Month: March 2015

Five Minute Friday: Break

jesus_my_friend_176The minister tried to break my will. Though he hurt me, he failed. I am incredibly stubborn but have never imagined that my stubbornness saved me. There was Someone in my life Whose will he could never break. Though the minister didn’t know, that Someone has always had my back, kept His arms around me. The minister was never fighting me.

It’s sad.

I don’t know how, but I knew I was not to speak of my Friend to any of those around me unless he (or she) passed my litmus test: Do you know my Friend? Not just, can you talk about my Friend but do you know Him? Is He your Friend too? There is a je ne sais quoi about those who know Him. It’s not perfection. It’s hope and endurance and joy and the willingness to be wrong. It’s knowing that they too rest their heads on the shoulder of the One Who took on the sins of the world and not only didn’t break, but revealed sin and death as huge, terrible jokes.

I wish the minister had known my Friend. I hope at the moment he was dying, his heart and eyes opened and he saw my Friend reaching out to embrace him and tumbled into Jesus’ arms. The worst thing the minister did was refuse to let the best Friend ever break his stony heart and cradle him in His love. My heart still breaks for him.

*****************************

Every Friday,100s of bloggers set a timer, write for 5 minutes, and then publish the results. We don’t edit or engulf ourselves in concerns about whether our writing is worthy to be seen. We expose our incomplete, unpolished thoughts and words to each other and our readers. Kate Motaung’s, at  Heading Home, provides the prompt on Thursday evening. We all link our posts there and tweet them with the hashtag #FMFParty. Join us.

Five Minute Friday: Real

Beloved,

I will not leave you as orphans 1You’ve not returned me to my family but, in returning me to the Church, You’ve led me to family. There are others who know they are reaching for the same salvation as I, others who walk the same road as I. Some are acquaintances. Some are distant. But Bridgett and Robert are just two of those who love me as their sister. That’s mind-boggling. I still don’t understand how anyone who isn’t related to me, who isn’t my real family, would choose to make me part of his family. It’s the exact opposite of what I experienced with the minister. Though he lay claim to me, tried to control me, I was never a real part of his family. I was always an outsider and that’s what I’ve always expected. But Bridgett not only contacted me to offer me a plane ticket so I could attend Helena’s wedding, she and Robert paid my expenses while I visited. I didn’t think I’d be able to go but Bridgett wanted me there and made it happen. I’m still overwhelmed by the love and friendship she showers upon me.

On my nightstand, sits a card Robert recently sent me. He admires my faith, admires that I freely share it. He’s been my friend, my brother for more than ten years now. I never fantasized about a brother. I was either an only child, alone, or Aschenputtel, at the whim of the wicked strangers who delighted to torment me. But You didn’t follow my imaginary script. You did not leave me an orphan. I just didn’t know all the ways You “set the solitary in families.” (1) But You’re not limited by my lack of knowledge. You’ve given me what I never expected. Your love far exceeds my imagination.

(1) Psalm 68:6, AKJV

*****************************

Every Friday,100s of bloggers set a timer, write for 5 minutes, and then publish the results. We don’t edit or engulf ourselves in concerns about whether our writing is worthy to be seen. We expose our incomplete, unpolished thoughts and words to each other and our readers. Kate Motaung’s, at  Heading Home, provides the prompt on Thursday evening. We all link our posts there and tweet them with the hashtag #FMFParty. Join us.

Five Minute Friday: I Plan To Go Home

0 woman in blue velvet dressOne foot clad in black, Mary-Jane pumps banged against the chair rail with a dull thud. I had switched the lamp on the table to its dimmest setting, ready for our return. They will be down soon, I silently told one slim leg clad in off-white tights. I perused my dark blue, silk velvet dress for any specs of missed lint and, finding none, took in a deep satisfied breath: Finally, I’m where I belong.

“No!” I told myself. “I’m too tall now to swing my feet while sitting on a chair. It won’t be that way.”

The scene in my mind changed. This time I stood looking in the mirror. My short hair had been expertly slicked back, my eyes perfectly made up. This is where I belong, I firmly told myself.

“Something is off,” I told my Friend. Tears filled the corners of my eyes. “I imagine and plan and try to see myself as I will be when I’m finally with my parents and I just can’t get it right. How will I ever be ready to go home if I can’t even see it as possible? How can I plan if I don’t believe it will happen?”

I hid my head in my arms, my heart in the warmth of His embrace. He remained silent.

