Though this tale is not meant to be a magical fairytale, or even a fantasy, there are
some fantastical elements in it. One being Ari’s continuous bus-ride dream. But, as mystical as it may seem, that dream was actually inspired by a true story.
I hadn’t meant to continue the Dark Forest series at the time, but had pondered doing a story about Sam Sakamoto and a woman who worked with therapy dogs (which has gelled further, recently, and may become another fairy tale). I considered doing something with Manny … eventually … maybe. I never would have imagined writing a modern-day retelling of Sleeping Beauty! In fact, the thought sounded boring. Who wants to follow the life of a sleeping girl?
But then two things happened. I read a novel with a coma patient in it (who had no other role but to be unconscious--unlike Ari, whose memory and dreams carry this story), and right around the same time, I’d seen the movie Maleficent. That was when I remembered what my sister had told me about one of the guys she’d worked with who’d brought her to Christ. He’d been in a coma (I believe for years), and while in it, he’d had a constant dream that he was riding a school bus that never stopped to let him off. When those pieces came together, I knew I must write this story.
However, I had no ideas for how to make this a Christian Fiction story--you know, the spiritual stuff. But then I remembered, I never do. In fact, I never come into a story expecting a Christian message. And yet, God gives me one every time. This story was no different. God came through again!
I’m not sure if He spoke the idea into my heart, or if it really seeped through a Harvest Parkersong, but the idea formed and it fit too perfectly not to use it. Since then, the theme became a constant one as I strode through life in the writing of it.
Agape love. A love that can’t be earned or taken away. A love that is always there, even when friends and family fail you, leave you ...
A love so pure it is powered through eternity.
Yes, Love is also a theme in the original Dark Forest novel, At the Edge of a Dark Forest. But that focused more on the sacrificial nature of The Son. Arise from Dark Places focuses more on the even, always, never-ending nature of Love from The Father. Certainly, it’s part of the same Love from God. In fact, it’s the Agape Love that made the sacrificial Love possible. However, as The Son’s Love makes me feel whole, The Father’s love gives me peace.
It preceded our salvation.
It doesn’t show itself by an extraordinary deed. It is the act of just Being There in the storm.
I devoted this novel to a friend and his widow (yes, I said widow). And I quoted parts of it in my father’s eulogy last March (the month this novel was originally supposed to be released!). Death has not eluded me this year. I am grateful for the loving arms of my Father-God.
This kind of love surpasses time, space, and the physical realms.
It is no fairytale. It is real. And it is available to YOU.