By Karen Stiller
Last night I sat in a packed movie theatre in Oshawa watching The Drop Box.
It is, of course, the inspiring story of Pastor Lee Jong-Rak who installs a dropbox for unwanted babies in the outside wall of his Seoul home. The little compartment is lined with a blanket, equipped with a warming light bulb and can be opened from outside the home — to deposit baby, sometimes with umbilical cord still attached — and from inside the home to a bittersweet welcome. Bitter because no one is happy when a baby is abandoned. Sweet because the first thing Pastor Lee does is hold the child closely and thank God for the miracle in his hands.
There is a red glowing button that triggers a doorbell to alert Pastor Lee and his family (including at the time of filming about 15 children, many of them disabled) that someone new is about to enter this chaotic, messy, drooling, happy family.
I was struck with the expected things: the selflessness of the Pastor, his wife, daughter and the children who embrace the presence of each other. The value of “imperfect life” as seen in the severe handicap of the Pastor’s own son, a heartbreak that clearly broke the Pastor’s heart completely open, preparing it to receive what was to come: one after another after another less than perfect and less than wanted child, here perfectly loved, fully wanted.
But as a writer and an editor with Faith Today, as a professional teller and shaper of stories (and a voracious consumer of story), I also found myself mulling over the idea of telling stories like these. And how lucky we are to find them, to tell them, to hear them!
I can almost feel the sun on my back as I sat as a girl on the front lawn of Windward Avenue in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, combing through our thick grass for four leaf clovers. It seems to me I spent hours of my childhood looking for those soft green petals.
There are so many soft green petal stories to be told. A good story well told — and by that I mean a righteous, love-filled, courageous, risky, honest in pain and joy kind-of story told by a teller who knows what they are doing is a beautiful thing. I’m glad we are part of this story-telling and story-receiving world.
Karen Stiller is a senior editor with Faith Today.