When I was about 5 years old my father painted the bedroom I shared with my sister. In the process, he discovered some crayon artwork that one of us had done on the walls. No one got in trouble for it, but he assured us that the next person who wrote on any walls would pay for it with their life. My dad was not one to make idle threats, and we all knew that graffiti was now an extremely dangerous activity in our house, and especially in our freshly painted bedroom. That probably should have been the end of it.
One day, not long after the paint dried, my father had a reason to come into our bedroom, and he spied a tiny spot on the wall, just above my bed. He moved closer to investigate, and as he got near he saw that it was, without a doubt, a word. One word, written in magic marker, on the wall he had just painted. His anger was building, but so was his curiosity, so before he set about making good on his promise to execute the next child who wrote on a wall, he moved even closer to see what the offending child had written. And there, in my childish handwriting, were three little letters: “GOD”. Try as he might, not even my father could bring himself to punish a child for writing the word God on a wall. I was saved.
Years later, when I was an adult, my father told that story at a family gathering and we all had a laugh about it. But he didn’t know the rest of the story!
I very clearly remember the day I wrote God on the wall above my bed. My older sister was telling me something she had learned in school that day. She always learned everything first, of course, and as the little sister I was fascinated whenever she brought home some new bit of knowledge to share with me. That day she taught me that some words, if you spelled them backwards, would make entirely different words. I was skeptical. She gave me an example, so I could see for myself. “Try dog”, she said.