When I first I referenced this song here, I didn't really think much of the prologue phrases, it seemed a bit grand or presumptuous. Five months later and perhaps a little growth, a little healing, and I hear something more. I still very much believe my sister was there in spirit with me, singing with me, reconciling and speaking a blessing over me, and the sweet, unasked for generosity of the LORD in granting such a grace causes the tears to roll down my face even now. Sometimes I put the song on especially when I'm working in the kitchen first thing in the morning. That's what I was doing at the time and it's something of a memory that she and I now share together, no matter how far apart our present circumstances. What is more now is that I feel a bit of prodding that "you can do all I couldn't do, now it's up to you."
Let me show you a couple of people from Humans of New York, a photographer who has an amazing gift to get people he's only just met in New York, most often out in public places, to open up a little window into the most vulnerable areas of their lives and then share just a flash of it on his site and on Facebook.
One fellow had this to say: "I have a very clear memory from just a few weeks after I was born. I was lying in a basket and people were making funny faces at me—like they do to children. And I remember thinking in my head: ‘What stupid creatures.’ Only I didn’t know how to express those thoughts until I got older.”
Another lady related this account: "When I was six years old, I had a vision where I saw everything that was going to happen in my life. Jesus showed me that my life was going to be very tough, but if I stuck with him, and prayed, and cried when I needed to, and ate lots of chocolate, I'd be OK."
"Where were you when you had this vision?"
"At the feet of my foster mother. She was kicking me in the stomach."
I have this little memory here: "I've always remembered that incident, even tho the photograph did not reappear for about 15 years. I remember it from the inside looking out of my eyes, thinking my thoughts, working my little ice cream plan. I remember being irritated that Mother was interrupting my plan by calling attention to it, I was trying to keep it on the down low, just let that ice cream cruise right over into my mouth. I remember her going to get the camera and returning with it, giggling about how cute I was to Dad. I remember thinking, "I'm going to be burdened with her until she dies."
As I said before, the thought turned out to be true, and perhaps my concern about that thought kept me fighting to be as kind and generous as I could find to be, lest the thought turn into an unbearable resentment and I betray my Friend's trust.
So much can change in those two words, can't it?
But now, I'm free to do all or anything neither my sister or I could do when we were bound in the chains wrapped around us as children. Obviously, as this whiny little blog often points out, the progress out of old habits goes slow, but this morning I heard my sister's challenge to courage and responsibility. She never could break free, but I've managed to outlive the terror and now I can do so many things she never had the chance to do, if I will step up and do it for the both of us.
"It's a winding road when you're in the lost and found."
Zac Brown's Colder Weather doesn't only describe the typical co-dependent's experience or ideal of love, it describes our experience with so much of our lives. We want, we are afraid we can't have, we get tough and run away, then we come back endlessly around again because after all the emotions play out we know there are relationships and experiences in life that make the rest of it worth living, that make us who we really are underneath everything else our circumstances demand us to be.
"He said I wanna see you again
But I'm stuck in colder weather
Maybe tomorrow will be better
Can I call you then."
"When I close my eyes I see you
No matter where I am
I can smell your perfume through these whispering pines
I'm with your ghost again
It's a shame about the weather
I know soon we'll be together
And I can't wait 'til then
I can't wait 'til then."
Always winter but never Christmas, always waiting for the good times that never come, frozen with indecision before the effort is ever truly made. It isn't my mother who is the witch in Narnia, it's shame and fear. But I've come a very long way, in time and knowledge and experience, and I see signs that Aslan is on the move in me. It's one thing to see Him moving for other people, or even on the evening news, but it is a frightening thing indeed to watch Him move me, almost like a chess piece on a board, move after move, in a strategy that I don't grasp. He is both patient and implacable. He waits, He does not move, then I am moved.
I think I forget that both the children who received the dagger and arrows and a sword of war from Father Christmas were the same children the night before who had never heard of Aslan or their place in the story being told. We think we are who we used to be and forget we are who we've become, and can't comprehend at all that we have nowhere to go but the battle ahead. Enchanted sleeping is useless now, better to wake up and deal with it all in the relentless daylight. It isn't safe at all, but it is good.
I wish I were more like Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. Perhaps they should be my patron saints, that I might become more practical, earnest, and relentless in living.