Friday, June 22, 2012

The Child In Our Faces

So! I enjoyed reading the road trip book, Tender Graces, by Jackina Stark. 

Mostly. Though relieved to watch Audrey grow closer to God, I felt sorry it hadn't happened before her husband's death (no spoiler there, he dies in the first sentence. Alas.). She'd been one of those Christians who knew about Jesus, but hadn't formed a friendship with Him, so her husband's death knocked her flat for 15 months. Then she takes the road trip and snaps out of her paralyzing gloom, beginning a real walk with Jesus.

Anyway. Audrey says something in this book which majorly bugged me. She visits an old classmate from high school and this happens:

"While we exchanged biographical information accumulated since high school, he kept staring at me. Finally he put his hands on my shoulders and looked into my face.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"I'm looking for the girl," he said.

Taken off guard by such a statement, I laughed. Then I mumbled something about needing to get home.

He meant no harm, but I really have no desire to be around people looking for "the girl." It devalues the woman."

My, my... Sounds like Audrey had a sticker in her pantyhose. Or her insecurity, not knowing who she was in Christ, was showing.

Me? I love to find the child in peoples' faces. Do it all the time, in fact, like when I see grown-up child stars on tv and especially when, at Facebook, old school friends share recent photos of themselves all these 40 years after I last saw them.

Always I search for the girl!

Why? Partly because, hey, it's fun. It's like a hunt to see again the childhood face you remember when you and your friend played hopscotch or jacks and sat next to each other in math class. And it becomes an aha moment when you find her still there behind the lines and scars and grey hair, especially if she has a healthy child inside, a child-like side that can still laugh, find the humor in situations and play. Oh, how we still need to play!

But also? Years ago I'd walk down to the convenience store and God would often nudge me to find the little boys' face in the faces of the long-haired, rough-looking men buying boxes of beer and cigarettes at the check-out counter.  And I could! I could look past the roughness and see the vulnerability as the men (especially men, but sometimes women) would reach into their pockets and count out their money, a vulnerability around their mouths and their stance, much as a child's, and I'd feel a sadness that --for all their work--their money would go up in smoke and down in liquor.

But viewing that long-ago child clearer than the hard, after-life-spits-you-out side, caused me to more easily, readily, pray for these people who too often feel invisible. Forgotten. To me, it felt like praying for the children Jesus spoke of loving so much in the Bible, for that's what I mostly saw--the child inside who so needs to know love, the real kind, especially the forgiving love of the Best Father, ever.

So I will continue to search for the girl, the boy, in peoples' faces and no one will be devalued, but rather, smiled at and prayed for, in hope that someday these children all-grown-up will receive the love Jesus died long ago to give them.



Anonymous said...

The other day I had decided to go back to the beginning of your blog and read several of the posts. Funny that one was about this same thing. Since I have been looking at faces more and yes I can see the boy/girl behind the grown person etc..{in people I never knew} like you were mentioning in this oldie post. I commented that day on one of the way back ones from years ago.
I do wonder if any of my old classmates would recognize me even if it was a reunion I was attending! ?? :) I was under weight then..not now!! :) Also no gray/white hair then etc!! My sister snapped a picture of an old boy friend of mine when she saw him a couple years back. She sent it to me in a letter. When I got the letter I looked at the picture not reading the letter first. I wondered why she was sending me a picture of this old man! :) :) Who is he? ?? Once I read who he was I could see him as the boy I dated... I am sure he would think of me the same! :) :-) :) My grandmother said when she was almost 90 that she was yes 89 that day but inside she was still 16. She still had the same wants and desires for life . She was still herself.....but her body would not let her do some of those things any more. But her heart and personality and soul was the same. I understood what she meant even then.Now though, I understand it much deeper. Some may think I am naive but I still feel like I did about God and Jesus when I was a child. I know, I feel way down in my soul that He is who He said He is and can do anything. Anyone can argue all they want {and they try] but I know how I feel. I also yearn for them to feel the same. So I pray and try to show them the difference quietly. {not in their face so to speak} Just hoping that my family would turn to Him is not enough. Now I am going to go and reread this post cause I read it too fast! Sarah

Rosemary said...

Lovely post, Debra, as well as the painting you chose to accompany it.

Anonymous said...

My sister moved back to our hometown some years ago. She went back to our home church. They were throwing out somethings and one was the picture of Christ with the little children. She sent it to me. It was the picture that always hung in the nursery class at church. I Love It! :) It was so thought full and special for her to give it to me too. It is different than this one.I always thought it a shame to loose your sense of innocence and to get all cynical about the Gospel or life. Just believe.
Yes you never know who is praying for you anymore than that stranger would imagine you were praying for them. I find myself remembering that person or this person I saw...or instantly praying for someone. Wo could go past an accident on the highway without praying? Or see someone you know is hurting when they walk? Or a child in tears...or a Mother about to cry in frustration or tiredness? Or that person in the next line who looks life life beat them up?, the little old man with his little old wife?, the girl who is very overly flirting with her boyfriend doing things she shouldn't be doing in public..let alone alone with him?, The boy you saw growing up who is now living on the streets with his drugs and you look for him every time you are out...hoping he is still ok?,... How many times do we over hear someone say something you know needs prayer? Someone you don't know at all but over hear them talk in a restaurant or in the store? The only thing I regret is Not praying when the thought comes up. Someone out there may be praying for you like that too. Just a thought..... Sarah

Anonymous said...

Under the "You might also like" under your post I see the one about Bob the milkman. Will you be thinking of getting your milk delivered again? We used to have a milk man and I loved it. Sarah