Saturday, 17 September 2016 12:07

Homecoming Queen, Beloved

Written by  Priscilla K. Garatti

I knew she'd been the homecoming queen at her high school some years ago.  I could believe it.  She had impossibly blue eyes and I think what must have naturally been a golden brown halo of hair curling around her smooth, fair face.  Now her eyes blazed just as blue, yet filled with anger, her now dyed red hair thin and lank.  Her skin, though, still dewy and youthful.  She hated me.

I went mute.  Her outburst moved in on me like silent fog.  I hadn't expected such vehemence.  I could feel anxiety manifesting physically--the pink flush rushing up my neck and face, the prickly onset of perspiration on my upper lip.  I actually didn't want to fight back, defend myself.  I wanted to run--flee from the rasping, toxic voice.  Be done with her.  

But I couldn't be "done with her."  She was a patient at the clinic where I work.  She wasn't following the rules.  In many ways, I could understand how she felt.  To her I was like a cop, zeroing in on how she'd broken the law.  In her tirade, she'd shouted, "Don't you know how hard I'm trying?"  Then answered the question herself.  "Of course you don't.  You could never understand me."

I would have liked to say,  "If only you knew that we're so much more alike than we are different.  Human beings all have some form or other of pain and misery that we're attempting to move through. And we all have guidelines that we must navigate in this life.  We all have failed at one time or another."  But she couldn't hear.  She was too mad.  Too ashamed, I think, down deep to become vulnerable. She was in protection mode.  I understood.  How many times have I, too, been in protection mode?  Rejecting help.  Refusing to engage with people who've wanted to help me.  Pushing God away.

She wasn't capable of speaking to me, so I prayed, "God, what do I do?"  

"Pray.  See her as a child.  Imagine her as a four-year-old, curious and innocent.  Imagine that child trapped in a place where she had no control, little unconditional love.  Blaming herself for the misery in her home.  Thinking, 'If only I could be perfect, things would be okay.'  Then reaching perfection.  Homecoming Queen.  Doing all the right things.  But that still not working.  And now life has gone so far south, she has almost no hope. And she told you she knows me.  Remember that session where she told you she has faith in me?  Remember?  She's my beloved.  My beloved homecoming queen.  See her that way and allow all your resentment to drain away.  Yes, both of you are so much alike.  You are both my beloved.  And you are further along in knowing your Kingdom identity.  But she is not.  And she needs your intervention. She can't hear you.  But I hear you, and I love you both."

And so I've pictured this woman as a darling child.  That helps.  I've prayed that her mind be opened to God's empowering presence. That she be healed physically and emotionally. That her hope be restored. That grace replace shame--that she be delivered of this horrible shame that blankets her mind, heart and soul. That she allow her gracious God to lift her head, to meet His loving gaze. Be vulnerable to Him.  Allow Him to grasp her hand, pull her up.  Be embraced and encircled by His light and love.  And, you, kind reader, pray for her too.  Pray that she would understand her Kingdom identity. The beloved. The cherished.  

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What Readers Are Saying

In Missing God Priscilla takes a brave and unflinching look at grief and the myriad ways in which it isolates one person from another. The characters are full-bodied and the writing is mesmerizing. Best of all, there is ample room for hope to break through. This is a must read.

Beth Webb-Hart (author of Grace At Lowtide)

winner"On A Clear Blue Day" won an "Enduring Light" Bronze medal in the 2017 Illumination Book Awards.

winnerAn excerpt from Missing God won as an Honorable Mention Finalist in Glimmertrain’s short story “Family Matters” contest in April 2010.