Third grade – Lakewood Heights Baptist School – Atlanta, Georgia.
I could sing but so could a lot of kids. Now being 52 and this being such a traumatic event so long ago I would like to forget but it is forever etched in my mind. In a previous post I wrote about some of my adventures with my psychiatrist. If that did not kill any political aspirations this entry certainly will. Or at least the pictures involved would.
Just before Christmas our third grade chorus was to sing multiple Christmas songs at the Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta, Georgia. It was one of the first true malls in the area. The attire for the night was a red elf type hat with a bell on the end, a white smock which came to the waist and red leotards with no shoes. There is a picture of this which I hope never surfaces. With skinny legs and body to match I looked like a…a…let’s just say it was horrible and would probably involve Christmas pixies. Thank goodness the guys on the little league team never heard about it.
On the classic song Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer I was to sing the opening lines, “You know Dasher and Dancer”, those lines. I can not remember the performance because the humiliation of the costume caused a memory block. Fortunately, the rest of the kids looked as bad as I.
We each have a memory we would just as soon forget from this time of year.
However, as bad as that was that year, I can not imagine what it is like to have more bad memories than good ones, more horrible years than awesome years. Some people actually dread this special season. I look for people who feel this way and like to get inside their head and rattle around. It is amazing what people will tell you if they believe they can trust you with their most intimate details.
For example, though this was not at Christmas time, this really happened.
I love to find people in their most transparent moments.
A business colleague and I were on the road and stopped into a restaurant for a bite. The server approached the table, a young woman, college age. As she was getting ready to say hello and introduce herself I jumped in before she could. I looked at her name tag and said, “Kelly, right now, tell me the most raw moment of your life.” As though we had rehearsed this, without even thinking, she said, “The day my dad said he would meet me at the airport, and he never came, and I never saw him again.”
The gut honesty of the moment was brutal. How long had this heartbreak been screaming right at the edge of her soul and she wanted to let the hurt out to someone, anyone. I do not recall anything that was said after that.
Kellys are everywhere. You may be a Kelly. Something happened outside of your control and you are needing to share it but no one has come along to ask you the right question so you could.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, may have been in a similar place. A raw moment indeed. Pregnant. Didn’t know how. Didn’t know why, except that an angel had visited her and told of what would happen. And people telling her that she would be great and would bring the long awaited Messiah from her womb. How can good come from this? She was pregnant out of wedlock and a virgin? Who would believe her? Many, but not all.
If I had crossed paths with Mary I might have asked, “Mary, tell me right now the most raw moment of your life.” I truly wonder how she would have responded.
Would it have been the birth, the sheperds, the kings who tried to kill her son, the beatings, the blood, the suffering, the pain of it all, those who cheered him, those who jeered him. I wonder.
Maybe, just maybe, she would have said, “I can’t believe God chose me to bring Hope into this world.”
Oddly, we should be able to say the same.