Paper Airplane

[See http://www.unitedunleashed.ca/ for folds — top left corner to right side, top right corner to left side, then the rest is a regular paper airplane; when tearing fold down wings and tear lengthwise through the centre as marked.]

The first time this story was ever told was Christmas morning, 1984, in super maximum custody at the Innes Road Detention Centre.

I wondered what you could say on christmas morning in one of the most secure places in all of Ontario; fifteen steel doors to get in, fifteen steel doors to get out.

A shared life is something like a paper airplane. When you are little you think about what you want to be, what you want to do, when you grow up. And one day you start putting it together.

The important thing about this paper airplane is not that it’s going the be the best paper airplane in the world, or the biggest paper airplane in the world, or the fastest paper airplane in the world. The important thing about this paper airplane is that it’s me; what I want to be, what I want to do when I grow up.

And one day it’s finished.

Like I said, it’s not the best paper airplane in the world; but it’s me; what I want to be, what I want to do when I grow up.

Sometimes when you are flying your paper airplane someone grabs it out of the air. Sometimes the person that grabs it is you. You don’t know why you do it, it’s your own paper airplane. Sometimes the person who grabs it takes it and rips it apart, [fold down wings and tear lengthwise through the centre] and throws the pieces on the ground.

Pause…

It’s not just a paper airplane. It’s me… what I wanted to be, what I wanted to do when I grew up… and now it’s in pieces… and that hurts.

Sometimes when something hurts you try to hold back the tears. Maybe you bite your lip. And maybe before you turn and walk away you take one last look and ask, “where are you God?”

Is God there [unfold the long piece]?

After it’s opened to a cross are you surprised?

Maybe open up the other pieces [opening up the remaining pieces placing them down to finally spell the letters LOVE].

And it’s not until you get the last piece down that you realize you almost missed it. You almost walked away…

Whenever something hurts God invites you to open up the pieces, to discover that he’s there and second that he loves you.

[p.s. the heavies in prison took this from one end of the province to the other, and in 1988 an inmate stopped me in max wing corridor, said “Rev, want to show you something”, then went through the whole story missing nothing… it was now coming back.]

Don Anderson