Let me give you a glimpse…
My young life was spent in awe and admiration…sitting in the front pew at church, listening to my daddy preach. He was loud, with a voice like honey, piercing hearts clear into the back row.
His very presence demanded attention, and kept it. His stories captured each person, holding them hostage, bubbling laughter up from their bellies.
This man was captivating.
He is my dad.
He is tenacious, full of life and vision…full of eloquent words, sending out the truth on the wind.
Then there was me…full of tenacity and life, full of humor and wit, but also full of fear. I was painfully shy, painfully afraid, and hopelessly clumsy.
All I wanted to be was like him.
He and my mom, they led me to Jesus…
I want to be all one thing, or another, but I simply am not. I want to pick a side and step across that line in the sand, yet here I am half loud, powerful, and obnoxious…half peaceful, pretty, and serene.
Quirky, to be sure.
Let me give you another glimpse…
Fast forward to late in elementary school.
My dad is still a man to revere, strong and determined with a heart of gold.
I, however, find myself distracted in church, my eyes flitting, ever so conspicuously toward the cute boy in the pew behind me. The same one I give shy, innocent smiles to in Sunday School…
Speaking of school, I’ve come out of my shell a little. Enough to pretend I’m a tomboy… a sunflower-seed-crunching, spitting, burping, boy-chasing, competitive, clumsy tomboy. Which also means I get into obnoxious arguments with boys and trip over my own feet when I try to turn corners or walk fast.
It was during this delicate stage in life that I happened to be walking to the bus after school, when a boy (he knows who he is) ran past me and tugged my hair.
He yelled, “You’d never do anything wrong because you’re a preacher’s kid!”
His laughter rang out for all to hear. It bordered on the edge of “diabolical”.
The boy ran onto the bus, then stuck his head out the rickety, slide-down window…still with that diabolical laugh.
“You don’t know anything about me!” I yelled back, creasing my eyebrows down with purpose.
“Nun!” he called back as his bus drove away. He snickered and yelled it over and over again, “Nun! Emily is a nun!”
I don’t know why I was so offended.
To be fair, this boy was always the first at my house offering to fix my bike. He also bought me candy on field trips and asked me to be his girlfriend. We tried to make it work for about 23 hours, but sadly, we fizzled.
He was at my house, playing football in the back yard the very next day.
I’ve been molded over the years by something that feels suspiciously like sandpaper.
The pain and humiliation of middle school, the bliss and euphoria of falling in and out of love …none of this gets replayed… it happens, but once.
Memories live on in a corner of our brains, surrounded by emotions and color. Time passes with steadiness and force, one day moving powerfully into the next.
This I do know:
The Time is short.
Fill your eyes up with the faces of those you love…nourish your spirit.
Each, tick-tocking day…I’m walking it with you.