The Cast of Characters

Stories for the Journey

 

Note: The last few days of this series, I will share stories of those that have influenced my own. I am forever grateful to God for each of them.

 

In your story, you are the main character. In my story, I have the leading role. I’ve already told you Who is writing my story.

However, none of us can accomplish her story without a cast of characters. I’ll just share a few more excerpts of my story to highlight those with whom I share it:

Another morning rushing to get ready for school. I pour cereal and try to recall what tests I have today and if I got all my homework done. I hear someone talking downstairs. My siblings are at the table with me, and Mom is bustling about checking backpacks and putting the finishing touches on our lunches. I smile to myself. Of course. Dad is the one downstairs talking. His voice moves below me as he paces. He may kneel in church, but when he and his Father are having a one-on-one conversation, he’s walking. I hear my name, and my confidence soars a bit higher. Maybe I can survive another day of high school drama and Algebra 2. My two fathers have already conferred about me. It’s going to be a good day.

~~~~~~

The vacuum whirs, and I shift in my sleep. I squint my eyes toward the red numbers of my bedside clock. The first number is a five, so I don’t bother to read the rest. I roll back over and snooze. Meanwhile, my mama does her work. She’s going to spend the next few hours getting three kids off to school and a full day helping Dad with his ministry. She steals the fringe hours. I never see my Mama read her Bible much. She always does that early while I’m still in slumber. If it weren’t for the sound of the vacuum, I would never know the sacrifices she makes to spend time with Jesus and care for our home. Yet, when I sneak in to sit on the edge of her bed tonight and tell her about a problem at school, she’ll open her eyes. And she won’t roll back over and sleep until I do.

~~~~~~

When he was born, I took it upon myself to protect him. Big girls at church would try to hold him or carry him around, and I would scowl. For awhile, he appreciated it. He came to me for lunch money when he forgot his at home. He played the games I thought up while we swung on our Sesame Street swing set. Brother and sister relationships being like they are, that didn’t last long. But now in our teen years, we are good friends again. I have learned to back off a little, and we write letters. Yeah, we live in the same house, but sometimes words don’t come quickly and they need to be thought over for awhile. Navigating these years is tough, but on the worst of days, I know he has my back, and I  have his. And I still scowl at certain girls. Someday I’ll marvel at the sister-in-love he chooses, and thank God for her almost as much as he does.

~~~~~

Ten years ago, she was a little girl crying because her big sister was moving out of the bottom bunk bed and into a house across town with her new husband. Today, it’s me blubbering in front of a packed church. It may be pregnancy hormones, me with a half-baked little one. It may be that she’s moving 8 hours away after her honeymoon. Or it may just be that ridiculously heart-wrenching song my dad is singing to her. She’s radiantly beautiful as always, inside and out, getting ready to say “I do” to the preacher she said she’d never marry. Turns out love doesn’t consider occupations, just persons. And I’m already missing the person that brought laughter and excitement to my life. I’m hoping the miles will have just as little effect on separating us as the years between us have.

~~~~~

“It’s a girl!” But the announcement doesn’t surprise us one little bit even though we wouldn’t let them tell us until now. We already knew our baby was a she. And the knowing stops there because he’s pacing the hospital floor worrying something is wrong with our baby who just won’t stop screaming. And keeps screaming for what will later seem like the whole first year. We get home and find the baby registries might recommend a jogging stroller and a wipe warmer and a mobile, but they forget some essentials which we hurry out to buy while the screaming escalates a bit more. We’re trying to learn all about how to be parents, and wonder if we’ll ever figure it out. Then, she stops and coos up at us, and we think maybe we can make it through one more sleepless night.

~~~~~

“Honey!” I shake him awake and hold the pregnancy test up before his blurry eyes. He knows what it is, but three years has dulled him memory on how to read them. “Maybe next time,” he mumbles and starts to go back to sleep. I shake him again, “No, honey….look again. It’s positive! We’re going to have our boy!” Again, we are sure, but not so sure we don’t have the ultrasound tech check to confirm that, yes, we will have to add some blue to the nursery. Our hospital stay this time is quieter. When this baby cries, we look up to see who’s coming in the door because it just sounds like a little squeak. We find out in nine more months that what he lacks in volume, he makes up in activity. He starts running, and it looks like we’ll be running to catch up from now on.

~~~~~

The ultrasound tech tells us it’s a boy this time. And we are surprised this time. For the first time, we have a baby that is so content that he doesn’t even try to crawl until the age our first baby was walking. And no running for this one. He doesn’t take his first steps until he’s 15 months old, and my hip feels permanently disabled from carrying him everywhere I went for those months. He continues to meander through life, taking time to listen to the intricacies of music and form perfect letters on his handwriting worksheets. A virtue that is sometimes lost on us when we are trying to get ready to go out the door.

~~~~~

This time we’re surprised by the pregnancy test. Four children is stepping into the realm of big families, and it just doesn’t seem reasonable. But God knows that reasonable can be boring. So he gives us another baby. Another boy. And the sleepless nights are still happening after his first birthday, and we wonder again if we can keep this up. Then, he wraps chubby arms around our necks, and we’re so thankful that God had the wild idea of fitting a fourth child into a two bedroom house. And another child into our hearts, full and overflowing and oh, so blessed!

~~~~~

Years ago, they welcomed me into their home  for a visit, and today they welcome me into the family. It’s been 15 years since I joined hearts with their son, and now we join around the table. Well, it takes two tables now. There are ten kids, all boys but my one rosebud. And there are two other sisters-in-love and the obligatory brothers that come with them. With all the trials life can bring, I thank God again that in-laws don’t have to be at war. I married one man, but I gained two more parents, four more siblings and nephews that come in every size from adorable babies to tall, lanky teenagers.

~~~~~

There are many more stories. So many extras in this story God’s writing for me. They say no man is an island. I know that my story would not be what it is without the intersection of dozens more with mine.

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

  • […] both those that live in our house and our extended family members, play a crucial part in our growth. However, all of use need mentors in various areas of life as well. The idea of […]

Post a Comment