What forgiveness looks like

I need to preface this very quick post by saying that I only slept 2.5 hours tonight…from 12:30ish till 3. At 3, I woke up with my left eye fusing shut and my nose wouldn’t stop running. As I laid there in the dark at the end of a king sized bed where my daughters were also sleeping, with my nostril plugged by some kleenex and my eye freaking out, I thought to myself, “This must be what youth and beauty really feel like.” Actually, I did think that. But in a very sarcastic thinking tone.

I only say all of that so that if I misspell the word ‘tree’ or say something uncharacteristically stupid, you might forgive me.

Forgiveness is what this post is all about.

Late last night, a friend posted an article on her facebook wall about an incident I do not remember in the news. But I read the article and then I clicked a link within the article to a video slideshow. That moment felt like it changed my life just enough to matter. Certainly enough to share.

Most of us have been taught the fundamentals of forgiveness. We know we are supposed to offer it when needed. We know what it is supposed to look like. We know it is good for us and for others. In some cases, it is easy to offer…when what was taken from us or handed down to us in abuse is not so bad or so personal.

But what do we do when the very worst is done? When the very worst is stolen away? When what is taken cannot be given back…ever? What then? We rank the world’s grievances and wrongdoings. The little white lie barely registers. Stealing from an employer…maybe a little higher. Betrayal. Abuse.  Murder. It all has a ranking.

What happens when a dude gets stone drunk, gets in his car, and drives like a man possessed until he slams into the car carrying my daughter and her friend? What would I do then? How would I react? Would I hate him? Curse him? Teach my other family members to be bitter? Or could I have the strength to forgive him? To give back to a world that stole the most precious thing on earth from me?

I hope I could find that strength. Jesus taught me to–Jesus led the way–but the real world examples can be so very hard.

This woman absolutely amazes me. Read her story. Where the article references “screens this video,” click that link and watch the slideshow. If you have teens, even really good ones, show it to them.

I hope no one reading this will ever be faced with such trauma. But if you are, I hope you can find a lighted path in the world, like this amazing woman. It really is the way to healing.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/20/renee-napier_n_1440809.html

Music

It is 1:13 a.m. on Wednesday morning and I have a thousand things I should be doing. But at this moment on this night, I am sitting under the soft light of a single lamp and listening to “Never Saw Blue” by Shawn Colvin. I almost can’t listen to this song without getting weepy, because in one instant I can travel back almost 12 years to a life with only my firstborn boy (that’s Calvin Fletcher to you now, people. Get used to it. :D). He slept in a nursery upstairs that I poured my heart into for months. He came as a result of much praying, many heartbreaks, and years of searching. And as he would sleep upstairs, I would prop up in bed at night with an ancient laptop and download music that made me think of him. Those were the days of free music and I was a Napster expert. Propped up in my bed late, late at night, I would listen to these songs, think about my tiny baby upstairs, and cry.

And the most amazing thing about music is that it can utterly transport you into another place in time. Tonight I am 30 and my boy is a month old and these are the lyrics of a really great song. Before Cal, I never saw blue like I see it now.

I hope I’m still 30 in the morning…

Never Saw Blue Like That by Shawn Colvin
Today we took a walk up the street
And picked a flower and climbed the hill
Above the lake

And secret thoughts were said aloud
We watched the faces in the clouds
Until the clouds had blown away

And were we ever somewhere else
You know, it’s hard to say

And I never saw blue like that before
Across the sky
Around the world
You’ve given me all you have and more
And no one else has ever shown me how
To see the world the way I see it now
Oh, I, I never saw blue like that

I can’t believe a month ago
I was alone, I didn’t know you
I hadn’t seen or heard you’re name
And even now, I’m so amazed
It’s like a dream, It’s like a rainbow, it’s like the rain

And somethings are the way they are
And words just can’t explain

Cause I never saw blue like that before
Across the sky
Around the world
You’ve given me all you have and more
And no one else has ever shown me how
To see the world the way I see it now
Oh, I, I never saw blue like that before

And it feels like now,
And it feels always,
And it feels like coming home

I never saw blue like that before
Across the sky
Around the world
You’ve given me all you have and more
And no one else has ever shown me how
To see the world the way I see it now
Oh, I never saw blue like that before

Blog. Blog like the wind.

