I know where my help comes from. Do you?
When she asks me why I am crying, I can not speak. I send her away with the words all mommas use so often it’s second nature.
“In a minute.”
She has come upon me unexpected, caught me in the grip of a journey’s end emotion.
I redirect her, unable to untangle my thoughts and feelings.
“Don’t you need to get ready for dance?”
She looks at me sideways, then nods. She knows me well and gives me the small moment of peace I need. I know her, too. She will be back in two heartbeats. I breathe.
When she returns, I am ready and not ready.
I start out OK. I tell her how proud I am of her. Half a sentence into the conversation, words have trouble squeezing past my heart. They come out wobbly but march on.
Baby Girl has had hard, hard times. Life is harsh to our young. No one grows up without a heavy dose of pain.
If I had one real come-true wish I would make the world gentle for her, but I can’t. The enemy is often invisible, but the battle scars are there, plain to see. When she lets me.
On this day she is going to rehearse a dance she choreographed to Beauty From Pain. One she will dance on stage in front of the whole world and everyone who is watching. She will dance with all the grace she can muster. She will dance with all she has, speak with movement and make the song sing a new way.
I tell her, “I know what the dance means—I know what this cost you.”
We can’t look at each other in the eye because now is not the time to puddle up.
Instead, I wrap my arms around her and she rests, enveloped. Her hair is in my face. It should be pony tailed or bunned. She needs to get ready. I don’t release her yet. I tell her to make sure she takes a water bottle. An experienced dancer, she does not need this advice at all.
She nods and I let her go.
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Are you weary?
You are who He says you are.
Rock of Ages cleft for me, let me hide the shame of what was done to me and the shame of what’s become of me. Hide the tears and the wounds I’ve suffered, and those I have inflicted. Let the water and the blood cover me. Hide my anguish at the sin perpetrated upon me and the sins that I have embraced.
Rock of Ages cleft for me, let me hide.
Let not the labor of my hands deceive me, no restitution is found there. Only hiding in You will save me. I have nothing to give you, only my barren soul. To Your promise I will cling until at last I see You, my heart still singing, Rock of Ages cleft for me, let me hide.
This post is part of the Five Minute Friday link-up. Bloggers from all over respond to the week’s prompt by writing for five minutes. The prompt of Hide for this week’s Five Minute Friday made me sing, cry, and pray.
Want to add your voice? Pop on over to Kate’s site. There’s room.
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What’s your story?
I try to focus on the word kindness, to find meaning in the concept. It’s useless. No idea comes.
Instead, a memory, and not one of a kindness given or received. It is one of those that comes unbidden, in early mornings or late at night when the quiet allows things pushed away into the corners to creep out and demand attention.
In the memory, he is eighteen years old and comes to stand beside me. I am in the kitchen, where moms of many spend a lot of time, my hands busy, taking care, doing one of the small tasks that make up my one best job.
“I have to tell you something,” he says.
His usual method of communication is to launch into loud and long dialog while his audience either keeps up or watches the blur. This preamble means it is serious. He often does this with things that bother him, his expression morose and tragic. Usually the situation is not. He shifts his feet. I finish what I am doing and give my absolute attention to him. He takes a deep breath and blows it out in a hard, fast exhalation.
He looks so very small, suddenly. This is not guilt, or a request, or a confession. It is something else. He is troubled and sad.
“A long time ago,” he says, “when we were at church, a lady said something really mean.”
This is about his little brother.
A tingle starts between my shoulder blades as the muscles tense, but so many things are open to interpretation. I try to relax. I tip my head to the side and nod for him to continue.
He tells me the words she said and the words, though spoken years ago, are still sharp. “Shouldn’t be allowed” and “normal” and more. They buzz in my ears too loud and hurt, hurt, hurt. The air and sun of seasons gone by have not diluted their terrible power to cut.
The greatest danger of motherhood is the inevitable vulnerability of her tender, unguardable heart.
