Something in the words she used reminded me of a scene from Forrest Gump. At my church we have an annual "God in the Movies" series. Just yesterday, the movie was Forrest Gump and the tie-in was looking at disappointment with God. The pastor showed a clip which shows Jenny and Forrest running away from Jenny's father. They stop and Jenny prays, "Dear God, make me a bird so I can fly far, far away." She repeats this prayer over and over again. I was telling my friend this and before I even got out the rest of the scene, she quoted that line, "...make me a bird..." I told her that the movie showed that although God didn't make Jenny a bird, he still got her out of that situation. The pastor used that clip to point out that God doesn't always work the way we ask him to.
My friend looked at me and said that she had realized that Jesus had actually answered her prayer. She prayed and prayed for her life to change and it did. It just didn't change at the time but she has a completely different life now with a great family and home and good friends, etc.
Her looking at her life from that perspective got me thinking about my big picture, so today I ask:
In my life, what has caused me desolation?
I did not have a happy childhood. It wasn't all bad, but there was too much insecurity and too little attention paid to my emotional needs. We were poor which was difficult in Southern California. I seldom had new clothes. I did not grow up in an emotionally honest family. While there was lots of affection for each other in my extended family there was also lots of shame. There were secrets. There was yelling. There was teasing. All of this put together created a little girl who felt ugly and invisible and who's talents and academic leanings were not encouraged. I didn't fit in with the kids at school or in my neighborhood. Over the last year when I have come across a picture of myself as a child, I look at it as if she were someone else, and knowing how I felt then, I feel sorry for that little girl. Because I wasn't ugly. I wasn't invisible. I just had no control over the shaming and the secrets and not enough positive attention to counteract it all.
As an adult, this has made relationships sometimes difficult and it has been cause for great self-doubt. My childhood has spilled over into the lives of my children. Though their lives are completely different than mine, I know I haven't always been able to put the past behind me.
In my life, what has given me consolation?
As I prepared to write this, I looked over the last couple of months SWB posts. Time and again, I find myself grateful, on a day in and day out basis, for my friends. The Lord has blessed me with many excellent friends both inside and outside of the church. I once said that I never had a fear of being homeless because I know several people who would take my family in without question. The depth and breadth of these relationships sustain me and help make up for the deficiencies I experience in my family relationships. They allow me to remain steadfast in my family while receiving that which I am lacking there. I walk through life with great amounts of love.
I am also grateful for my husband and children. Although we are far from a perfect family, we are a whole family. My family has a sense of security tha--barring circumstances beyond our control--this family will always be together.
I find consolation in my faith and in the community I find at my church. I have learned about being loved and loving. I have learned forgiveness. I continue to learn about loving and forgiveness there.
I am blessed to live in a place where I do not know hunger. I feel safe and protected. I have access to any medical care I might need. There are so many in the world who do not have those things. How can I not be grateful for my abundance?
I am no longer an insecure little girl. I am sometimes an insecure woman but overall, I have a life that is good. A life worth living and for that there are no words.
Also SWB this week: atypical of nonsensical text: lumpy drop biscuits.
Tara Lamont of uphill idealist: Sleeping with Bread.