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Love Song, II—Shadows

 . . . continued from Love Song, I
"We ought to obey God, rather than men. Even when He hands us the crucifix and bids us Come. 
And so we come, and die."

People always asked me if I wanted a large family. “You gonna have ten kids too?” A relevant question—falling on shadowed heart. “Well, probably not ten . . . ” I let trail off with a smile. I used to say I'd done everything a mother has, except give birth. While I’m sure that’s not the case, living in close quarters with several younger siblings afforded me much practice for mothering. I tried not to complain, but it left me exhausted. At sixteen, I wrote in my journal:
I hate myself. I am a jerk. Mom acts as though I hate the kids. I am such a rotten person. Mom told me how I have lost all my patience with the kids, that I am not patient anymore. I try so hard. What will it take? I try and pray and instead of improving, get told I have gotten worse! I’m so discouraged. I hate being impatient with them. I know I am sometimes. But it must be all the time, because mom says what she said. I’ll never become better. It’s so frustrating and it hurts. I wish I was so gentle and sweet and mom never had a reason to say anything like that. I hope God can use me. Use me, this clump of imperfection! This mess of impatience! This blob of sin!
As a perfectionist first born, my perceived failures as a sister and daughter, as “Happy Helping Hillary” fueled intense depression. Name-calling was not allowed, of course, yet subtle labels stung worse than petty words. Bossy. Impatient. Frivolous. Worldly. Dreamy. Impractical. All were bad. “You aren’t good enough,” messages sneered. The harder I tried to measure up, the louder they shrilled.

Sanctuary


We lived in a land far away, my sisters, brothers and I. At least it seemed so; surrounded by acres of field and wood, we scoured every inch of ground and knew every rut forged by deer. In spring, we exulted upon the Bridal Path—a dark, verdant knoll plush with ferns waist-high, fringed by Dogwoods dripping white blossoms. In summer our feet sank into gripping sands of the Sunny Meadow, which we raced across to pet horses who eyeballed us from neighbor’s pasture.

When we discovered a steep, long hill perfect for flying down on bikes, we rose at dawn and fought dewy webs of spiders who wove all through the night a mystical corridor, which caught our faces as we rode through. And after we dashed back to the frantic calls of parents who woke to find us vanished, the spiders sighed and shook their heads in despair, rolled up their sleeves, and set to work again.

Years and years we dwelt there, a sanctuary with shadows.


I knew where to go, when shadows lengthened, and darkness ached. You could always find me within the pine. Warm, fragrant silence emanated from serene timbers which anchored our land. We swayed in unison with summer, these trees and I, sharing a common bond, with our heads in the clouds. Lush branches with flowing green tresses hid me lovingly, inviting me to stay for long, lazy moments and dream, unrestrained. Home to a billion cicadas and the mournful cry of the whippoorwill, they regally presided while my child-fingers scrawled thousands of pages in my little books. They asked no questions, kept all secrets glimpsed over my shoulder.

I turned and returned to that safe place; I lay on soft, velvety needles while catching twinkles of sapphire sky. It winked at me and gently teased, spurring jealousy—for that great blue expanse did not know her fortune, to live next to God.

On this day, wind blew softly, warmly. My elbows bore tell-tale crisscross from leaning on the ground when I rolled to my stomach and picked up my journal. My eyes drifted “up there” while I scribbled. God, why did I have to be born? I just want to die . . .

 . . . to be continued.

3 comments:

  1. so glad you were...
    so thankful you didn't...
    love you so much..
    my sister
    in Christ

    <>< a

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm so glad you had a place of beauty to escape to sometimes. Mine was books, not necessarily for beauty, just to escape. I'm so glad you didn't lose your love of beauty like I did. It is coming back now, but often I have to remind myself to stop and see it. But at least I can see it now. :-)

    Thank you so much for sharing with us!

    ReplyDelete
  3. {{Anika}}

    Sharon ~ yes, books, and lots of them, too! Reading is what started my love of writing . . .

    I am praying especially today that God will settle His love like an embrace around you and surprise you with unexpected beauty.

    ReplyDelete

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