Today I visited a book drop-off box in my neighborhood. These are scattered throughout the city. They look like large mailboxes, posted on boulevards, welcoming residents and visitors to drop off and pick up books — a complimentary exchange. I’ve admired the theory for years and finally took conscious action to faithfully accept the written contents of a local bookbox this afternoon. What I returned home with was startling and notable. The titles of these books caught my attention immediately. There is something to this, my attention taking notice.
As told in my second blog post titled ‘Words to Live By,’ my first conscious Prayer to Passage experience — from which I coined the phrase — took place in 2004 while I was living in New York City. But I cannot ignore an experience I had in Saint Paul, Minnesota on September 11, 2001. I was teaching at a preschool that day. It was early in the morning. I was reading a story to the children, as I would on any school morning at that time. And a father rushed in to drop off his daughter; he was running late that day. The look on his face was of more complexity than a dad in a hurry, pressed for time.
He motioned for me to put down the storybook and step aside to speak with him for a moment. I got up from my chair to approach him as he whispered, aware of all of the young children in the room, “On my car radio, less than two minutes ago, the broadcaster said an airplane has hit the World Trade Center in New York.” We both stood in silence, receiving the news as a reporting of a terrible accident. I wished him well and returned to finish the morning’s story with the children. The storybook I was reading? ‘Henny Penny’ by Paul Galdone.
“THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING!”
It has come to my attention that my mediums are provided as supernatural operatives. It is with one accord of my Spiritual Gifts and the Grace of God that I dutifully accept my assigned actions. And this assignment is not only directed to me; this assignment arrives in urgency to all allied forces of peace. Peace cannot be forced, but forces must join together — immediately — because God is powerful enough to warn us of the impacts of proud states of denial. To me, the word hardheaded implies that thinking without trusting our warnings brings difficulty. Peaceful, unified action. And now is the time.
I have returned to Saint Paul. The books from the bookbox were delivered at the curbside of a large mansion down the street from my home, and in the neighborhood of famed author F. Scott Fitzgerald’s previous home. Minnesota has a history of famous writers: from Charles Shultz to Garrison Keillor to Prince to Bob Dylan to Sinclair Lewis. Saint Paul has an old haunt spirit of book beckonings and literature experiences, written and not yet written.
This brings me to the titles of the books that I picked up at the book exchange today:
‘CROSS’ by James Patterson
‘CONTES DE PROVENCE’
(Roughly translated from French:
‘Tales of Provence’)
‘WHOLE WIDE WORLD’ by Paul McAuley
‘A DARKER JUSTICE’ by Sallie Bissell
‘DESPERATE MEASURES’ by David Morrell
‘THE BOURNE SANCTION’ by Eric Van Lustbader
‘BLACKOUT’ by John Lawton
‘LOST LIGHT’ by Michael Connelly
‘OPEN SEASON’ by Joe Gunther
‘THE KILLING SEASON’ by John Redgate
‘THE ORPHAN MASTER’S SON’ by Adam Johnson
‘MISSION M.I.A.’ by J.C. Pollock
THE UNOLD STORY OF THE MAKING OF THE ATOMIC BOMB’ by Stephane Groueff
’90 MINUTES AT ENTEBBE: THE FIRST FULL STORY OF OPERATION THUNDERBOLT, THE SPECTACULAR ISRAELI STRIKE AGAINST TERRORISM’ by William Stevenson
When my attention is caught, I do not take it lightly.
Today I pray, “Dear God, I know with all of my heart that the great world leaders must join together, no matter the possible human trappings of denial, hardheaded independence, and pride. Peace IS the action this time around. I have received your warning, crystal clear. Amen.”
Following my prayer, this passage was delivered to me from the back cover of ’90 Minutes at Entebbe’:
“This was a time when the fate of a nation was determined in one hour by a small band of brave men.”
—ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER SHIMON PERES