Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Moments of Safety & Daily Gratitudes(21)

Today was an interesting day. I was not as easily agitated so that's always a good thing.

Another student has moved. That's the one thing I really dislike about Title 1 programs/schools; the students lives are often so transitional. Some years, it feels as if the classroom door should be one of those revolving doors.

Our campus had "crazy hair day" today which frightened one of my little loves who simply does not like change. About 1/2 way into the day, he seemed better and acted as if he felt a bit more secure. Lord help him with costume day tomorrow(!!)

His fearful reaction prompted an interesting lunchtime with co-workers conversation about our own individual fears (as children and adults). I was definitely more of a listener than a talker but the talk did set my mind running.

When I was a little girl, whenever I was in the presence of my mom's dad (my granddaddy), I felt so safe; especially when I sat in his lap in the recliner. He is the only man that I saw my dad show sincere respect for. When Granddaddy was around, my dad even gave up HIS recliner. I was awestruck. When cancer took Granddaddy's life when I was 13, safety ended for a while. By the time I was 15, David was my ultimate safety. Simply knowing that I would see him at every church service made the tough days in between much more bearable. He remained a place of security and safety until his death in 2008.

For reasons beyond my comprehension, God has always allowed loving, caring people to be a part of my life. Mamaw and Papaw D. right next door, Wayne and Becky across the street, David and Coralee through church along with Keith and Vickie just to name a few. I didn't have many friends growing up that I considered "close" except for Bobbie, Kelly, Kristina, and Elaine but even those "BFFs" were guarded relationships because of my situation regarding my dad and his chosen lifestyle. Even more so, after the deaths of Kelly and Elaine.

There were always adults (in my childhood, teen, and young adult life) that kept a special eye on me and helped me to overcome some seemingly insurmountable  situations. I will never be able to fully express my gratitude for the love and care I received from those "angels in disguise".

When I was finally able to leave my childhood home, I did so immediately (within 8 hours of my high school graduation ceremony). That task would have been IMPOSSIBLE without the God-loving folks who worked behind-the-scenes to make that a reality. Even though I may never fully understand the personal sacrifices that were made to give me a chance at a better life, I will ALWAYS be fully appreciative.

When thinking about the times that I have felt as if I were 100% safe, with absolutely nothing to fear came down to 5 distinct memories.

#1: While in college, I shared a disturbing childhood memory with a much-loved friend. He lovingly held me within his arms as I sobbed. If my memory serves me correctly, he and I were in a car outside of a movie theater. That was the first time EVER that I openly cried in front of anyone, beyond just having tears gradually fall from tear-filled eyes. I could have stayed within the strength of his arms forever.

#2: In an Oklahoma hotel room with my college roommate in the dark, early hours of morning. She knew that something was deeply bothering me. It took me several days to 'open up'. I was beyond scared of the my potential reality and possibly even more afraid of her reaction/response. She was immediately comforting, reassuring, somewhat took control of the situation and never faltered until the potential "crisis" had passed.

#3: In a small Arkansaa IHOP/Waffle House style cafe in 1995 after reuniting with the much-loved friend mentioned in #1.

#4: In 2004, when I fully realized that my life was not anything that I had envisioned or hoped for. I was beyond devastated. I wasn't even able to force words. I went straight to Randy's office, used my key to wait for him in the reception area. He walked out a bit later, simply looked at me and I don't even remember immediately afterwards. My next realization was his arms holding me tightly as I mumbled nonsense and bawled. I'm glad that I didn't know then what that awareness would lead to.

#5: Shameful and embarrassing memory of what I had planned to be my final goodbye. I had spent close to a year of expressing gratitude and repentance to those in my life either in personal visits, phone calls, hand-delivered letters and hand written letters that were to be read afterwards.  All finally seemed to be in order so I drove to  Greenville for a "surprise visit" with Dave & Cora. After worship services, we went out to eat at IHOP.  We sat there for hours talking, laughing and even shedding a few tears. By the time we left the restaurant, it was well into the night. They didn't want me to drive back to Tyler that night & encouraged me to spend the night at their house. My husband knew that I had taken the next day off of work and thought I was spending the night at my parents home. I lied to Dave for the 1st and last time that night. No one knew of my real plan. Coralee, the kids and I said our goodbyes and they walked on to their vehicle. Dave walked me over to my car. He lovingly tapped my chin to look directly into his eyes and questioned me again about spending the night. I reassured him that I would be fine. We hugged goodbye. He walked away and the tears filled my eyes. I called out to him. He walked back, placed his arm around me, and I laid my head upon his shoulder as I had so often done before. Ironic that I was inwardly in such turmoil that death seemed the best option yet as my head rested upon his shoulder, I felt such peace. I knew, at that moment, that death wasn't what I truly wanted. My deepest desire was to actually feel and be safe in the presence of ones I loved and that loved me back.

Today, the "Daily Gratitudes" come easily.

1. For those who've "seen" the real me and chose to love me anyway.

2. For those whom God allowed to be a part of a deeply-wounded and exceedingly fearful girls life.

3. For those precious, treasured moments of peace and safety.

4. For hope becoming real in the midst of seeming impossibilities.

5. For the mercies of forgiveness and the graciousness of 'second chances'.

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