes, you read that right. Sometimes we are limited by the things we put our faith in -- other people, our abilities, whatever. Where we need to put our faith is in God. With God all things are possible. There are no limits. The one who created the universe can overcome every obstacle. But sometimes we don't let Him. Sometimes we don't even ask or if we do ask it is halfheartedly, not really believing . . . . That's not to say that God always says, "Yes." But I do think we put limits on God.

Sometimes when I pray, I pray very specifically. If God doesn't answer directly with my proposal, I think He hasn't answered. Maybe He has but the answer is packaged differently than I anticipated.

Ifspeak. I think it is about faith. What if I truly believed in every fiber of my being that God loved me? What if I could truly lay all my burdens at His feet? What if I trusted Him with all of who I am? What if I responded to those "flashes" of ideas? How would it change my live and the lives of those around me?

Ifspeak. I wonder if it is a language I can relearn . . . .

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