Dec 14, 2012

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MEDITATION: Never too old to climb through a window

It’s not that often that you come across a book that makes you chuckle throughout.

The Swedish writer Jonas Jonasson’s bestselling novel, “The hundred-year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared” is such a book.

It tells the story of Allan Karlson who less than an hour before his hundredth birthday party was about to start in the lounge of an Old People’s Home in the town of Malmköping, decided: “This is not for me!” And so before the mayor and some special guests could arrive, he opened the window of his room on the ground floor, climbed into the flowerbed and disappeared. 

He then almost accidentally and without deliberately planning it, stole a much sought after suitcase at the station where he was waiting for a bus to take him away from Malmköping. And suddenly he became the most sought after man in Sweden. Because what he did not realise at the time was that the suitcase contained a lot of money which belonged to a dangerous syndicate of thieves who were now hot on his heels.

And so begins a unique and colourful journey full of unexpected events, new friendships and a series of bizarre and also extremely funny incidents.

The story touches one in different ways. First of all the writer makes you realise the value of true humor. Of how in a dark world full of crime and tragedy, one can survive with a smile and a lighter touch to life.

Even more important: the writer reminds us that it is never too late to venture out and do something new and exciting. Exactly like Allan Karlson who on the day of this hundredth birthday decided: “Today I am going to climb through this window and disappear.”

In a way the book poses the very personal question: “Where, metaphorically speaking, are those windows in your own life which must be opened anew and which can serve as avenues to freedom and thus also as opportunities towards new growth.”

As Christians we are constantly challenged to look for these windows of opportunities in our lives. In fact we are never too old to find them and to climb out.

Carel Anthonissen

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