image from students.expression.edu
A couple of nights ago I had a funny vision as I lay in a dozy, half-sleep state. I saw the peach from the famous novel ‘James and the giant peach’ by Roald Dahl. I haven’t read this book in years but liked it as a child. What was even funnier was that I was one of the insects that had been transformed by the magic croc tongues given by the mysterious man to James at the start of the book. These tongues turned an ordinary peach into one large enough to house James and several now human-sized insects and squash James’ abusive aunts to death on its travels. Dark yes, but Dahl was no sickly sweet children’s author.
All I can remember of my vision is walking towards the peach knowing I was going on a great adventure and that I had to trust it. As I awoke I knew I had to remember what the book was about. As it turned out, it certainly involved a great adventure: the child James and his insect buddies had to overcome several terrifying obstacles such as nearly having their peach-boat pecked apart by birds on their way over the Atlantic in search of a new life, and friends, in New York City. Orphan James had lived most of his life with his horrible aunts who made his life an utter misery; he was shut away when it suited the aunts, did most of the chores, and he had no friends to play with.
And yet, his plight did not go unnoticed. The stranger with the croc tongues brought the magic that was needed to instigate James’ transformation. No one knew who he was in the book; he was never mentioned nor thought about again. To me, he represents Divine Grace. Grace is that little bit of magic sent to each of us to ensure we follow the path we were meant to, or the nudge that we need to get off the incorrect one. It is the feeling that, when looking back on our life more objectively, despite the inevitable suffering and pain at times, or perhaps most of the time, people and events showed up exactly as we needed them.
However, the man with the croc tongues obviously did not take James across the ocean to his destiny. He didn’t play any part in that. It was up to James to use his bit of magic to find his path. It was no doubt a very scary journey indeed for an orphan boy travelling with people/insects he didn’t know, inside a peach that just a short time ago had been growing from an ordinary peach tree but now had suddenly grown to mega proportions and killed his aunts. The only life he remembered was gone. He had to trust it was all for the best. He had to place his faith that the journey would take him to where he needed to be. To do that, he had to lose everything he ever knew to embrace an experience unlike any he had ever had.
Of course, this is simply a children’t story and can’t be taken too seriously. But at the same time it’s difficult to avoid the profound truth that lies within it. It has added significance for me because I’m terrified of most insects. I know this is relevant because I was writing about this the evening before I had the vision. I try hard to show compassion to all creatures and avoid killing them unless absolutely necessary, but my fear quite often gets the better of me. I feel out of control when insects come near me. I fear they are going to get in my face or my hair which leads to a feeling of being attacked. So it is very interesting that the story of James and the giant peach came to me in a vision. I believe it is saying ‘do not fear the unknown.’ In the story, the insects turned out to be the best friends James had ever had or known. He lay all his trust in them and the strange territory that was the peach.
The vision is thus a reminder to embrace the unfamiliar. It shows me that each of us are being guided to reach our destiny, yet it is up to us to make it happen. Divine Grace can give us the magic but it is up to us to trust and use it.