Yesterday was a busy church service….it was the Sunday to recognize the conclusion of many achievements from members of the congregation….things like recognizing our teachers, high school and college graduates…even pre-school graduates…yes, you little Andrew.
It was also confirmation Sunday and it touched my heart to see these amazing young people, including my mentored recipient, Sara Limehouse, becoming an official member of the church by her own volition. I had forgotten how much I loved this age and teaching my eighth graders….Sara was wise beyond her years and a joy to mentor.
In fact as each confirmand read their statement of faith to the session yesterday, I couldn’t help but think, that it wouldn’t be a bad idea for all of us…to pause occasionally, and think about what our own statement of faith would look like now, as we near the back end of our path, instead of the beginning. Interesting thought.
One thing that stood out to me as I reflected on the time spent with my confirmand over the past last few months…is that I hope Sara realizes now that she will never be alone. By accepting God as her Creator and the One who will lead her down her own personal path…she is admitting that she alone can’t make the journey but she also recognizes and now understands that she will never be alone on it. What a huge relief!
Sarah Addison Allen, one of my favorite “magical realist” authors, whom I have talked about on the blog a few times, also keeps up a blog and while helping her mother through a long illness, as well as, finishing up her latest novel…she writes short stories in it… based on phrases or pictures she comes across.
This is the picture Sarah found to build her short story around.
Cara was raised by her Gran, and Gran loved Cara fiercely from the moment the four-year-old was delivered to her doorstep, which had surprised everyone who’d known this infamously ornery old woman. It was a love demonstrated with sausage balls every Christmas and chocolate cake made with coffee every birthday, and quick, dry kisses on the cheek before school, and sometimes even a hard whack on the leg with a wooden spoon if Cara gave her too much sass.
Cara spent her whole life trying to dodge those kisses, and giving heavy sighs when made to sit down to a meal with Gran. But on her birthday — her twenty-second — just weeks after her Gran had died, when no birthday call came, and no tiny, creaky voice demanded that she come by to pick up a lopsided cake decorated with candles recycled from several previous cakes, Cara sat down at her desk in her solitary home office and cried all day. Cried because she knew she would never be loved like that again, cried because she was no longer the most important person in anyone’s life. That kind of sadness reaches like tentacles to grab onto thoughts of why friends hadn’t emailed lately to ask how she was doing, even when she knew they were happily posting on Facebook. She felt alone, drifting, when everyone else around her seemed anchored to support systems she no longer had.
When Cara finally lifted her head from her desk, it was late afternoon, and the setting sun was casting shadows around her office. She was about to stand when her puffy eyes traveled to the wall before her.
There were words there that had not been there before.
“YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN ANYTHING.”
Those were the exact words her Gran had said to her when Cara had shown up on her doorstep with the social worker after her parents had died.
The trick, Cara realized, is not waiting for someone to come to you, but to show up to them. To knock on their door carrying all your sadness and loneliness with you like a suitcase, and to know that they will open the door and let you in.
With a deep breath, she reached for her phone.
Sarah leaves the story open-ended on purpose for any one of her readers to finish it… if they so desire….to use their own creative ending.
For me Cara is learning that hard lesson in life…that in order to have friends…one must first be a friend. Sometimes just reaching out for help is the best thing one can do…a knock on the door can change all the possibilities that lie beyond it.
So until tomorrow….None of us is ever alone. We are all connected to the universe, and as such, we are all an important piece of the puzzle of life. We should never forget that…
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh