Wednesday, April 25, 2012

To Be Known

If you know me, you know that I’m an outgoing person.  I love to laugh and talk and drink coffee while discussing every detail of my life.  If you have known me a long time, you know that I am pretty intense – I feel joy, anger, and excitement - all in about the same minute.  What you may not know about me is that I used to be a better friend than I am today.

You see, time and experience and my own internal struggles have led me to this point where I have become a shallow, and distant friend.  If you knew me then, you would have called me the “Cruise Director” as most of my friends did then.  I was always making plans to do this and that and everyone was invited.  I would get excited about even the most minute detail and ponder the event over and over and think of all the fun that we would have.  The event would come and I expected it all to be over the top, no matter what the experience.  I love trying new things – especially new foods.  Unfortunately on more than one occasion I’ve had to say, “This is not what I expected.”

If you were my friend then, I would have called you regularly – checked in more – just to find out how you were.  There was something in me that just had to know.  I had to know what made you tick, what your experience was that day – what you had for breakfast and what color shirt seemed like a good idea and did you wear those same earrings or something new?  Did you buy the shoes?  Did you talk to her about the same old thing?  How did that book make you feel?  I thrived on the simple day-to-day of who you were. 

But then my interactions with friends were not as frequent…plans not made, kept or reciprocated…phone calls unreturned.  Things were allowed to get the in the way – work, children, and who knows what.  My striving for those friendships was dashed – unreturned, unopened, unappreciated. 

I didn’t know it, but this slow process of drawing in began.  Drawing into this darkness and cold.  I am still friendly, still outgoing, but there is this part of me deep inside that assumes that we will never become better friends than these superficial masks that we wear and that my attempts at frequent contact and a real knowing with you will not happen.  And so I try less and less.  My faux list of Facebook friends grows and yet there is this horrible lonely part of myself that longs to be known.  Known by another like me or different...or intense like me or reserved unlike me – but really exposed to who this frozen soul is. 

How do I begin again?  How do I become that intense, angry, loud, boisterous, silly, fun, unpredictable person that I was?  How do I reach out and seek to know that part of you that also longs to be known – in this sisterhood of friendship so few of us dare to become initiated into?  I don’t know right now.  But I know I need to learn to walk the edge of this cliff again – fearing that one wrong step I could fall off, but fearing a greater danger of walking so far over to the solid ground that I cannot see the breathtaking view of the edge. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

When a Butterfly Dies

My Kayla – 6 years old – so full of life and creativity and imagination – full of wonder and love and passion for all things – today she watched a butterfly die.

We were at Target of all places – parked next to where a butterfly lay on the pavement – flapping its wings – trying to find its way. Kayla wanted to pick it up and maybe I should have let her – she could have put it in the grass…

Picture taken from

We went inside for about 30 minutes and came back out and the butterfly was still there – not a good sign. I think she mistook the wings blowing in the breeze to mean that it was still alive, but it was not.

Suddenly she realized that it was dead. She cried out in a loud voice, “Mommy, the butterfly is dead, it’s dead!” She started to sob. I tried to comfort her – hugging her, telling her it was going to be alright…but scarcely believing the words myself.

She put the butterfly in the soft grass. We knelt down with it and prayed that God would see the butterfly and know how special it was and that he would somehow give us peace even though such a beautiful thing was gone.

We got into the car and the questions overflowed with her streaming tears. “Why did it have to die, Momma? It was so young and beautiful.” My throat chokes, I search for words, none come. “I don’t know, “ I say softly.

“Why did it have to die, why, momma, why?” This same question over and over – ringing in my ears, I can barely take the pain in my heart.

I croak out the words that I can’t shake out of my mind, “We all die someday.”

“But it should have lived and had baby butterflies. It should have lived.”

All I can think is the same thing that she can’t let go of – “Yes, we should live – we should live forever.”

After the painful silence I can only manage to say, “God knows what happened to the butterfly. Somehow it will be OK.”

Inside my mind is screaming and reeling with the anger and knowing that we were meant to live forever, but this curse over us prevents us from living forever as God designed us. Yes, it makes no sense – especially in my sweet little girl’s mind. It should never make sense in any of our minds – death – it isn’t what we were meant to do.

Later on we are outside at home – a butterfly swirls around and around Kayla – the exact same type and coloring as the one that died. It circles her over and over as if to say, “I’m OK – God is watching over me.” She lifts her eyes to the heavens and watches it fly away.