Image Source

*****************************

Every Friday,100s of bloggers set a timer, write for 5 minutes, and then publish the results. We don’t edit or engulf ourselves in concerns about whether our writing is worthy to be seen. We expose our incomplete, unpolished thoughts and words to each other and our readers. Kate Motaung’s, at  Heading Home, provides the prompt on Thursday evening. We all link our posts there and tweet them with the hashtag #FMFParty. Join us.

Leviathan Flees

For six weeks, Spring had been bringing fresh, mild days to New York but my body was hunched in the chair, my arms wrapped tightly around me as if to ward off a winter that refused to relinquish it’s hold; the warm sun had not penetrated the thick, chill fog that hung about me. My eyes had been red and swollen for several days… Ever since I’d written the letter to God… Ever since the words had spilled from my pen: ‘They lied to me.’

best woman crying sad sketchThe letter ended there. Its preamble had merely been an ineffective delaying tactic. And before the ink seeped into the paper, misery unleashed its power, left me with little except wet, salt-stung cheeks and eyes gritty with sand. Warmth fled. Laughter was unthinkable. Only fog remained. It penetrated to my depths, filled every empty space; I was a heavy blob of tears.

“How are you?” my therapist inquired after my hand reached for a wad of tissues to dab at dripping eyes and nose.

My lower lip trembled. The tissues made a quick swipe at my nose. My head shook. My nose sniffed damply and loudly. “I know what it is,” I whimpered. My face screwed itself up. The stream of tears burst its banks. Two more damp quick sniffs and then, “I know what I’m so afraid of.” My throat swallowed, my chest heaved up and down. “They lied to me,” my voice was a hoarse whisper.

My therapist leaned forward, “What do you mean?”

“When they sent me away,” more swallowing, more damp sniffs. Pained composure descended for a moment. “Papa sat me on his desk. I’d drawn some maraschino cherries for him. He took the drawing, told me it was beautiful, tacked it to the cork board above his desk,” the sniffing came again in short, sharp, moist bursts. My chest heaved out clicking breaths: huhnh, huhnh, huhnh, huhnh, huhnh!. The wet, shredded tissues scrubbed at my eyes and nose.

“He told me they were sending me away.” My face scrunched up as the words left my mouth. “He said they wanted me to be safe while they found the bad man, the man who hurt me.” My hand raised itself up to wipe at the liquid running from my nose. “I told him, ‘But I will never see you again.’ Papa pulled me against him and said, ‘Of course you will. You will be home before you know it.’ I shook my head against his chest and cried. My tears soaked through his sweater. I can feel the wool against my cheek. The warm, wet, woolly scent is in my nose,” my hand stroked my cheek where it had pressed against Papa’s chest.

After another loud sniff, I continued, “I told him I needed him. That I really would never see him again. He said, ‘You must be my brave little girl. And I will be right here if you need me.’ He held me away and looked into my face, ‘If you need me, draw maraschino cherries for me and ask Siobhan to send them. I’ll come right away.’ He held me close again, ‘We must make sure you’re safe. And as soon as the bad man is found, you will come right home.'”

My body shook. My hand reached for a wad of dry tissues. My chest tried to pull air into my blocked nose. My arms hugged my body tighter as it rocked to and fro.

“But what do you mean that they lied?”

My forehead scrunched. Why didn’t he understand? I took a deep breath, “He sent me away from the danger but they stayed and the danger killed them. He knew he was staying with the danger. He knew they would be killed. But he lied and said I’d be home before I knew it. He told me to send the maraschino cherries but he was dead and there wasn’t anybody to receive them. He’d never be able to come,” my voice tried to scream through the dampening tears.

When my breath eased “And Marmar knew too. She cried when I left. I can see her there. She cried so hard, Papa was supporting her. I had told her that I would never see her again just like I told Papa. But she said, ‘Don’t worry, my Lyssa. God will take good care of you. You’ll be home soon.’ But when I left, her heart was being ripped away and she knew it.”

My chest shook out breaths in short clicks: huhnh, huhnh, huhnh, huhnh, huhnh! Except for the wet, clicking noise, the room remained silent.

Finally, my therapist asked, “Did Professor Cumberlan learn when they died?”

The tears, though suspended, waited just within my eyes to burst forth again. With a loud sniff, my nose attempted to pull a breath past the congestion, “About three weeks after they sent me away. Probably a little less. They were walking in the park near our home. Someone shot them.” My forehead scrunched itself, “It’s as if I can feel what happened to them. Papa was shot in the neck. My head wants to snap to the side the way his must have. Marmar was shot in the abdomen. I can feel a big wound in my body.” Leaking tears quickly reverted to a torrent that weighed my head down and pulled me into a deeper slump.

