One of my favorite books is The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo. I love it because it's a beautiful, poetic metaphor for forgiveness and for the hope of impossibly good things coming true.
As in life, there are impossible things in this story that cause the characters pain and ones that cause hopes and dreams to be fulfilled.
One of the characters is a boy named Peter who was told that his little sister had died when he was little. But there's a hint at the beginning of the story that he might have been lied to and that his sister is out there in the world somewhere.
In the same town is a woman who has been injured in a magic trick gone wrong, and she has the magician responsible for her pain thrown into prison. Throughout the story, all she can do is talk about the pain he's caused her. Whenever someone tries to have a conversation with her about something else, it's all she can talk about.
She's like a broken record, stuck in the pain of her life.
And that's another reason why this book is so good. Even though it’s a fictional story, it speaks to the real pain we can experience in our own lives: physical pain, bitterness, and unfulfilled hopes and dreams.
Personally, I don't like stories that are sad and have terrible endings. Some people might argue that in the real world things don't always go as planned, and that sad stories with sad endings are needed to reflect that reality.
But what about the other reality...the one where, however long from now, someday all the wrongs in the world will be made right? It may be far into the future, but it’s one of the reasons I like stories with happy endings. They reflect the reality that we were created for restoration and a beautiful future.
And perhaps we're feeling like the people in The Magician's Elephant, wondering...
When will this be made right?
Why is this happening?
Will the good things I'm hoping for ever happen?
The Magician’s Elephant is a beautiful story with multiple characters who experience pain, and there are beautiful endings for each one.
It's winter as I write this, and in The Magician's Elephant snow represents hope and change - something good on the way. The winter season seems like a fitting time to settle in with a nice hot beverage, get cozy, put your feet up, and read this book...
...if you could use a story with a happy ending.
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