“Like a stranger in a crowd, she reached through life’s thick noise and laid finger on my skin, asking …”
vi. Reach: to move toward something in order to touch or grasp it
Girl gets on a bus and travels three days across the country to reach a place where she’s heard she may find Freedom.
Swiss girl ignores noise and naysayers, pushes through red tape and bureaucratic objections and gets on a plane for the country where she believes she’s meant to live.
Woman thinks doors have closed, but listens to the still, small voice in her heart and tries the one more thing. She pushes in, pushes through and the holy doors finally–finally!–swing open wide and welcome.
It would have been easy not to. Easy to give up. Easy to stop for a latte, instead. Not to push and reach and stretch and lean in to touch the skin of the Holy One.
The crowds were so thick.
It would have been fully understandable not to.
It would have been easy to stay right where she’s at.
But what would she have missed?
My phone beeped with a Twitter text. Direct Message (Twitterspeak) on a Saturday night from a girl in another city who is both facebook and Twitter friend—enquiring if perhaps we could Skype sometime? Voice to voice. Heart to heart.
Like a stranger in a crowd, she reached through life’s thick noise and laid finger on my skin, asking for an hour of my attention.
I already had to postphone once, so this–her second ask–compels me to look at my calendar. The seven times 24-hours of the week brimming with the demands and joys of life.
Monday. Booking a birthday party for the seven-year-old. Buying invitation cards. Writing invitations. Driving kidlets to and from school. Back and forth. Back and forth.
Same Monday–pushing through the details of booking a three-city trip to Africa. Arrangements and travel plans and emails and phone calls.
Tuesday. Mom, far away, going in for surgery. Calling South Africa on the other side of our day to be “with,” somehow.
Wednesday. One meeting in the morning. Two meetings out in the evening.
Thursday. Hosting ten bookclub darlings at my home with papaya salsa and shiraz and connecting over written words.
All week: Spiritual mom fighting her own fight, a little closer.
And through this life-that-is-a whole-lotta-life, I also make dinner and school lunches and pour Rice Crispies into three blue porcelain bowls and squeeze in a hug for husband on his way to work.
But she asked. And there was something in the asking, the persisting—the reaching through the crowd—that crystallized into an appointment on my calendar.
Speak to the Bones
When Friday morning came, my four-year-old had a playdate. The house fell quiet and I opened my pink Message–time feeling so much like the most delicious luxury–to a favourite passage in Ezekiel. The 37th chapter.
“Breath of Life,” the heading. About dry bones: a picture of death, finality, impossibility. A story of God and prophet, standing side by side and the Divine directing the human to speak Life to the already-past-hope emptiness.
And as prophet spoke, the bones started to rattle and stretch and move and come together. Until prophet-man saw that the bones had no breath in them and he’s instructed this time: “Prophesy to the breath.”
I opened my exercise book with the blue cover. Black pen moved to curve out sentences of scripture … a quiet practice to calm the rush within and let Spirit speak. Copying, like ancient scribe. I slow down and watch my pen move, writing these holy words on such ordinary paper.
Then it’s time. We Skype and in I hear about a past threaded with both filling hunger and denying hunger.
Moments of decision I know so very well in my own bones: whether I would choose good for my body because I have a body worthy of good things. Or whether I would give in to the inner battle, that wanting to deny deny deny self.
I have heard those words shouting from within: You are not worthy of a good feeding. You are not worthy of the nutrition and the time and the effort of feeding your body of what is good.
I have fought that voice over many feedings—including hasty Mommy days when I would chop veggies for the kids, but would neglect to set a plate for me. Who has time to sit and eat when you’re serving and feeding hungry mouths?
We talked about Jairus’ daughter and she shared how different it was to sit with this story in a room of women who struggled with denying self of good food. And how Jesus specifically instructed those around the awakened daughter to feed her.
“ … he told them to give her something to eat.” –Mark 5:43
With the words from a holy hungry Friday post one week earlier still echoing powerfully in my spirit, I finally asked: May I pray for you?
Yes, please, she said.
We prayed and invocation streamed from lips and heart.
Speak to the Hunger, I heard.
And I thought about Jairus’ daughter and girls everywhere who need to rise up and eat, eat, eat and so I prayed more, all the while doing my best to listen from Above … Praying:
That she would eat from the goodness of God
and the feast of friendship
Eat eat eat
from the gift of community.
Eat from a table of purpose and know what she is to do in this world.
Eat from unconditional Love.
Eat, girl, from Value. Even swallow Worth whole, if you like.
Eat from Heaven and be nourished, satisfied, full …
I dolloped it out in words as best I could from a heart so hungry for more girls to awaken and rise and eat and get well.
The words flowed strong and when I looked up, she was wiping tears.
What gift, I thought. For me as much as her. What gift that we could meet and she could find nourishment in these prayer words. What gift that I could find such inspiration in her faith–this woman-girl reaching through the crowd, asking for what she needed.
That holy holy holy moment on a Friday morning reminded me:
- What power in this faith-stretched Asking for what we need.
- What power in sharing stories and bending hearts together before Heaven.
- What power, so readily available when we are willing to sink our teeth into the knowing-that-we-know and push through the crowd to find Holy right there at the end of our reach.
My dear SheLoves friends:
- I would love to hear a story of when your tenacity led to a Holy touch.
- What do you need or want to push through the crowd for in this season? Today?
- Who or what represents the crowd keeping you from where you want to go?
- O, so many days I need to eat from patience. Some days I need to eat from forgiveness. Today I need to eat from quiet confidence. What do you need to eat from today?
- Any other comments or thoughts?
I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth.
My word for the year is “Roar,” but I have learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice.
I have three children and this place–right here, called shelovesmagazine.com–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago.