Terry Gross: Can you share some of your favorite comments from readers that you’ve gotten over the years?
Maurice Sendak: Oh, there’s so many. Can I give you just one that I really like? It was from a little boy. He sent me a charming card with a little drawing. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters-sometimes very hastily-but this one I lingered over. I sent him a postcard and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim, I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.
In the Christian faith it is very easy to get entranced by relics, icons, religiosity, and ritual for religious sake. We fool ourselves into thinking we have something living, when all we have done is framed a pretty picture and placed it upon a wall to admire from a distance. However, God did not become flesh to be admired from a distance, to simply be an icon on a piece of jewelry, or a vestment we dare not touch. The beauty of God is that he is the Divine made flesh in the profane. He makes our lives sacred through interaction in our daily routine.
“I am the bread of life.Your ancestors at the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.”
The greatest compliment we can give to our creator, the artist of life, is to take what he offers fully into ourselves. We cannot experience the life God offers by simply observing it as artwork upon a shelf or a sacred book we dust off when visitors come by. We must take Christ into ourselves. He is the bread of life. We must see, love, and eat!
(to explore this idea check out Eugene Peterson’s Book “Eat This Book“)