Today in church

Service over, I joined the throng of people in the aisle heading for the exit. This lady smiled at me and I smiled back. She looks familiar which is not saying anything since we all come here once a week. I made to go on but then she beckoned to me to come back.
“This is my daughter. She is so excited to see you.” Then sort of conspiratorially, she said “You know you are in a special class of people.” I am not so sure about the “special” bit, my hand has brought me nothing but heartbreak. Her daughter had several deformed fingers on both hands. She must be about 8 or so. I shook her hand and asked for her name which she shyly told me. She’s obviously Asian and from the name likely Chinese. The mum is Caucasian so I am assuming she was adopted. I said I hoped to see them again.
And as I walked out of the church, I noted for the umpteenth time that my left hand was one of the main reasons why at my age I still sat alone in church “…. he set the lonely in families …”
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At some point in my hazy past, I became aware I was different and not in a way I liked. Mean comments and mixed meaning comments from ids such as “Mummy look at his hand. It’s like baby feet.” Comments made while laughing to other kids, or made while peeking out fearfully from behind their mother’s dress, or while shrinking away in terror soon turned me into a recluse. I stuck the hand in my pocket always. I started to avoid people. I became my own company of one.
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I remember one of those messages when her no was definite, she made one random statement that went something like “…. my friend said when you finally get comfortable, you will tell me about your hand …”. In the midst of other statements such as “I never felt anything for you” and “I have friends leading guys on but I can’t do it to you any longer” that statement was completely out of place but gave me some comfort in a weird sort of way – after all if the rejection had to do with my deformity then I can say it was beyond my control – but that wouldn’t be the whole truth or even close.
I wanted to tell her I have never been comfortable. I have always hid the hand. Hid myself. The period of life most people spend socializing with their peers and learning how to interact with the opposite sex, I spent hiding. I hid in front of the TV; I hid in the vast library my dad had due to his love of books; I hid in magazines; I hid in my actively created daydreams; I hid in my room; I hid in my class; I hid everywhere; I hid in the corner of the room at the few parties I attended; I hid in plain site. My parents did their best of course. Being alone so long at such a time in my life made me secretive, a little spiteful, a little envious, a little jealous, a little selfish, a little manipulative, a little mean, a hodge podge of the seven deadly sins because I thought the world was unfair and that it owned me something when in fact it owed me nothing. I became a little fearful of everything that required interaction or a response. After all TVs don’t talk back and neither do books. I took time to read the books I find interesting … I might pause on a page and insert myself into the time period or place or circumstance and daydream a complete scenario – of sweeping in and saving the day. I dreamed of flying – of being a superhero. In high school I got myself a catapult for a while. I hit a pigeon once but it was only slightly grazed and it got away while a classmate held it gingerly (good for it). Then I went though my stone throwing period. I got good at it. I could hit even relatively small targets at vast distances. Activities to fill the void and the loneliness – activities that required no interaction.
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The only thing that forced me to take a peak at the world was the death of my father. Even though I had been living away from home for over  a decade, I had been content to hop on buses or into taxis to get around. Bu then there was lots to do including visiting my mother so I needed to be able to get around on my own schedule. It was then I got my first car. It was then I learned to drive. In my mid 30s. I remember taking out the car only on Sundays when the roads in my neighborhood were relatively free of traffic and the trepidation when any vehicle approached from the opposite direction.
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I keep trying to prove her wrong when she said “it’s too late for you, you can’t change.” But as the school’s guidance counselor said, “you have to be patient with yourself. You can’t expect to undo what you have spent 30-something years creating in a single year.” I know it is wrong but I am a creature of the past, because the past, even though is full of heartaches and heartbreaks, is safe – it can’t bite because it has no teeth. Its wounds itch and sometimes sting badly, but you know it’s just the scars playing up. If I come knocking on the door of your heart (a miracle in itself) you have to accept me as I am or give me plenty of time to change.
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The sermon was about King Jehoshaphat who gave thanks when going to war confronted by a coalition of three of Judah’s historical enemies and how the Lord turn his enemies against each other and Judah didn’t even need to fight at all. We should count our blessings and give thanks in all situations. I try.
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I wanted to tell the mum: “Throw her in at the deep end; Force her out there; She’s going to hear other children say hurtful things; She’s going to want to hide, but don’t allow it. She will thank you for it later.” Maybe I still will.

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3 Responses to Today in church

  1. Omoleye says:

    Well, this is human. We all have one or two things we hide too. Nobody chose her race, parents or skin color. When God allows somethings to happen to us, He believes we can handle it. We just need the courage and ask for His strength to help us deal with some situations above us
    He that gives such also gives more wonderful gifts like intelligence and the rest.
    No matter what dear, there are people that appreciate us than what we think, feel or see, even more than our siblings or blood relations. Loosen up dear, don’t hide it anymore. See yourself been loved for who you are by those that appreciate you.
    Your gratenes will bring them closer to you sooner than you expected.
    Keep soaring higher. Tell yourself you can overcome it. You didn’t apply for it. We can’t question Him. No matter the situation you find yourself, there are people who love you, appreciate you, admire you and will always celebrate you.
    Celebrate your gratenes always dear. Enjoy your life with those that love being around you. 😘 😘 😘

  2. Yetty says:

    Thanks Omoleye, you spoke my mind. One song comes to mind, a line from which does, “open my eyes, help me believe, I am what You see”. It is a song asking God to help us see from His point of view…a tall order it may seem, but He did say in Jeremiah 33:3, that ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I will show you great and mighty things that you know not!’ Some of those great and mighty things, He deposited on the inside of us. Some can’t even hide it, everyone else sees it. You are one of those! You have a good heart! Wishing you the very best and nothing less. He makes all things beautiful in His time!

  3. Damilola says:

    Well said, dear Yetty.
    I can’t wait to read the next article about the troublesome lady, or
    the naughty girl……. chapter by chapter….

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