Laughter, and noisy squeals of delight,
the sound of legs smacking cold tile as
Ring-Around-The-Rosies overtake tiny twirling girls.
First days at a new, SAFE job, first belly crawls across the floor, first words,
first counseling appointments and dentist visits,
first chocolate cake, first chicken and dumplings.
Learning to ride a bike, learning to drive a motorcycle.
There are moments like these and so many more that our house
is overflowing with JOY…simple joy, pure joy.
Joy for the sake of JOY.
All of this is true and yet behind that…
There remain the moments of climbing a jagged rock face of brutal emotion.
- Of walking in to find 18 month old baby and 16 year old mother…BOTH wailing, inconsolable tears on opposite ends of their shared twin size bed. Which do I comfort first…who needs to be held the most?
- The burden of making decisions that are painful and then enduring
the girls powerful resistance to them. Like, “I know you don’t want to go to counseling, but this is NOT optional.”
- Of finding one mother hoarding food, but not feeding her own child.
- Of carrying around in my heart two MORE girls, one recently rescued…one yet to be freed, who need a safe place…YESTERDAY.
- Of beginning the paperwork to bring the two, new girls home…surrendering more of my time, more of my space, more of my heart to their freedom and their care.
- Of being confronted moment-by-moment by my own littleness and inadequacy.
- Of being the “strong one,”whose heart refuses to bow to fear and yet never feeling quite strong enough.
It caught me off guard the other day to be laid flat by my own past when a miscellaneous Caucasian man sat down at the next table with his teenage son.
His presence, his shape, his sound brought an immediate and palpable reaction.
It has been a long time since I have felt that panic rising in my throat, the breathless, heart-racing suffocation as my body remembers before my mind. Then come unbidden images flashing through the corridors of my mind like an old time slide show.
The little red tennis shoes half hidden by matching crumpled overalls on the floor…the slow-motion spin of ceiling fan overhead, the cigarette dangling from unshaven lips.
And in a moment, I am transported from a little Thai restaurant with my husband to a cabin by the lake with a man I should have never known.
Half-a-world and a life-time away.
It is in these moments of climbing towards freedom, with bruised heart and bloody finger tips, trying valiantly to show our girls where the next fingerhold is, that I can feel the flood coming on, tears to cleanse, tears to release, tears to open, tears to break down strongholds. But up until now, tears IMPRISONED.
God has accomplished many things in the 6 weeks since the girls came to us. We have been witness to many beautiful victories. But in the stillness of this morning I am made deeply aware a significant failure on my part.
I have not allowed myself the LUXURY of crying.