My friend, Jeanne, has been working with our kids this summer at church. Part of the program today included an older video called The Selfish Giant. The story was about a giant who discovered that the village children were sneaking into his garden and playing in the trees and open land. He was angry and ran the children out. Then he built a wall that no one could get through. He was determined to keep everyone out. The seasons changed and winter came to the giant’s home and garden. But because of his angry and selfish heart, winter stayed and never left. He was alone. He was isolated. He was bitter. And he was very, very cold all the time. Finally after a very long winter, a tiny songbird landed on his window sill. The beautiful music stirred him deeply and he longed for more of the pleasantness. Soon, he found the children sneaking in his garden and he wasn’t upset. Every tree they climbed and place they walked made the winter go away. The giant’s heart softened, he tore down the wall, and eventually he made his way into the village and began helping and serving others instead of living selfishly behind his self-made wall.
Wow, what a message! Don’t we do that? We get a bur in our saddle, hide away from the world, close ourselves off and winter enters our hearts. We put up emotional walls and block out those people who are actually the joy-bringers and life-givers. But what I love about this story is that there is hope! One little songbird that sang a beautiful song pricked this giant’s hardened heart. One invitation. One encouraging comment. One offer of friendship. That one simple gesture might be the one thing that helps bring the selfish giant we have created out of a winter wasteland and back into the newness of spring.
Maybe you are the selfish giant that has closed themselves off for way too long. This column is your invitation to step out of the land of winter and take a chance on people again. Let others see your true heart. Welcome them in, even if you are hurt and scared. We need each other just like the giant needed the children in his garden.
Or maybe you know someone who has closed themselves off from the rest of the world. Be a songbird, take a chance, and draw them out of the winter season in their life. This may be the moment their heart has been waiting for.