There’s a lot to be known of someone or something just by what it is called.
For instance, a scalpel cuts your scalp off. A fireplace is a place where fire goes. The KIA Soul has SOUL and I want one. A minivan is a very small van.

For this reason, names were a huge topic of conversation in our house from Day 1 of our marriage. Unfortunately for the children we’d end up having, we didn’t much discuss their upbringing. We did, however, talk incessantly about their names. We always knew what we’d name our first boy. There was never any question. There were many questions about the others. On this blog, many of you know me and know my kids. Some of you may not know me at all and don’t care to. I decided from the beginning that if I was going to tell all their horror…

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What’s in a name?

There’s a lot to be known of someone or something just by what it is called.
For instance, a scalpel cuts your scalp off. A fireplace is a place where fire goes. The KIA Soul has SOUL and I want one. A minivan is a very small van.

For this reason, names were a huge topic of conversation in our house from Day 1 of our marriage. Unfortunately for the children we’d end up having, we didn’t much discuss their upbringing. We did, however, talk incessantly about their names. We always knew what we’d name our first boy. There was never any question. There were many questions about the others. On this blog, many of you know me and know my kids. Some of you may not know me at all and don’t care to. I decided from the beginning that if I was going to tell all their horror stories, I wouldn’t tell them by their accurate names. So we’ve been calling them by AG, Mama’s Boy, Beloved, and Snuggle Monkey. These are nicknames that all mean something. Beloved is not more beloved than the others. But her dad called her that from the beginning, so that’s who she still is.

I’m bored with all of that now. It sounds awkward as they age. In thinking back to the hours of name screenings we went through, I think to the names we argued over the most. The husband is just a little bit crazy. Just a tad. And due to the insanity, I was forced on occasion to shoot down his first choice. It’s what I do best. That and tripping pigs.

As we were going through the adoption process with our first, he began to pitch me the name, “Calvin Fletcher.” Really. What? That’s horrid. That’s a presidential name. Or a fat guy. Or a guy with two glass eyes and and hook for a hand. No. No Calvin Fletcher. I’ve since learned it was a joke, but for the sake of this blog, when I refer to Numero Uno Boy, I’ll call him Calvin Fletcher.

The second born came out clinging to my skirt and clung tighter as the years passed. I unfortunately made that worse one night while talking in the driveway to a neighbor. I thought he was dead asleep in his bed (he was about 3). Instead, he had gotten up and was searching the house for me and screaming. It was a terrible scene and I’m not sure he ever got over it. After that, it pretty much took the Secret Service and a gospel choir to convince him to leave my side. So he was named Mama’s Boy. But while he was a mere bun in the over, he had many names. The favored name that we both loved but knew we couldn’t use was Simon. Too english. Too Simple Simon. Too Simon Says. But for now, for here, Mama’s Boy is becoming Simon.

Oh, come on. It’ll be fun. Roll with me.

Beloved is a funny one, because her dad was DEAD SET on Evelyn for her. This one, unlike Calvin Fletcher, was not a joke. He loved the name Evelyn. I don’t mean to offend and this is not an insult. I only raised the point that I had never met an Evelyn who wasn’t convalescing. They were always quite wrinkly…and not baby wrinkly. I shot it down. But today on this blog, Beloved becomes Evelyn. Maybe the husband will get his fix. As if he reads this fluff.

The final baby ought to be named Miracle, because that’s what she was. But that’s neither here nor there. Todd wanted Mary. How could I have a problem with Mary, he asked? She’s the mother of Jesus. Yes, I said. That’s true. And I will never utter a foul word against the character of the mother of Jesus. But do I want that name? No. Sorry. When I looked it up in my books, it meant “bitter.” I didn’t need to curse the child with such a meaning. Knowing Snuggle Monkey as I do now, I can’t see her as a Mary. But she will be called Mary here for now.

