Toads and Rubies, to understand, you have to know some of the back story.
There is a fairy tale called Diamonds and Toads that describes a story in which two sisters, one kind and one unkind, met a fairy. The kind sister was blessed with the ability to open her mouth and beautiful things would fall out, the unkind sister was given the same ability however, she was cursed and toads fell from her mouth.
I had never heard of this fairytale until recently.
During a writing class that I took in 2018, I shared with the class that I really was not a writer, and that in fact, my sister was the writer of the family. I had always had an insecurity about academics in general because she excelled in school. She was gracious enough to proofread my work through graduate school, but not without many frustrating nights deleting the unnecessary commas that I tend to use.
This class was an interesting time for me because it was the first time that I really realized that I could be a writer. It was also during this class that an incredible young lady shared a dream she had with me. At the time, the dream meant something to me, but I did not dwell on it. However, as I began working to develop this blog, insecurity about my writing began to resurface. Do I really have anything valuable to say? Will readers be able to get my meaning in spite of my punctuation? I knew when the dream from 2018 kept coming to my mind, that it was not an accident.
I reached out to the girl from my writing class and asked for more details. I knew she could help me because at the time she shared that she wrote down all of her dreams. The following are exerpts from the narrative of the dream that she sent me:
Frogs fall from my mouth when I talk. Toads too It used to be a problem. My sister, who is the “good child”, had gold and gems fall from her lips, and since I could not be her. I had to go a different way.
So I got frogs.
“You’ll grow into it.” the fairy god-mother said “Some curses have cloth-of-gold linings”
“Mind you, some curses just grind you down and leave you broken. Some blessings do that too though.
I spent a lot of time not talking. I got a slate and wrote things down.
Toads were easier. Toads are tough. After a while, I learned to feel when a word was a toad and not a frog.
I practiced in the field behind the house. Speaking words over and over, sending small creatures hopping into the evening. I learned to speak some words as either toads or frogs. It’s all in the delivery.
I learned one day that amphibians are going extinct all over the world. That some of them are vanishing. You go to ponds that should be full of frogs and find them silent. There are a hundred things responsible: fungus, pesticides, acid rain, the list goes on and on.
I brooded about frogs for weeks after that, and then, I decided to do something about it. I cannot fix the things that kill them. It would take an army of fairy godmothers, and mine retired long ago But I can make more.
The woods behind my house are full of singing. The neighbors either learn to love it or move away.
My sister- the one who speaks gold and diamonds- funds my travels. She speaks less than I do now, but for me and my amphibian friends, she will vomit rubies and sapphires. I am grateful.
A day will come when the Panamanian golden frog will tumble from my lips. I will catch it and hold it and whatever word I spoke, I’ll say again and again, until I stand a the center of a sea of yellow skins. Making from my curse, at last, a cloth of gold.
As you can see the story resembles the original fairytale, but it also is very unique to my situation. I will most likely gain little nuggets of truth from those words for many years. When I read the dream the first time, my mouth fell open (no toads fell out that I am aware of) because I knew in an instant that it was the confirmation I needed to publish this blog. It was on the second reading as I was trying to understand the details and their meaning, that I found myself drawn to the title, Toads and Rubies.
I will never be a writer that produces precious jewels or fine metals. I am an unpolished amatuer. But, I can feel the Lord pushing me to publish my writing anyway. It does not have to be a ruby to serve the purpose for which it was written. Perhaps I will be like the girl in the dream and my words will somehow become a “cloth of gold”.
So now, I am a writer. Not a technical one, or even one that uses punctuation well, but one that uses writing to encourage, motivate, and inspire. I send my words into the world with the hope that my “toads” will reach those of you in need of a friend. That the meaning of my words will reach deep into your heart and touch you in a way that makes you feel like you are not alone. I pray that each time you visit Toads and Rubies you find comfort, and that you leave with a voice that whispers to your soul, “I belong here”.