Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wasn't It Easier | Post 19

"Wasn't it easier in your lunchbox days?
Always a bigger bed to crawl into?
Wasn't it beautiful when you believed in everything?

Wasn't it easier in your firefly-catchin' days?
When everything out of reach,
someone bigger brought down to you?
Wasn't it beautiful runnin' wild 'til you fell asleep
Before the monsters caught up to you?"
t.swizzle // innocent
who can be sad when they see a snowman made out of salad?
I distinctly remember specific conversations with either my parents or other adults where they said "Don't be in a hurry to grow up.  It happens too fast.  Being an adult is hard."   It didn't seem like being an adult could be that hard.  I mean, sure, I knew adults had to make decisions and "deal with money" and make dinner.  But to be honest, I hungered to make my own decisions.  Maybe that's part of why I was fond of constantly playing Barbies/dolls.  I could make the rules and plans for them and I could make them "obey" my rules and "do" my plans.  Being an adult seemed like Big Real Dollhouse.  You get to choose what to spend money on!  And you have more than $2.51 in change in a little glass jar!  You get to go where you want!  And eat extra dessert! AND.  If you don't like mushrooms, you can choose not to make them with dinner!  And don't get me started on the jewelry and make-up and beautiful shoes adults get to wear.  Bras seem weird, but then again, talking on the phone whenever you'd like sounds divine.

Though I was "tried" (moved often, had people close to me die, watch my mom suffer through cancer, had much responsibility, etc) I "became an adult" when I was 19.  I had hurt before that, and I had cried and struggled before that.  But even babies hurt and cry and struggle.  I graduated - no, not highschool... I did that when I was 17 - I moved from one "life grade level" to another.  Innocent by Taylor Swift was playing while straightening up this afternoon.   I love all the lines I posted up top.   "Wasn't it easier when there was a bigger bed to crawl into?"  

When I was 14 my parents announced "Mom is very sick.  She has breast cancer."  I cried all day.  I felt tired at bedtime, but laying in my room all by myself I couldn't sleep.  I became increasingly forlorn the longer I was awake.  Before long I was shaking and weeping into my pillows.  Instincts kicked in.  When you're alone and afraid at night, go get mom and dad.  I ran up to their room.  They were sleeping.  I crawled into the foot of the bed and they stirred.  They didn't tell me to move.  They didn't ask if I was okay.  They knew how I was.  Mom patted my arm and said "Good night."  And all of a sudden, it was a good night.  And I could sleep now.  I felt better.

But when I was 19 and my world was rocked like it never had been before or has been since, and I had a similar night.  I, dressed head to toe in shoes, socks, jacket, scarf, jewelry, bobby pins... eveything, lay in bed with my mom.  She held her arm around me.  And it didn't make it feel better.  I still couldn't sleep.  It didn't "help."  I didn' feel any better - at all.  It was not a good night.  It was a bad night.  And it was the beginning of the end of "believing in everything!"  All of a sudden - now that I knew what even a teaspoon dose of real pain could feel like - I saw pain everywhere.  I didn't see wonder everywhere.   This was a first for me.   And I shuddered and tried to block out the stories I was now aware of - babies shockingly dying in their sleep, bodies screaming in broken pain (and there was nothing I could do to help), friends turning on friends, parents hurting their own children, car accidents, waves that eat nations.   Does everyone hurt?  Can I back to being a kid?  When will this be over?  Are we there yet? Wait, some people realize all I'm realizing when they are 12? Nine? Four years old?  How cruel!  Even the wonder years are robbed from some?  Man.

That was (is?) the hardest part of growing up for me.  Not just that I had to endure pain, but that I was aware of pain in a way children just are not.  Being an adult is not Big Real Dollhouse.  Doll's don't get hurt - even when their heads pop off.  And they don't have hearts.   

