I trail the soft, cleansing cloth over each hill, every valley. So much dirt and stain. Why did I ever think I could wear white? What’s wrong with me? The brown would have been a better fit, hiding impurities, all the unlovely, embarrassing yuck. He tried to tell you. Why didn’t you listen?
O Soul Within, it’s been years. You need to wear white. You need to own this. It’s yours. It’s yours for the taking. And it was costly. Don’t let it go to waste.
I swipe my forehead, as the temperature soars to summer-unbearable that only our beloved Texas makes bearable. Every locust on site tunes in to my fuzzy channel. I head inside and grab a popsicle from the freezer. Walking back out, I stand there evaluating everything before me.
Just do it, Shelli.
I sit down in that stained rocking chair that used to be so white. I own it. I start rocking. And this feels so nice. I grab another popsicle and head back out.
Everyone must think I’ve lost my mind. Sitting in that dirty chair? It’s one thing to plop down in what you can’t see, but to take on the seen?
Little Bit, daughter #1, pops out the door. She couldn’t stand it any longer. “Can I sit with you, Mama?”
“Of course. Grab popsicles.”
It doesn’t take long outside to realize why the chairs are so stained. June bugs, grasshoppers, things that sting (mosquitoes, wasps …), spiders overhead. It’s a jungle out there. Truly it is.
We rock. My hands freeze, as I push up the icy-blue sweetness. “I can’t write,” I say. “At a time in my life when I should feel the most encouraged, I have never been more discouraged. I can’t even manage a blog post. A simple blog post. What’s wrong with me?”
“You’re a good writer, Mama,” Little Bit says.
I release my empty popsicle package to the ground.
I push out of that chair, grab more popsicles, and nudge the grasshopper off the seat when I return, while begging his pardon. We continue rocking.
Breaking the short silence, my girl says, “What’s wrong with me, Mama?”
“Not a single thing. You’re perfect just the way you are. You have to be patient, trust, and wait on God,” I say.
Little Bit tosses her empty container to the ground.
Baby Girl, daughter #2, sticks her head out the door. It was only a matter of time. She has forever been my “I go where you go” daughter. “Want another popsicle?” she asks.
We two smile big and unanimously say, “Yes!”
Baby Girl hands everyone their cold treat and sits on the front porch step. I need one more rocking chair. And in her quietness, she sips on that pink ice until she releases her trash to the ground, along with all her heart’s unspoken. We know.
I toss my hair over the chair’s back, like the once perfectly white, stained wooden slat is a pony-tail holder. I don’t care what my hair touches … stain, tiny spiders. I don’t look; I just use it. The stain doesn’t bother me anymore, and come to think of it, that weathered look has always appealed to me anyway, the perfectly imperfect.
And would you look at that? Each baby girl has followed me, owning that white, distressed as it may be.
The cool air greets my flesh. I prop one bare foot up on the seat, while my other sways that chair and me back and forth. And somehow everything feels so clean and new. Just right.
I observe the pile of emptiness that’s fallen to the ground. “I think we might need a trash can out here.”
Do you have anything needing to be tossed away? What is threatening to trash your confidence? And do you have a place you love to gather with those who get you? How did you stumble across that conversation place?
I would crawl into bed with my girls when they were little, and we’d talk hours into the night. But somewhere in their growing up, we’d lost that cherished time. I’m so glad I sat down in that rocking chair at the onset of summer, that I found that conversation place, because every day I hear, “Let’s go sit on the front porch.” I drop everything, because I know that means we’ll gather popsicles and do some mother/daughter talking. I know their reasoning is partly because they get a break, and partly because they love me, but mostly because we always see God.