I look in the mirror and there are wrinkles round my eyes. I can’t bend down without seeing what else needs doing. I store plastic bags and have clipped an article entitled ’40 ways with bicarbonate of soda.’ I get crabby when people do my jigsaw and I’ve started admiring Angela (‘Murder She Wrote’) Lansbury’s twinsets.
I’m a grown woman. But inside – I’m little.
I’d like to fold my arms over my head and climb into the wardrobe. I’d like to have my dad here to wrap me in his arms. I’d like to be rocked to sleep by someone who has answers and who isn’t panicked. I don’t want to be an adult. I’m not ready. I’m married and all, but really it’s just pretending. I don’t know what I’m doing.
This weekend in our church we’ve had a wedding, a baptism and a death. That’s a lot of reality. Too much for a little girl: even if she looks like a woman. But – when do you grow up? Are you ever ready?
There are so many things I don’t understand. How people communicate – easy and relaxed and the words coming out exactly as you mean them…
I don’t know how to be brave. Not brave like fighting bears, but brave like getting up and going out and making choices and keeping on.
Tell me how to do pain. How do you feel it without being destroyed? How do you carry it to God when you can’t even lift your head?
How do you fight the urge to run and hide? How do you stand when the waves keep coming?
How do you live?
What matters – and what’s just fluff? When I’m tired: the big things and the wee things look the same. I stress about shampoo and fabric conditioner and whether or not I look old. I tell myself ‘you’re a woman’ – but I never feel it. I put on the lotions to make me a girl. I spray the walls with glitter when there’s dirt on the floors.
And it works – for a time. But then something happens. Life breaks in. A loved one gets sick. And there’s no miracle: at least, not the one you planned for. Suddenly you’re awake. But it’s the wrong script: and there’s no room for a girl-child.
So I pray again. I remember Paul’s promise: that “suffering produces perserverance and perseverance character, and character hope.” I open the Bible and it speaks these words:
Have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.’
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?If you are not disciplined – and everyone undergoes discipline – then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. ‘Make level paths for your feet,’ so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. (Hebrews 12:5-12)
Maybe being the child of this Father, is what makes you grow up.