“Small children often have a close connection with their parents,” he told the top of my head. “It’s not unusual that you would feel your parent’s deaths. But I think you’re wrong. I don’t think they lied to you.”

My head raised itself. My eyes examined his face. Another loud, wet sniff brought in enough air to whisper, “What do you mean?” Tears spilled over leaving salt tracks on my dark cotton skirt.

“You’re looking at it from a child’s perspective. You were afraid you’d never see them again. Somehow, you may have had a strong sense that you would never see them again. But they didn’t know. Three weeks isn’t a very long time. If your father knew they were in danger, he would have left just as he left South America.” My therapist took a breath and shaped each word clearly and precisely, “Your father loved you. He wanted you to be safe.” My mouth shaped itself into a small O as my head nodded slightly in agreement; the tears had subsided once again. “He didn’t set you up to be disappointed. He did what I would have done. He made sure you were safe and that you had a way to contact him.” My mouth widened itself to a pained pout. “He didn’t know. Neither did your mother. They believed you were in danger. But there was no reason for them to believe that they were also in danger.”

A hoarse squeak left my mouth, “Really?”

He leaned forward and looked directly in my eyes, “Do you believe your father deliberately set you up?”

Several moist sniffs pulled in air and pushed back tears. “No,” it came out in an almost voiceless whisper. My eyes widened. A pout pulled my lips out. Another sniff came. A few tears tumbled down. My voice sounded high and breathy, “But… I thought… I thought they lied.”

“You were wrong,” my therapist told me.

My mouth twisted itself into a confusion. Tears brimmed my lower lids.

“You were wrong,” he repeated.

My eyes narrowed, my neck twisted my head to one side as if my ears had caught a sound that was nearly, but not quite, audible. The almost sound coursed into my heart. “I was wrong,” I whispered. My barely audible voice released more tears, different tears, tears that washed long-caked debris from my heart.

After repairing my skirt and rinsing my face in the bathroom, I stepped out into the warmth of the Spring afternoon. There was a delicious, green scent in the air. The growing leaves seemed newly cut — laser cut — sharp, clear, in shades of green richer than I had seen before. The late afternoon sky had been washed with clear, soft blueness. Puffy white clouds, tinged with pinks lounged about. My body wanted to float alongside them. My legs, longing to dance, rejoiced in the swishing fabric of my long cotton skirt. My feet raise my ballet black flats in little sweeping kicks. “Is it always this beautiful?” I softly asked my Friend. “Why have I never seen it before?” I breathed in another draught of the sweet air. Hailing a taxi, I settled myself in the back and pressed my forehead against the cracked the window. The taxi’s wheels against the asphalt sang to me with each revolution, They didn’t lie.

* Image source.

Five Minute Friday: Gather

Once He gave me a lightening bolt.

Mt Saviour MonasteryAs I walked up the mountain to the women’s guesthouse from the chapel at Mount Saviour Monastery just outside Elmira, New York, I happily chatted with God. The week of silence and exquisite beauty had left me giddy with delight. Silence clears the heart and mind. And at Mount Saviour, silence is respected so much, those on silent retreat take meals separately from visitors who want company with their rest.

Walking up that mountain on the late-spring day when the rain came and went, my senses were filled with “what God hath wrought.” Each chipmunk, each deer, each bunny, each terrifying wasp spoke to me of the immense glory of God. At that moment, after evening prayer, I had only the inane chatter of an overwhelmed child who longed for the right words to say, “I love You.” I knew myself to be an infant in His presence, without words to express the depths of love my heart longed to sing.

Christ holding up childThen, in the misty evening, a lightening bolt creased the air and struck the path just in front of me as if God had gathered me up and swung high. The experience reminded me of times when Papa had caught me up when I was a little child. Back on the ground, back in this world, my feet were a little unsteady; my joy… In this world, how can I ever express my joy?

My breath caught in my chest: “You can do it again,” I asked/offered.

He declined.

Internal as well as external silence filled the remainder of my journey to the guesthouse. What could I say to the One who gave me a lightening bolt that didn’t terrify me when I am so terrified of being hit by lightening? I read eight languages and know, we just don’t have the words to respond when God gathers us up — at least not on this side of heaven.

*****************************

Every Friday,100s of bloggers set a timer, write for 5 minutes, and then publish the results. We don’t edit or engulf ourselves in concerns about whether our writing is worthy to be seen. We expose our incomplete, unpolished thoughts and words to each other and our readers. Kate Motaung’s, at  Heading Home, provides the prompt on Thursday evening. We all link our posts there and tweet them with the hashtag #FMFParty. Join us.

%d bloggers like this: