I surprised myself and never doubted my decision. In general, this is not me. Time has passed now and the weave and texture of each word, each encounter, I fear will become less significant.
That the beauty of the right word at the right time will be wasted and fade into the mix of my crazy busy days of late.
Two weeks ago now, I needed a place to stay and secretly hoped to be invited by my cousin.
An overnight trip to prepare Austin for college. Normally, I’d treasure time alone, hotel room, book, hot bath.
Yet, I was intrigued by the idea of meeting up with my cousin.
This is new and strange behavior for me.
I am not a “friend-ly” person.
Never one to congregate, weekend for girls, or endless daily talks with girlfriends.
Maybe it’s growing up the only little girl in a rowdy “little rascals” type neighborhood, or most likely just the cautiously introverted thinker I am.
I have lots to say, I’m just particular about who I say it to. Because it’s usually an honest conversation, I’m careful to engage.
Not much on shallow filling of conversation space with talk about the insignificant
Always been the one to think about the back scene of people’s circumstances and stories.
So, to be excited to have dinner and conversation in a home with a distant cousin and her husband on a trip to decide my son’s future…
Again, strange, atypical behavior for me that might require small talk.
Strange for her too, maybe not having seen me in about 20 years. Her husband questioned the offer.
My husband questioned my acceptance.
I imagined cool conversations about children, God, and touching up paintings of childhood memories.
I found their home and stepped onto the beautiful porch overlooking the marsh, consoling her dogs as I walked up, a stranger, and then she greeted me and we hugged, big southern girl cousin hugs and she said…stepping back
“Oh, my goodness, you look like your mama.”
I replied, honestly and without hesitation “I know. Some days that’s good, others not so much.”
And then, we began the filling in of the missing years, the misconceptions, myths and the preconceptions.
Family junk, legacy, laughter, closeted skeleton stories
Threads of our pasts more than anything at all…most of all our faith in God.
Our dinner and breakfast conversations all about childhoods both blessed and marred…commonalities and clarity.
Vickie called it a “thread”…such a tender strand of strength we both held.
A powerful acknowledgement of ” what messes our lives have been…but grace…
She prayed the right prayers, said the right things. Words just bounced between us, meaningful ones I grasped like a quick reaching up with hand to embrace, hold softly and tightly in my palm.
“Keeping this one.”
At church, I was greeted by a woman who said.
“You’re growing. I can see it.”
Years ago, this same person anxiously approached me offering an embrace. She sensed and I believe, was told that I’m not so open to hugs and attention and overwhelming questions about myself, my life. Over time she honored that, yet continued to greet me with a handshake and a smile…still though strong words of encouragement and of reinforcement of my faith path.
Saying things like…”God has great plans for you.” or “I love to read your column. God is using you.”
I smiled and said ” Thank you.” Still sort of awkwardly feeling as if her eye was constantly on me.
The closeness made me feel oddly inadequate. So, I avoided her and she retreated, until one Sunday. One sentence.
She and I, in the church bathroom, washing hands together. Miss Bobbie, a thread in my pattern.
“You are growing. I can see it.” Miss Bobbie
Several days ago, I commented on a blog post by Jennifer Dukes Lee about being homesick, about her struggles to find her way as a college student. Jennifer’s struggle to find her way resonated with me in a way much broader. My struggle was about prayer.
My struggle was simple, but, oh so destructive. I did not believe God heard my prayers, therefore I had decided it was too hard to pray for fear of delay or disappointment.
I bravely commented on Jennifer’s blog.
” I have a tendency to pray half-heartedly to avoid disappointment.”
And Jennifer Dukes Lee responded to God’s prompting, just for me at just this time with:
“When I get weary of praying I remember that one day I will be in Heaven and when I get there and meet God, I want Him to recognize me as woman who was persistent in prayer.” Jennifer
A thread in my pattern, Jennifer, a woman I’ve never met.
And early this morning my friend Debra greeted me via Facebook and coffee together, but miles apart.
” I pray for you daily.”
Debra, a thread in my pattern
My growing pattern.
And like Jennifer, I want to be recognized by God and even now in my earthly, chaotic, doubtful days I am hearing Him say so, so clearly…
“You are growing, Lisa. I see it.” God