So Calvin, Simon, Evelyn, and Mary (WOW) have taken upon themselves the business of naming our chickens. The first go-round, this made sense. There were only 4 original chickens and then 2 babies. All six, when fully grown, looked entirely different. It was easy to name them, get attached to them, and let them be pets. They did struggle to name them anything feminine. We have Silver, Phantom, Panther, Summer, Goldilocks, and Prime. Of those, only Prime was a boy.

The second batch of chickens was almost impossible to name, because (1) there were 10 of them, and (2) they all look alike.

All but one. One chicken stands out in the pack of awkward teen hens we are raising. She is blonder than the others. She has always been Evelyn’s chicken and Evelyn named her…wait for it….Eeknit. Yes, Eeknit. Pronouced EEK-nit. No idea where she came up with that or why she stuck with it. I only know that there is SOMETHING in a name, because Eeknit is as strange as a normal person at a Star Trek conference. And though I have managed to grit my teeth and get through it every day, she almost always flies out of the darkest corner of the coop and attacks me when I go in to feed them. Oh, she tries to make it look like an accident. But I know better. She’s looking for a role in a creepy bird-of-prey movie. She’s not right, that one. Today she flew out of nowhere and landed on my chest. Try that sometime, if you never have. Allow a mentally deficient teenage chicken to land just below your face and dig her talons into you. It’s fun. It’s what we do when we don’t have neighbors.

Yes, I believe in names. And I sleep with one eye open because I have a pet named Eeknit. If you never hear from me again on this blog, don’t assume I’ve taken one of my regular hiatuses. Don’t assume I’m too busy.

Assume the chicken got me.

Some blogs are easier than others…

I owe a few people a pig story. I said I was going to write that up before the new year. Here it is, only January 6, and already I am a liar.

New Year’s Resolution: Stop lying so much.

It’s good to have goals.

_____________________________________

And here it is: What happened with the pig.

Many of you know that I moved to the boondocks about 6 months ago. After adjusting to the darkness, the strange crashes in the night, and the possibility of amphibians showing up in the nooks and crannies of your car at any given moment, I learned to embrace this new life. I found the best possible pest control, learned to break the zero turn mower just by walking past it, and haven’t killed the garden.  We got chickens, lost some chickens due to a hawk that I hate with a white-hot passion, and then got more chickens. We are up to 13 now. Only 3 are layers. The others are poopers and stinkers. We hope they’ll lay when the manner of hens comes upon them.

I guess all this chicken business, and the fact that people can’t understand why in the world we’d move out here, makes people think we are running a petting zoo. So we get contacted for odd things.

I received an email early in December with the subject line “Weird request.” If this had been from an unknown source, it would have given me pause. But from the writer, it seemed perfectly reasonable. Here was our initial exchange:

Hi Missy,

Hope all is going well for you and your family. I have a weird request for our school and thought maybe you could help or one of your country neighbors. We are doing a fundraiser at the school to buy livestock for impoverished communities. As an incentive, the principal has agreed to kiss a pig on the morning show. One problem…we need a pig!! Any chance you guys have a pig or you have a neighbor who does???? Let me know.

I responded with the following (baloney edited out…):

Well, hello there! i don’t have pigs, but i do have a friend with a mini pig named Daisy. I will check with her. What is the date for this? We are doing well, thanks!

Blah, blah, blah. More baloney. More texting back and forth with the pig owner…let’s call her Fribby…and then I sent this final email about the pig.

Good morning! What time is the morning show? Will 8ish work? The pig is harness-trained and Fribby can walk in with it. It’s a small(ish) black pig. Pretty cute, but I’m not sure I’d want to kiss it. Anyway, let me know if this is okay. I’ll probably meet her there, to introduce everyone and to entertain myself.