He stands there, with little boy eyes and slumped shoulders. He has borne this burden a long time, taking the arrows for his brother, for me. The man and the boy are all mixed up. Here is my child, made a man too young, now a grown man with a five o’clock shadow at eleven in the morning, still carrying manly boyhood wounds.
Why would a person say such things to a child about his younger sibling? I want to bind my boy’s hurts, to gather up the pieces of his grief and take them away, to cry, to scream, to use my own words against the one who has injured him so. Instead, I am quietly still. Tight anger is my shield against overwhelming helplessness.
He will not tell me who. He says he does not really know her. He doesn’t remember. But his eyes shift. Still taking arrows, he stands on this with fists clenched tightly around small secrets. There is nowhere for my Momma Bear fierceness to go.
I offer cliché-filled wisdom and rub wide circles on his broad back, pat his arm. We talk. I fix him a glass of sweet tea, give every bit of motherly comfort I can scrape up.
Life goes on and I try to forget about it, to disregard the mutterings of a mean-spirited woman and the scars left behind. I say to myself, “This is her problem, not mine,” and I shake my head at people like that.
Yet it haunts me. The pain in his eyes, and the unspeakable words still there, swirling about in the air and in my mind, never fading.
Kindness. This was not kindness. Then, out of the salt, I know what to do.
I pray for her.
I am surprised by the way it washes me, this act of kindness. And in this, I discover an even greater act of kindness, one toward myself. In one step of faith and obedience towards forgiving the unforgivable, the impossible happens.
In one step of faith and obedience towards forgiving the unforgivable, the impossible happens. (Tweet This)
Healing and freedom begin to take root.
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Is this it? I look back and see the path. It all makes sense now. But still, the destination, where I stand now, is not what I expected.
The gains seem so small to have traveled such a long and treacherous journey. My eyes were on the mountains and here we are at the end—another valley.
I feel cheated. More than that. Defeated. How can this be it?
My ways are not your ways.
I know. Fleshy logic and spiritual faith have worn a rock strewn battlefield across my deep places. There is a way which seems right to man, but that’s not the right way. As confusing as the path has been, His directions always worked better than mine. After all, He designed this path.
When I quiet the wailing of my soul I hear it. Static I can only discern in the midst of purposeful stillness. A hiss. The Lie. The lie that tells me I cannot trust Him. That ancient deception started so long ago when the world was a young garden.
I make the obvious choice, to choose belief in the Faithful.
The scales shift.
No sudden, new eyes. No great moving of mountains. The valley is still a valley, and I still mourn. Yet the breeze carries sweetness. I close my eyes to inhale.
This valley is not the mountain top, but it is a green valley, and my Father has brought me here. (Tweet This)
This is it.
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Last night I had a dream.
I was at an event, a gathering full of noise and laughter, but I left it behind to enter a side room through a set of French doors. Here was a sun room, narrow and comfortable, furnished with brown chairs and pleasant decor that reflected the light. There were a few plants and a rug. Everything had a muted aura, a wash of coloring that was not quite sepia, but more of a golden hazy glow reminding me of a movie effect to put viewers in mind of memories or what-ifs.
My dad was there, and in his right mind. I was bringing him a plate of food. I handed it to him and he asked me to sit a while, so I did.
It was him, but without baggage, and we talked with the ease of old friends. After what seemed a long time, he let out a deep sigh that came from the very soles of his feet. He set his unfinished plate on the wooden side table.
“I know this is your party,” he nodded toward the door that led to the large room, “But would you do something for me?”
“What is it?” I asked.
“My birthday is not for months,” he said. “I want to celebrate early.” His hands rested on his knees. Hands I knew, but didn’t know. He squinted up at me through his glasses. “Will you come?”
I grinned with a child’s delight. “Of course I will.”
He opened his arms to me and I went to him. Our arms wrapped around each other and nothing else took up the spaces between us. I could feel his frame, but not the sharpness of his bones. Then I let him go.
It was a beautiful dream.