For the week ending Sept. 23, 2007
This weekend ten bright-eyed, seven and eight-year-old girls took me to see God at a North Georgia lake. I didn’t want to go, but they convinced me it would be soooo awesome if I did, actually one girl in particular.
Her name is YoYo, short for Yolanda. She’s in my daughter, Selah’s Girlscout Brownie troop. Her sweet face matches her sweet spirit. She has a twin brother that plays flag football. On most Saturday mornings she cheers for his team on the cheerleading squad. But this Saturday she decided to come cheer me on. And I needed her.
YoYo often reminded me of Selah. They look alike sometimes. They care about people, yet YoYo has an older soul. Selah is all HighSchool Musical. And like Selah, sometimes I watch YoYo to see her mind turning. She’s taking life in and trying to find her place in the world. I could burst her bubble, and tell her that it’s never gonna happen. But I did find my place a few years ago. Now I’m 34 years old, and lately, I can’t find my way back to myself. So I watch YoYo, hoping that she could provide me a map back to me.
See. My home wasn't hard to find if you loved to linger on words. Juicy, selah kind of words that spoke truth, shed light, and gave peace. My home was bricked in contagious joy and amazing freedom, nothing bad in the world could move it. So it’s not lost. I’m the fool who’s lost. And to make matters worse, my own words didn’t provide any breadcrumbs home anymore either.
This past spring I lost a child. I think I also lost my kick/my inspiration for writing at the same time. I write, then I cut what I write. It doesn’t feel real enough. My stories don’t make sense. I rewrite the story. Cut. Hate it, because somewhere in the rewriting process I cut my love of storytelling out. When I sit down to tell a story it dies before the first sentence really begins. Every story has become a symbol of my loss child. I choke. I can’t find the strength to complete them.
I prayed to God about it. The Holy Spirit showed me some scriptures. My Sunday School class have all prayed with me. The church don’t bother me when I’m at the chancel rail anymore. They know I’m going through something deep. I’m sure Christ does, too, because every time I tried to back out of that camping trip, YoYo called me to thanked me for taking her again. And so did Selah, Victoria, Haley, Olivia, Morgan, Ayden, Emily, Abbey, Rachel, and Sarah, the young women of the GirlScout Troop I lead. Thank God six of my good friends, who are adult leaders in our troop had enough patience and grace to accompany us.
So I promised them I’d teach them about the stars and the constellations. YoYo promised me she would help me gather clues to get me home.
“Like a scavenger hunt?” I asked.
“Yep.” She smiled. “And I think our first clue is somewhere around that lake.” She pointed north of the campsite.
So we went.
But before I could get going I became sick. To my horror, while my GirlScout troop stood outside our campsite restroom waiting for me, I lost my lunch.
Just a little background:Last year when the girls and I went to camp I was sick with bronchitis. I spent most of the trip hacking and hovering in the tent. This year I prayed to God, I ate good foods, got eight hours of sleep, began working out so that I would not be sick this time this year again. Last week I became sick. I couldn’t talk or get out of bed until Wednesday afternoon. I was horrified.
Selah is my only child. And I felt like I had let her down so much in her young life. If she knew I was sick, I just couldn’t take it. I told the girls to go on. I would catch up. Truthfully, I didn’t know if I could. I became very sad and cried.
But YoYo didn’t leave me. She sat on the bench outside the bathroom stall and cheered me on.
“Don’t give up,” she said. “You’ll feel better once you see the lake. I promise.”
I cleaned myself up and went to catch up with the girls. Didn’t know I could do it, but I was going to try. A bible verse flowed through my ears. Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.(Hebrews 12:1-3.)
YoYo took my hand and led me down the trail. I found the girls at the depot. They were buying fans to cool themseves for the hike. Every girl came to me and tried to cool me with their fans. Some gave me water. I felt baptized. Renewed.
We hiked around the lake. Kim, our Camping Queen Diva taught us about the lake and the obstacle courses our girls could take when they were older. I marveled at her insight. I also quaked in fear, because she was leaving me. Her family were moving away next month. This woman has been a rock for me and Selah for the past three years. As she talked I selfishly thought to myself, what am I going to do without her? I can’t take care of myself and especially not this troop without her?
I had had enough of losing loved ones this year, if you know what I mean...
YoYo reminded me of the other five women hiking along beside us: Cyndi, Lisa, Grace, and Marvia. They were soaking in Kim’s words. They could carry her torches. I would be alright. My nerves began to calm.
Before I knew it we had completed the hike. I felt invigorated. So invigorated I thought to myself. Shoot. I can carry a torch or two, too. Perhaps God needs Kim elsewhere, to teach more women like me. Perhaps God wanted me and the other five to take Kim’s place in our community, teach others, be saving graces to them. I began to feel better about my future until I became sick again.
So I headed back to the restroom. A nice cool shower would get my body temperature right. I could clean off this illness and just relax. The girls were preparing dinner. The rest of the evening would be a piece of cake.
But the shower didn’t help. I felt worse. This time I knew for the troop’s best interest I needed to go home. I cried again.
YoYo stood by the stall, then whispered. "Remember the clues."
"What clue?" I asked."The only thing I saw at the lake was water, some spider webs, a snake and obstacle courses."
"That's the clues," she said.
While in my stall, Selah and Ayden came to me. They wanted to know what I wanted to eat. They made me so happy and sad at the same time. I knew I needed to go home, then.But I placed my order. Maybe dinner would make me feel better. It would also give me some time to figure out these clues.
Needless to say dinner was great, dessert was even better, but then the shakes came again. I shuddered. What clues? Water, spiderwebs, snakes and obstacles...I couldn't take it anymore.
Lisa, one of the moms was leaving at nightfall. I decided to leave with her. I felt like a big let down. A loser. I still do when I let myself.
To my surprise Selah didn't cry and YoYo had gone asleep. Maybe after I had a good night's sleep I could make sense of her clues.
And I did...
the water: "But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to Eternal Life." (John 4:14 RSV)Eternal. I am never old, sick or lost. I am eternal. As a child I lived as if I would lie forever. Now that I know I am, why don't I act like it?
spider web: "They weave the spider's web."--Isaiah 59:5 The answer to that question is my faith is frail. Right now it doesn't take much trouble in my life to cause me to question it. Webs are beautifully designed, but weak enough to blow anywhere the wind blows. Although my intentions are good, I do too much and have worn myself thin. I need to feel okay with having free time. Why do we swell our time with so many activities? We need time to reflect and rejuvenate our minds and bodies.
a snake: Whisperer. For the past few years I have visited and reported on many churches and pastors for various Christian periodicals. I've heard whispers and rumors and enough lies to make an atheist dance. These disappointments have begun to cloud my judgment. Like Eve at the tree of life I'm a bite away from knowing way too much for my soul to endure.(exodus 4:3) I need to step back and let the mystery of the world be enough.
obstacles: my disability, my race, my sex, my income are all obstacles that keep me from thinking i'm not worthy enough to live the dreams God has given me. moreover i need to use these obstacles to take me to a higher place in my faith.
YoYo, "I got it!"
So I am going to move forward. Tomorrow I have PTA, and unfortunately I have some hard choices to make regarding that. Fortunately for my soul, I will have more time for me to get back to me.
And if you don’t know by now…YoYo is me.