I, at times, wish I could "speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child."  I'd be the first to announce "God intends for us to rest in Him, our Father!  We are His children!  Come to His arms!"   I believe in the beauty and eagerness a child sees.  I love how easily children laugh.  Play.  Share thoughts.  But today is one of those days where I especially realize that I am not four and a half.   Painful marriages.  Sudden tragedies.  Disappointing news... again.   Cancer tests... again.  Sick people, everywhere.  The flu.  Mental illness.  Emotional illness.  Brain illness.  Miscarriages.  Anniversaries of death.  Comas.  Human betrayal.  Reality.  And it's not my own pain or story today, but I love these people and it's their pain, and I can't help but hurt too.  In a little way, even.

I read the end of Job.  We know the tale.  God allowed him to lose all his "wordly good."  His children, his wealth, his career, his health.  His friends turned on him, his wife was anything but comforting, he wanted to die himself.  What was the point?  It would have been better to never have been born than have to LIVE and LOSE!  I would have rather never experienced the joys if that meant that I could have never felt this pain! WHY GOD!  Why would you do this to me? ANSWER ME! WHY?

God answered him.  And came to him.  And was always with him.  God helped him.  And He restored him.  Real friends came back, and they ate together.  They brought with them sympathy and comfort.  The Lord gave.   Safety and hope returned.  Eventually he had children again.  His first daughter was named Jemimah.  What a waterfall of joy she must have been.  Naive, beautiful, needy and full of love for her bruised-but-renewed father.  Wonder returned. Jemimah means "the bird of peace, or the bird of new beginning, bright as day."

So, here's to the "Jemimahs" today.  The content, REAL, hopeful thing that flies in and makes a difference.  The ways God chooses to "deliver" a "Jemimah" for us.  The little Jemimahs and the big Jemimahs.  The bright days that will come.  The promises of good, the assurance of complete, untangled, easy joy.  The reminders of happiness, miracles and even delightful amazement in this thorny place.  The new beginnings.  The things you stopped believing could even happen.  The things you stopped even wishing for.  Tasting again.  Sleeping well again. The mirror is dim and sometimes even broken now, but we will see face-to-face.  Faith, hope and love do live.  Immanuel is with us.  These words are trustworthy and true!  There is comfort in the waste places, deserts turn into gardens, there is a voice of gladness in the song - even if it's a melody sung in the night.  God loves His humans - and God likes us too. Thank you, Lord, for hope.  For adult minds and hearts to "understand" pain and to understand real happiness.  Thank you for time.  Thank you for words.  Thank you for not making us like machines, who can't feel and who only deteriorate, but rather we only become more "alive" and "more real"  ("Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all...and once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always.”and more perfect with every passing day.  Thank you that we are dynamic.  Thank you for questions.  Thank you for the monsters and the heroes.  Thank you for telling an interesting and good story (and thank you that stories don't end in the middle).   Thank you that it "used to be easier" and for memories.  Thank you for comfort food.  Thank you for comfort truth.  Thank you for new beginnings.  Thank you for Jemimah.


  1. In the past month I've experienced pain like never before. It hasn't been as painful as it could have been. Really, it's such a far cry from what people dear to me are living. But struggling with sick mamas (not cancer, thankfully, but tumors are no fun) and losing friendships because of love and misunderstandings is still hard. I came to a place where for days I couldn't find joy (or wonder) in almost anything. God though, was there all the time, loving me. And I've come out so thankful for the life he has given me, however riddled with sorrow it may be or may become. The joy still outweighs the grief. The hard things, along with the good, are what make us us and what shapes our stories. Thank you, Kristen. These words have encouraged me. I'm so thankful for the ways God smiles on us. :)

  2. Kristen I love this blog and all of your posts recently. I'm not always the best at putting my thoughts down on paper but thank you for taking the time to post. I feel like the world with all of its sin and horror has just been exposed to me recently and I am often shocked at it. How can people be so cruel mean and insensible? Sometimes it would be nice to be able to go curl up with a book like I used to and let all the problems fade into thank you for the encouragment!
    Oh, and I love the meaning of the name Jemimiah!

  3. This is so good, Kristen. You paint such word pictures (a wave that eats nations). Thank you.

  4. Thanks Kristen!!
    Haha, this is awesome, as my name's Jemimah =)