June 6, 2008
I wrote this nearly five years ago. This morning, it made me cry. Life is hard, but so worth it. I’m so grateful for my life and all the people in it.
“You know,” she said, “I just saw that little homeless girl that walks around the mall, and I think she’s pregnant.” Kay put her hand to her lips and shook her head.
“I don’t know her. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen her,” I said to Kay.
“She’s wearing a red t-shirt. Has a backpack on. I just saw her as she walked by and she was (gesturing) out to here.” She shook her head again. “I just feel like the whole world’s gone crazy. I just don’t understand it. I just feel so terrible.” She shook her head again.
“I know,” I said. “It’s true.”
“I mean, I know that God’s in control of our lives, but He’s not the one who’s doing all these things. Eveyone wants to blame someone else. Wants to point a finger. There’s just so much evil in the world. God didn’t do that. He loves us. We need to blame ourselves. It’s our fault. We’ve got no one to thank but us.”
“You’re absolutely right, Kay.”
“It’s all about this,” Kay said, gesturing with her thumb rubbing back and forth across her fingertips. “That’s all anyone cares about anymore. And that’s not important. It’s what causes all our problems. People don’t care about people anymore. It’s all about the money. It just makes me sick.”
“I know. It’s true. Sad. But true.”
“You be careful up there, Baby, and don’t fall,” Kay said, which is what Kay always says when she sees me up in the planted atriums above her head. Kay is one of the little old ladies that works at the information booth at Lakeforest Mall, where I take care of the plants. She’s always pleasant. She always looks great. Tall and slim with white hair, dressed impeccably. She wears her name tag, which I think says “Kathrine or Kathleen.” Something like that.
I didn’t know there was a homeless girl in the mall. I’ve been there since October of last year and I’ve never noticed her. But usually I’m working on the plants. Pulling leaves or watering. Picking the gum and trash out of the beds. My head is usually in my work. I’m always trying to finish so I can get on with my life, which is fuller than most. Jam-packed is a good way to describe it. I keep my head down. For a reason, maybe? I don’t know. Maybe I don’t have time to recognize a pregnant homeless girl. Maybe I haven’t seen her because I can’t see her. Can’t carry the weight of knowing a homeless girl with a baby on the way. Can’t wrap my brain around knowing another sad thing. I’m inundated. My head is full. I can’t put one more thing in there or something else will squirt out, right on the begonias. I can’t have that. I don’t need anything else to clean up. I’m blind to the people walking around me, in various stages of need, because I can’t help them. And if I saw them, I would want to.
But the thing is, I was struck by the words Kay said. “I know God is in control of our lives.” There was a time when I was all about God. All about “doing” God’s work. Then I came to believe that I was a “step and fetch it” girl for the powers that be in the church I went to. I was their representative face to the world. And while I was good at that, it wasn’t good for me. I was alone in my “public persona” of the people in the building. God forbid I ask for help, or ask someone else to stand with me. Then they were blind to me. They couldn’t see me. I don’t know why it was this way for them. I only know how it made me feel. But through all my dance with religion and Christianity and the world at large, I learned a lot that I wasn’t taught in church. I learned it from living it. I learned it in life, daily and in retrospect, years later. Whenever I am stuck, whenever I am in a place where there is no light and I’m swirling mentally and going down for the third time, I stop and ask myself, “What do you know, Diane?” I know that God has a plan. I know that his plan is perfect and his timing is perfect. I know that he didn’t bring me this far to drop me on my head. I know that his timing is not my timing and that no matter what I can envision, how grande or how wonderful, that it could never be as wonderful or big or perfect as what God has planned for me. I just need to trust that and take another step. While I’m busy being busy, God’s got it going on. I don’t need to waste my energy worrying about it because God has already fixed whatever is wrong. All I have to do is wait and watch it happen. All I have to do is know it. Boom. Problem solved. Better than I could ever begin to imagine. Why do I say this? How do I know this? Because it happens. It HAS happened. All the time. My whole life. Sometimes it took years, because perfection doesn’t happen over night. Sometimes it had to be shoved down my throat because it was NOT part of MY plan. But always, always, it has proven true. The one exception, my father dying, has come to be something I don’t really like, not truly understand. But I was shown where this could be part of the plan as well. I still didn’t like it, but I could see a way where it might be something perfect on the other end, where I couldn’t see it before.
I just needed to hear someone say it. I needed to hear Kay say God had it in control. I needed to be reminded of what I know. That I am so loved by God, whatever you call him or her, that nothing but the best is good enough for me. Even when it doesn’t seem like the best at the time. Because I love the plants at the mall. I love it when they’re happy because I take such good care of them. But I don’t love working. I don’t love the job part of it. I don’t want this to be part of my plan. But, alas, it is. But now that I am reminded of how far I’ve come, from where and what and how… I’m feeling more like me. Blessed and loved and special… with all the things swirling around me that aren’t wonderful and they suck and they’re hard, and mean. I’m still me. I still affect the world by who I am, how I interact. What face I show them.
The face I’m showing them now is the one where I’m totally behind the eight-ball for typing this this morning. Marissa has to catch the bus. I’ve got to get to work. Marissa – in a perfect world would have been up 45 minutes ago. But it’s not a perfect world. It’s the real world. Where I am a procrastinator and a mom and a writer… who doesn’t write. I’ve got to fix those things. Except that mom part. Because I’ve wondered what my “big calling” is my whole life. Because I’ve always known that I had some HUGE thing to accomplish here on this Earth. Because I have waited desperately to find it, having been sidetracked several times with false hopes. But once I held my first child, once I saw her for what she was, to know that I was responsible for making her into a person, then I knew that my “big thing” to do on this Earth, was – for now – just to be a good mom. If I write a best seller, or win the lottery, or become rich and famous, none of it will matter if my daughters aren’t happy, normal, well-adjusted, thinking, loving, contributing members of the world. If I fail at that, then I fail. Period. So no matter what else falls through the cracks, it won’t be my offspring. Because like I know God has a plan, and his plan and his timing are perfect, I know that loving them so hard that they know it in their bones is the best thing I can do for this world.
I’m SOOOO outta here. Sorry for the typos. I’ll catch them later.
Love ya. Mean it.