The nightly news is disheartening: fire, rape, perversion, dishonor, killing, damage, discontent and leprechauns on the weather map.
I'm almost 31. When did that happen?!?!? I feel like it should mean something. (Pause for fit of spastic laughter).
My nephew was 14 Saturday. When I called to offer the proper congratulations, I didn't recognize his voice. He's almost taller than me. Sigh. My niece was 3 today. I forgot to call her.
The last couple days could be classified under "humdinger": noun. informal. - a person, thing, action, or statement of remarkable excellence or effect. Origin: 1885–90. There's a good Colorado word for you. Envision it said by a wizened old rancher in overalls with a hay stalk in his mouth and you'll be set. They were remarkable alright. Excellent? Not so much. They were the kind of days that left behind a bruised heart and pounding head and yet find me saying something stupid like, "I've had better Mondays." or "It's been a long week today." When the truth is I've been acutely aware of every sound, color, smell, and conversation. At the same time, I'm numb and can't find words to explain anything. Especially for the dearly aggravating friends who pose "What are you thinking and feeling right now?" questions to me. For all their attentiveness all they got was, "Uuuuuuh." One of them asked me, "How is your mind? How is your soul?"
My mind: is blank. I'm spent. I'm weary. I'm thinking I can't do this.
My soul: is sad. It hurts. It's been conned, played and lied to and it's angry.
Now that you're stamping your feet in irritation for me to get to the point (yea, right), I'll try.
One of the greatest disadvantages to this job of mine is that I cannot make these young moms get it. I cannot force them to believe - me or God. I cannot save them - from themselves, their past or their future.
All I can do is love them. I love easily and I love hard. It's either all or nothin'. And I am keenly aware that love them is also what I cannot do. For whatever reason Jesus has regenerated this introverted, selfish, cynical, judgmental girl and He loves them through me. I can't help it. I always was a sucker for the bullied kid cowering in the corner of the playground.
Today I said goodbye to a girl who no longer wanted to stay. She coudn't just say so. She had to make a scene, break some rules, blame everyone else and get flat out nasty. Who am I to stop her. Go please. There's the door. Take the nastiness with you. And all the love you've received. And the support. And the care. Cause it's not gonna change. The part about us loving you anyway.
I carried her bags to my car and smelled the stale french fry grease in the air from the Burger King around the corner, cast a wary eye at the cloudy gray day and wondered how long I'd remember that moment. The hour and a half ride from Lancaster county to west Philly passed in silence. We pulled into her street and stepped out into the voices ringing out from around the block welcoming her home. Her family members slowly emerged one by one onto the rickety wooden steps of their piece of porch. I already stood out as the only white girl on the street. I want to cause a bigger scene and go for my best gansta impersonation, effect a pose and yell, "She don't belong here no more. She belongs with me. She ain't got no sense. Yo." I restrained myself and stuck to carrying her bags across the one way street, up the steps, and into the old house. I hadn't wanted to see her world under these circumstances. People came from all directions to carry her life back into the old row home, then retreated to their own porches and front steps. I closed the tape patched stained glass door behind me and sat with her family while the paper work was passed around and half-mocking insults flew. Approximately an hour later I kissed Gramma goodbye, attempted one last seed-planting effort in the stubborn soil of a seventeen year old heart and drove back to farm country. About 10 minutes in the silence was more than I could take and I called for processing time with whatever friend I could find.
To those of you who probed and pried and are yet lurking here. Thank you. I remember days when I was not strong enough to call for help. Now I know that I am not strong enough, and so I do. Thank you for listening, for asking, for hearing me out then gently distracting my aching heart and coaxing out a smile. I feel guilty. I also know I could not go on without you.