February 11, 2005

Don't Blink

As a child, the things I feared most were wide spaces that required me to cross them in order to reach my destination. I vividly recall being petrified to step over the vast space between the elevator car and the leaving of the safe, solid floor. My mother was embarrassed and pleaded with me to just get into the elevator. I couldn't do it. The doors closed. I waited, knowing her wrath would bring her down the stairs faster than I could get up them.

Once while camping, the beauty of Turner Falls spurred us to a lovely afternoon hike. Not lovely for long. We came across a wide crevice, but nothing that couldn't be crossed with a run and a jump. I watched everyone else do it, and even told myself that I could make it across. As the group waited for me on the other side, I stood, willing myself to make the leap. After five minutes of good-hearted cheering, I realized it wouldn't happen. I sent them on ahead and sat and waited.

Escalators presented problems for me, as well; all those steps rising and disappearing were just too creepy. Instead of helping me understand my fear, my mother reacted to me with frustration, embarrassment, anger. She was forced to take the steps so many times because of me, yanking me by the hand; I double-timed each one, desperately hiding my relief so as not to provoke her further.

It is obvious to me now that I was afraid of being swallowed up; forgotten, and there would be no proof that my pitiful life had even existed. I desperately wanted a witness that I had been here, that I had lived and breathed. Each day I was forgotten by the one who gave birth to me, and if a mother can so easily forget her child, how easy could it be for the child's very existence to just fade away? I wanted my life, meager and depressing as it was, to not go unnoticed.

Years later, R and I sat in church, the older two children somewhere in the building happily listening to a story told with miniature Richard Burton-Elizabeth Tayloresque felts, and the baby C was sleeping on my lap. The sanctuary was warm, and the pastor's voice drizzled over my head and into my ears, sticky and thick. My mind drifted and my eyebrows repeatedly hiked up my eyelids in an effort not to give into the sleep that was tempting me. From somewhere in the fuzziness of my head, I heard "Though my father and mother have forsaken me, the Lord will take me up." The pastor briefly referenced the quoted scripture and went on with his sermon. Psalm 27:10. I have never forgotten it. In that moment, I knew that God was assuring me with the man at my side, the sleeping babe on my lap, the two other little girls contentedly coloring in another room, the one that would be making her way to us in a few years, that a tiny part of me would always continue to be present on this earth. I would not soon be forgotten. But even deeper than that, I realized that should the memory of his wife, or their mother somehow escape them, the Lover of My Soul, would never, could never, remove me from His heart; couldn't forget. I wouldn't be swallowed up by all the sadness, all the pain, all the neglect. The greatest crevasse had been jumped in that second of realization, and I had landed safe and secure on the other side.

Posted by Rae at February 11, 2005 11:13 PM

I have never understand how you can take something so simple as a fear to cross open spaces and turn into a beautiful story of how you overcame it and how it changed your life. You have this way of making your stories turn into wonderful works of art on paper (or in this case), screen. If you ever write a book and it is published (or not) I want to be one of the first to read it. I love you

Posted by: Sally at February 11, 2005 02:17 PM

I agree with Sally.
Despite what you have been through in all of your life, you are a great mother and wife and sister and daughter and soon to be sister-in-law. I am so proud to be able to call you that! It's amazing when you see people take bad experiences and turn them into something beneficial. And you do this well! [I, however, do not!] Seriously, you make me want to be a better woman. love you.

Posted by: Ann at February 11, 2005 03:45 PM

Rae, these PYTs (Prince) need to hear the enduring story of the RUBBERBANDS!! GAFAW (phonetic spelling of a very loud laugh);-)

Love and miss ya, Kelli

Posted by: Special K at February 11, 2005 04:30 PM

He always knows exactly what we need and how to say it, doesn't He? Thank you for the reminder of His tenderness to us, Rae. I didn't know I needed it until I read your post.

Posted by: Cindy at February 11, 2005 05:29 PM

Lovely, well written.

Posted by: Greg at February 12, 2005 06:39 PM

Sally- I had to take something simple and make it into something pretty and acceptable in order to live ;) Thank you, sis.

Ann-seeing what has come of me and considering where I've come from is what compelled my belief in predestination. There is no other way that it makes logical sense. I believe with time, Ann, you will be able to take anything that you find challenging and try to make some sense out of it, and find a way to see it making you stronger.

Special K- your order has been filled ;)

Cindy- your writing always reminds me to see God's hand in everything in my life; making the mundance magnificent.

Greg- thank you.

Posted by: Rae at February 13, 2005 07:16 PM

::: resting my eyes for a moment, breeze rustles through the spirit. Not alone...Comfort comes :::

Rae, in June a lot of people will be reading about my own abandonment...this post...well...there aren't any more words but thanks.

Posted by: VeilTraveler at February 14, 2005 08:18 PM

I look forward to reading, Randy and I am glad that this touched your heart.

Posted by: Rae at February 15, 2005 07:54 AM
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