Just when I thought maybe I'd lost my words, here they are this morning in full force. I wondered how I would be. WHO WOULD I BE WITH OUT WORDS? Because, even though I'm not much of a conversationalist, writing has been the means I have had over the years to stay alive in there. When you've been "blessed" with a well deep heart, you've got to be able to get to the bottom and scrape out the gunk: keep your water clean. Flowing. Thirst quenching. Otherwise, all becomes stale and stinky. Yuck.
I've had titles for this blog space. Short captions. Headlines. But no story. No words to fill the story in and no voice to tell it.
A whole life time has passed since I have felt any connection here, it seems. We grow old fast these days, do we not, and I find myself contemplating two words: Lost and Found.
I see one of my red mittens in the lost and found box outside the kindergarten classroom at the community center. I was five. I wore orange tennis shoes two sizes too big and still on the wrong foot. I always had a snotty nose, and my hair was cut boy short. I remember an angry pair of scissors flying across the room and sticking into a classmate's head, and I still remember the dead sound it made when it struck; the strange way it looked sticking straight out of his crew cut as if it were floating.
First grade and learning to read. Paradise.
Second grade mouth and friends that wouldn't stop moving away.
The boy who ate glue. The boy who threw up so silently that nobody knew, and how silently he sat staring. Pale and shaken. I remember my third grade year. Making homemade peanut butter, candles, learning my math facts, and doing a science experiment about gravity with a bucket of water outside on the playground on a warm Montana day in the fall. That same year, I remember my handsome brother. Winsome in all his ways. Athletic and good with people. Liked by all and loved by friends. He never met an enemy...until me, I think, and we muddled through school in the same grade more like strangers than siblings. Still muddling.
I remember throwing a book at my fourth grade teacher for wrongly accusing me of talking in class. Even then trying hard to be the good girl was growing frustrating and futile, and what I wanted to do was fight the world.
Uh-Oh. Fifth grade grammar and words, oh words, oh words!!!
There was volleyball and a bra and a male teacher in the sixth grade. The one who told me I was too serious. The one who awakened in me this feeling of not quite fitting. Into the game, the bra, the class. I remember the brutal teasing and the hate notes I got from my best friend telling me I had a big butt and that I was the teacher's pet. I remember feeling lost.
I remember junior high when all the world fell dark.
And the blur and heartbreak of high school. Becoming afraid of everything. The disappointment. The humiliation. The shame. The guilt. The grief that consumed my whole heart, and it all riding so hard on my soul that I had only one word. "OUT." Making the decision to rebel.
College. Trying desperately to find my place and to fit. Starting fights in bars with men. Drowning the fear in alcohol. Words finding their way to paper my only friends. Finding out that rebellion was a lie, and wondering what in all the world I would do when living like the world wasn't working.
Marriage and children and a whole lot of years in the ditch, and yet... all the suffering drawing my heart. Drawing me. Whooing me. Jesus, the patient lover of souls.
Surrendering. ALL THINGS. Letting go. ALL THINGS. Laying back on the everlasting arms and into the very center of Christ. Finding Life in Him, Truth in Him, Justice and Mercy and Grace, and why didn't anyone ever tell me? That it is only in His will that we are ever free? That He is not religion? That we don't have to perform to be loved? We don't even have to be good?
The way He takes our suffering and holds us all close and dear. The way He waits for His people to call on Him. He may be a jealous God, but He does not force us to love Him. The way His kindness, and all that He accomplished on the cross leads us to repentance and a life that wants to honor Him. Just...the entire book of Romans and Ephesians, and all the Gospels together. The love story He writes so we can know Him and follow Him hard. This intimate Jesus and those eternal arms...
Where I belong,