Thursday, August 20, 2015

Lessons from Horton by Heidi Chiavaroli

Sighed Mayzie, a lazy bird hatching an egg:
"I'm tired and I'm bored
And I've kinks in my leg
From sitting, just sitting here day after day.
It's work! How I hate it!
I'd much rather play!
I'd take a vacation, fly off for a rest
If I could find someone to stay on my nest!
If I could find someone, I'd fly away—free...."

Then Horton, the Elephant, passed by her tree.

And so Horton's journey begins. In this Dr. Seuss classic, Horton Hatches the Egg, Mayzie leaves the care of her only egg to a one-ton elephant, Horton. She then flies off on a never-ending vacation. Despite many obstacles, Horton proves "faithful, one hundred per cent."

The message packed in this book isn't just for children.

I constantly find myself drifting toward Mayzie's mindset. I'm tired of the work I've given myself, frustrated at the writing that just isn't flowing from my mind to my laptop, or impatient with the waiting that comes with every writer’s journey. And my oh my, do I have more than a few kinks in my legs from that twenty-five-mile bike ride with the kids the other day. Mayzie, I hear you, girl. I could use a vacation, too.

Yet when I read this story with my kids, it's not Mayzie I long to be like—it's the big old elephant. Horton stands firm in the promise he's made to Mayzie. If Horton is this faithful to an irresponsible bird, how much more should I be faithful to God, my family, and the desires He has placed on my heart?

The root word of faithful is 'aman, meaning believe. Believe in what? I suppose that depends. Horton believed in his promise. I choose to believe in God's promises and His blessing upon my life. But blessing doesn't always pour out unimpeded. It sometimes requires work and prayer, and maybe a little wrestling. That's right, wrestling.

When Jacob wrestles with God in the book of Genesis, God bestows a token of blessing upon him in the form of a name change. He renames Jacob, Israel, roughly translated "you never give up and always believe God's promises." The blessing didn't just come, Jacob had to stubbornly cling to his Lord. He had to persevere.

Wrestling is not a sport for wimps, and surely not a sport for birds like Mayzie. Like Jacob, I think many of us find ourselves wrestling a blessing from God when it comes to our writing. But as we wrestle, let’s keep in mind that Christ has already won the ultimate battle for us. With that as our motivation, let us persevere in this race of faith and in our writing journeys, straining forward to cling to Jesus even as we wrestle that blessing from Him.

What was Horton's reward? I won't give it away in case you haven’t read the story, but I will tell you that something very surprising was in that egg!


Heidi Chiavaroli
Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, wife, mother, and grace-clinger—not necessarily in that order. Ever since taking her first trip to Plimoth Plantation with her sister, mother, and grandmother at the age of nine, she has been fascinated with history and its significance to today’s people and culture. Heidi is the winner of ACFW’s 2014 Genesis Contest, Historical Category. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Howie, her standard poodle.


  1. I love Horton! And now that I've read this, I love him even more.

    Writing does require wrestling -- faithfully every day.
    Thanks for helping me see my profession in a new way.

    (Your subject is Dr. Seuss. My comment had to rhyme!)


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