the girl I once was
הסד – the grace, favour, mercy of G-d towards humanity
My eyes wander past the parking lot of my local market as I walk out the sliding glass doors. I see swings and slides and monkey bars just a few short steps away. How many times have I walked out these doors and never noticed or paid attention to the sights and sounds of a playground reminding me of days gone by? Today I see the yellow slides. Today I see the blue stairs leading to the top of the castlelike structure. Today I hear the voices of children playing. The bright colors, the multifaceted dimensions, the sounds of laughter draw my attention today, despite the fact that I’ve learned to look past this, and many other playgrounds, to see the more “important” things of life, the things that demand of me rather than invite the girl I once was.
I guess I’ve grown up in measure, yet my experience of that process and the comfortability of supposedly being someone who knows something makes me wonder when I get to grow back down. When can I go back to the place of wonder and questions and taking the moments as they come? And what is my grown up self supposed to look like anyway? A good job, a “stable” life, marriage, kids maybe, go to bed early, get up early, be responsible, too busy for childish things, not enough time to process, no time to pay attention to the dullest whimpers within. Yes, whimpers, weak pathetic cries, unsure if they are being heard, and barely even legitimate cries anymore. Just keep pushing the cries down. If you ignore them long enough, maybe they’ll just go away. If that’s being a grown up, I’m not sure I like it very much. Learning to be just cynical enough to coast through life without being so affected any longer.
I studied and I gained knowledge. I got some letters behind my name, took some vows and tried to take care of grown up things. Yet those cries within, they didn’t stop, they only got louder. As a grown up, I’m supposed to be okay, right? I don’t have time to attend to these cries. I don’t have time or energy for this. I have a life. I don’t have time to break down and not be okay. And besides that, I don’t want to. I don’t want to let go. I don’t want to feel the ache of all those years of loss. I don’t want to. I didn’t grow up for this. And every time I said no to the heartache of the girl I once was, in trade I received another callous layer, helping to cover and protect the wound of her heart.
Unfortunately, some very grown up things had visited the girl I once was before she was grown up. These things eventually tied her hands, bound her and took her captive. The callous over her heart became thicker and thicker. At 17, when her father died and left her for the last time, the little girl I once was seemingly died too.
Thank G-d that’s not the end of the story. Thank G-d.
One day, the girl I once was, her real Abba showed up. He reminded the one who’d taken her captive Whose daughter she was. On that day, Abba demanded her release. She slowly emerged from the place of her captivity, disheveled and sullied. As she lifted her head, she saw her Abba, and the girl I once was came alive again as she realized the One she’d always hoped was real was there, looking at her with delight in His eyes, waiting with open arms for her to run into. As He bent down towards her, she began to weakly run towards Him until He picked her up and whisked her around and then brought her close to Him and held her and hugged her and kissed her head like she knew He always would.
the girl I once was came back to life that day. Thank G-d. She found the home she was always looking for in her Abba’s embrace. I wish I could say the journey to healing and wholeness has been easy and simple since then, but it hasn’t. It’s been grueling and painful yet indescribably beautiful at the same time. Abba came and embraced the girl I once was and I have been working to do the same for years since then. I’ve set my face like flint to choose to let Him give me back all that was lost and to recover the heart of the girl I once was and the girl I am today.
Today I am participating in The Story Sessions’ “The Girls We Once Were”.
I live and I pray and I write because His faithful love (חסד) came and rescued me and I know He will do this for Israel because this is what He longs for and this is who He is. His faithful love (חסד) is towards Israel, therefore His faithful love is towards me and all who trust in Him. See Hosea.