Remember When I Said {Chapter2}

I probably should have mentioned our accommodations for the week. We are staying at the AFC Retreat/Campground, nestled in the curvy mountain roads in TheMiddleOfNoWhere, WV. It is quaint and PrincessMe has her own room. It is tiny and cozy and I could wash my feet IN the shower while I pee, if I chose to. The caretaker and his bride are the most adorable people ever. I loved them instantly and their love of Jesus and the girls of GBC radiates from them. The camp is close to 40 minutes from the prison, depending on who’s driving. It was quite ironic to discover 3 of us get car sick, and nearly arm-wrestled for the shotgun spot!DSCN0050

{{Naturally, I’m the one with the cheesy smile and pink hair}}

Day 2 at GBC begins with slightly more boldness than Day 1, I think we are gaining their trust, some. We are greeted with more cheer and anticipation. We have things sorta-kinda-planned, but we are more-than-happy to just roll with it. It’s pretty casual and we still have a purpose for being there. It’s becoming abundantly clear, we need to BE the church, they’ve had people come in and scoop potatoes, do a church service and leave. It’s time to put love into action, it’s time to get out from behind the potato-scooping-barrier and LOVE.

To say we were blessed abundantly, by the generosity of others, is a huge understatement! Friends, family and even strangers donated prayerfully, financially and where we discovered a need… someone showed up and stood in the gap. Because of the generosity, we are so excited to be able to gift each of the girls a beautiful Inspire Bible. It has many pages that are like coloring book pages as well as space for journaling. The girls were thrilled! They each dug in and started coloring, and coloring and coloring. As I watch them coloring, so proudly, I realized how childlike it was. It’s then that my heart broke…some of them never got to be little girls. Being brought up in a drug using/selling home, taking care of yourself and younger brother while your parents are out cold from partying. Having a parent inflict their drug use upon you at age 11, only to watch them be carted off to prison at 13. Yeah, “when you know better, you do better”. These girls are fighting to know and do, better!! As I watched them interact with each other and us, I smiled down to my toes. Most of them asked one of us personally to sign/dedicate their Bible; that honor was not lost on any of us.

After lunch, while other crafts and activities are swirling the room, I have gravitated to one particular baby, a precious 6 week old, blonde sweetie named Lee. I am drawn to him, eerily so. I rock with him on my shoulder for what seemed like hours. (I think it really was hours) My tears are falling in a gentle stream, not even knowing where they’ve come from. As I change his position, to cradle him in my arms, it hits me! HARD! This beautiful blonde baby, with his wrinkly little old man forehead, looks just like my youngest son. In this moment I am broken into a zillion jagged pieces. My 23 year old son has not spoken to me in nearly 6 years, still bitter and angry over his dad’s and my divorce. My gentle stream has turned to a tsunami. I have no idea what to do with this revelation and emotion. I can’t even identify what emotion this truly is.

One of things our team discussed, in our pre-trip meetings, is the emotional fallout that happens surrounding mission trips. Many deep-rooted emotions can be triggered with a simple sound, smell or activity. We discussed the importance of self-care and taking the time to walk through each step, it may not be bold confident steps, but go through it! One of the things we voiced is the need to let others know if you need time alone. To process in your own way, with no interruption. We laughed about code words so that others may know this is where you are emotionally. As we walked out of the facility at the end of the day, I called rutabaga, my code for solitude.

Returning to camp, I immediately go to my room, lock the door and close out the world. We are in an area with no cellphone service and a spotty bit of wifi. I am alone in my thoughts and grateful for the moment. As I lay on my twin bed, with my pillow and blanket from home, I sob from the deepest recesses of my soul. I don’t understand any of this. I can’t comprehend how the sweetness of this beautiful boy can trigger…me…so… that’s when it smacks me. It is because of the sweetness of this blonde boy, that I’m so broken. It’s then the gentle voice of God tells me, this boy is not yours, that boy does not exist anymore he is now an adult. He is free to make choices of his own accord. I cannot make him change direction or change his mind. The only thing I am in control of is my response. Clinging to the clouded memory of my sweet baby and not allowing him the room to choose his own life, does nothing but change me (and those closest to me). I am thankful for the rickety wifi so that I can message with MyLove. He helps me across the distance to find a place of calm, a place of acceptance, a place of rest. He is such a gift, I missed having him dry my tears, knowing full well he had his own to dry.

Wow, how ironic, who’s the childlike one now….

 

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