Sleep and I had a hard time communicating last night. Just when we’d get settled into a comfortable conversation, my body would wake up like a petulant child whining, “I’m not tired.” So I’d lie in bed, wondering how people actually go about counting sheep, whether they actually jump over fences (because the grass is greener on the other side?) and, most importantly, what do sleepless lambs count? Finally it dawned on me (a little before the sun did) that I could be taking this opportunity to refuel so I’d have no excuse for whining later about never getting any “alone” time. No doubt that was the most logical thought I’ve ever had at four o’clock in the morning.
“Weren’t you just at Lowe’s?” the guy called over from the gas pump next to me. I nodded, slid my credit card and started fueling. “My buddy and I couldn’t believe it when you swung that stack of—what were they?—big ol’ things under your arm and carried them in the store. I was like, ‘Dude! She’s tuff! I wouldn’t want to meet her in a dark alley.’” I glanced at the construction trailer they were towing and hid a smile. “Actually,” I explained, “Those were just Styrofoam.”
I managed to catch Jacinderella for about half an hour. “Do you want to come up here, or do you want to go somewhere else?” she asked, already expecting my answer: “I wouldn’t mind being outside in the sunshine.” Here’s the scoop: my Jacinderella has been applying to become a missionary to some South American country. Hence the ambiguous note: “Should I live down ‘neath the ‘Quarter, would you come and visit later?” At least she didn’t write it in Spanish. And. Well. I’m excited for her. But I sure will miss my Jacinderella, come May. Looking back, it’s funny. Who’s have thought the friendship would have gone here, simply through an internet prank?
I don’t know how I ever used to go a whole day without eating. After the first class period of “No Apologies” in Lake D Highschool, my stomach was raging like a rabid raccoon. “We only have about twenty minutes lunch break,” Christy announced checking her watch. “I’m not really hungry anyway.” “Me either,” Randi shrugged. “I had a Twix on the way here. A peanut butter Twix.” And the two of them went off into a discussion of the evolution of the Twix candy bar, while I sat, arms pressed across my loudly complaining stomach meditating on all the Wal-mart fresh fruit in the trunk of the Camry I’d left at the dental clinic. “You can wait,” I assured my stomach and started flipping through one of the orange folders belonging to the next class. Sixth period must have eaten Mexican jumping beans for lunch. They were wound tighter than a shelf of music boxes—all playing different tunes. I sat on the sidelines, covertly studying kid’s reactions as Christy and Randi alternated talking about making choices—and encouraged them to choose abstinence, so they would never have to face so many of the other difficult choices that might follow. A pregnant girl sat on the far side of the room, her nose glowing like Rudolf’s, her eyes on her desk. A group of Mexican boys in the middle oohed and ahhed and cuddled the rubber baby models we’d brought. Popular girls clustered next to me, whispering between themselves and occasionally tossing a shy smile my way from a crevice in their armor-like shells. The variation in a high school health class is unbelievable. The guys who giggled as they handed in surveys announcing that the best part of the class was “hot teachers” contrasted strongly with the two who came up to us afterward, commenting that they wished we could have shared more “truth.” “I know you’re not allowed to talk about Biblical stuff,” one said, tugging on his reddish beard, “but it sure would help.” It sure would. It’s hard to swallow that I can teach information about birth control, show pictures of STDs but I dare not even mention God’s word on the issue. Or even that we’ve been banned from showing the abortion video there—because a girl who’d had one became upset after seeing the pictures. Let’s take our girls to get abortions, but don’t let’s show them what happens to that baby! Teach our teens about sex? Oh, sure. Fine. But don’t you dare mention the God who created their bodies! And we whine about the rate of teen pregnancies and STDs.
I never made it back to the Camry for a piece of fruit. Papa had to head home to work with the plumber on the well-house, and Christy dropped me off at Amber’s apartment instead. Feeling guilty for not paying better attention to what she was saying, I tried to sort out my “training” into easily accessible mental files as we picked up laundry from the Laundromat, Lin N’s pictures from the developer, ice from Pilot and Lizzy from DHS before heading for home. Barely in the door, I was assaulted with the aroma of homemade pizza. Posterity need never know how many pieces I consumed before my stomach decided it could survive until morning.
Public speaking is an art—an art which boils down to the ability to educate, motivate and persuade. And it’s an art Lizzy is learning. We spent the evening embroiled in reading the sermon on the mount in search of contrasts between two great public speakers: Jesus and Hitler. Both accomplished the goal of educating, motivating and persuading. But, as in the story Jesus shared of the two men who built houses—only one structure stood. Hitler’s regime collapsed—not for lack of talent or skill on the part of the leader, but because the foundation was not the truth. We had nearly condensed this concept into a one page speech when Josiah called me to his room.
“I have something to ask you about,” he started, slowly. Then he spilled out how he didn’t think he was truly saved when he’d been baptized as a child. “I know trusting is often a process,” he continued, “but…if I wasn’t saved until a year ago, like I think, should I get baptized again?” He went on to explain how he wasn’t sure he’d ever experienced true repentance before, and he couldn’t remember the witness of the Holy Spirit in his heart. It’s embarrassing when people ask my opinion as if they expect me to have some wise answer. “If it’s the first step of obedience, and you don’t think you were obedient then, but you want to be now,” I faltered. “I don’t see what it would hurt?” So Miss Lizzy was treated to another hot-tub baptism. If it could be called a hot-tub when the water is barely seventy degrees. And it really doesn’t matter when Josiah was saved, as long as he can bear testimony to the world that he is indeed a child of God and wishes to walk in obedience to Him.
So this is me at the end of today:
Yes, I left it blank on purpose. Because I’ve hardly had time to assimilate all the data I’ve taken in and sort it into appropriate emotion crates. But it’s been a good day. Lydia’s sound asleep, tucked into my maroon bag. Lizzy’s scrambling into her pajamas.
I think I’ll try to reopen a conversation with sleep.
Lord, I strive to understand
One single moment of one day,
That Thou, before creation planned,
What then is left for me to say.
But, Lord, Thou art too wonderful.