I am currently writing a story called “Seven Leagues Further” that is meant to be an exploration on the spiritual gifts, and what they are for. It’s been a long journey from my original intent for this story. In the beginning, my brain-child was that I’d create a story using elements from every dream I had recorded in my dream journal over the past four years. As you can imagine, that became pretty convoluted pretty fast. Since then, it’s evolved into this and that, and finally I’ve landed on what seems like a (semi)coherent narrative. The story revolves around Abigail, a young woman with a remarkable gift: a pair of shoes that have the power to leap to different worlds.
My comic’s title, “Seven Leagues Further” is an allusion to the mystical seven league boots – boots that could travel seven leagues with every step the wearer took! I decided to take it a bit further than the original myth and make them dimension-hopping shoes. In the story, Abigail learns how to use her magical shoes, but not without some trouble along the way. Great tools can be used either for wonderful good or terrible evil.
“The Seven League Boots” Paul Gustave Doré – Engraving – 1868
Much of Abigail’s journey is meant to reflect my own experience with the gifts God has given me. I see God as the father who gave his child a wonderful gift with the intent to go on adventures and enjoy life together. When I use the gifts he gave me – art, music, imagination – and use them in ways that displease him – to show off, or to belittle others, or to distance myself from Him and his character – surely that must make him sad, and even angry! So in this story I am trying to explore the emotions of a Father whose daughter has run away from him. How would he act? How has God acted with me, every time I’ve wandered away from him? To be honest, my own perception has mainly been that he is annoyed with me and leaves me to my own devices. But is that the whole story? Is that really his heart towards us? I want to use this story to remind myself of the truth of God’s love for me, and to tell the world about what kind of God he is. Here is what he said about himself:
I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:5 (ESV)
One small thing I glean from this self-description of God is that he does punish, because he is just. But whereas his judgement lasts for a mere couple of generations, his love lasts for thousands. If you want to explore this idea further, I recommend this podcast, Exploring My Strange Bible. Tim Mackie goes into it in a more intelligent way than I can.
Anyway, I haven’t quite figured out the end of the story yet. I feel that I must delve deeper into the character of God as the Good Father in order to make the father figure in my story real, relatable, and true. He can’t be some one-dimensional guy-in-the-sky. He’s gotta be REAL. So here’s a question for you: What is the best depiction of father God you’ve seen in literature, movies, or comics? I’d love to see how other people have done it in the past, and refine my own depiction by learning from their successes or mistakes.