 Thanks,
Missy
In all of this emailing back and forth, the principal was never directly involved and the two people emailing really had no precise pig or principal knowledge. It was the perfect real-life example of “have your people call my people and we’ll do lunch” except that it was “have your people email my people and we’ll orchestrate televised farm animal smoochery.”
The date was set for December 19. Fribby and I parked next to each other in the school parking lot. She had her pig. I had my daughter.  My daughter was cuter than her pig, but her pig had on a nice sweater, so it was all good. It took us about 2 weeks to cross the schoolyard because of all the acorns. Did you know pigs are nuts for acorns? Sheesh. That lawn was like Golden Corral for her.
Entering the front office of my old school with Daisy the pig was the closest thing to a celebrity I’ll ever be. For some reason, I imagined that it mattered that I was there. It did not. No one looked at me. No one in the office really knew me anymore. From this point forward, it was all about the pig. You may recall from a few paragraphs up that I called this pig “smallish.” ISH leaves so much room for personal interpretation. When I said smallish, I was comparing Daisy in my head to a potbelly grampa pig and it all seemed perfectly accurate. When the kissing principal was relayed the message of “smallish pig,” she compared that to the size of a cabbage patch doll. And a soft, fluffly piggy cabbage patch doll is what she pictured in her head.
That is not what she got.
She was quite obviously flabbergasted.
“Well. That’s a BIG pig!” she said, her words just dripping in the shock. “A really big pig. I was expecting a cute little tiny pink Charlotte’s Web pig.”
Lady, that’s fiction. Those pigs only exist in Hollywood. “Not that your pig is not cute in her own way.” She continued to talk, obviously trying to pep talk herself into the task. “Can we clean her nose a bit?”
Lady, it’s a fundraiser. It’s one kiss. It wasn’t our fault the school yard was full of acorns and the animal is an animal.
It was time to go into the media center with this pig. She couldn’t drag her onto the elevator, so she lifted the pig’s fat hairy self up and hoisted her up two flights of stairs.
I did nothing. Total waste of space at this point, it seemed.
There was a lot of blah, blah, blah in the next few minutes. Tweaking this microphone. Adjusting that audio level. And Fribby put her pig up on a table so the principal could reach her smoking hot pig lips.
Lights. Camera. Action.
The cameras were rolling and the principal began to talk.
“Hello boys and girls! It’s the big day you’ve all been waiting for. I’m here with Daisy the Pig, who is waiting for her kiss. Isn’t this a BIG PIG, boys and girls? Don’t you think it would be better if I just shook her hoof?” People chuckled and then kids starting streaming into the media center as messengers from their classrooms. There was no sound in the classrooms. The kids could all see the principal, but they could not hear her. There was some confusion in the audio booth and I was hoping they were going to fix the problem.
It is at this point, that I accessed my gift to the world. It is my gift to the world to tape boring things with my cameras or cell phone. And then, as part of my extraordinary gift, when I STOP TAPING, something amazing happens. EVERY TIME. So, I guess by the transitive property of math, we could conclude that I cause most of the world’s excitement.
You’re welcome.
Send money.
So I stopped filming on my cell phone and waited for them to fix the audio. Except they didn’t stop rolling and apparently could not fix the problem on the spot.
The principal leaned down to kiss the pig. She barely touched that pig. I mean, it was hardly a kiss. If it’d been a striking King Cobra and she’d kissed it the same way, she wouldn’t have been injured in the process. But however unromantic the smooch was, it seemed to satisfy the masses and the ones gathered in the booth let out a loud “YAY” with some applause.
That’s when everything changed. (Remember my gift.)
At the sound of the hooplah, Daisy freaked out. She lunged off that table and ran toward the door like a pig in a circus race, squealing louder than anything I have ever heard in my life. Somebody must have poked her with an icepick.
I wish I had video of the sounds. Get in your shower, suck in all the air in your body, and scream like a pig. That will give you an idea.
Daisy ran out of the morning show room, through the media center, and into the Copy Room with Fribby running after her and my daughter clinging to my leg and now screaming, too.
“Grab the pig, Missy!” Fribby yelled toward me. I think I made a valient effort to grab the leash and the pig as it rushed by me. Fribby’s account of what I did is quite different. She says I hardly moved except to stick my right leg out…as if to trip the pig. I don’t think she’s calling it straight. That doesn’t sound like something I’d do. I don’t trip pigs.
It’s not my fault her pig isn’t morning-show-trained. I mean, come on.
So, all that happened right in front of my eyes and all I got was this stupid picture. Actually, I do have some boring before and after footage, but Fribby would slay me for posting it. And if she kills me, all the exciting stuff in the world will stop.
We can’t have that.
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