Archive for May 6th, 2012

& the Tar Baby.
May 6, 2012

Surrounded by them I felt a little lovely chill.  Pages to consume, covers to crinkle back, characters to get fast acquainted with… standing in the bookstore yesterday was like visiting the house of a very old and very best friend.

The only problem is that books & I broke up a long time ago.

This now-blonde curly sue was once a permed dishwater brunette with glasses and crooked teeth and a cowlick straight down the middle of her bangs.  She had homemade clothes and skin so pale some might even say it glowed.

She did however, have much the same personality then that she has now.

She was in trouble a lot, and despite the spankings that never seemed to teach much of a lesson, there was one punishment she hated more than any other.

Being grounded.
…from the library.

Yes, ’tis true… the kid hated to be separated from her best friends, whether it be a club of babysitters or Miss Nancy Drew or even the far-too-old-for-her-to-really-understand writings of Erma Bombeck, she couldn’t be away from the other worlds and other lives of her books.

In fact, the rule was that on her weekly trips to the local library, she could only check out as many books as she could carry and still see over.  So she’d hang her arms low and stand high on her tiptoes to get out with a dozen or so.

And at age seven she read the unabridged Anna Karenina, at six it was Little Women, and at five, she beat everyone in the 1st grade by reading 103 books in some contest that earned her a free personal pan pizza.

She kept it up through junior high and high school, reading Christian romance novels like they were sustenance, along with the classics of Dickens and Stevenson and Wilde and Doyle.

In college she transitioned to every book about Jesus and the church and the heart that she could get her hands on.  In fact, her favor of alliteration can be solely contributed to the devouring of Mr. Max Lucado’s every word.

Devotionals, memoirs, biographies of faith… there was a turn to the world of non-fiction, but she always read for the same feeling.  Hope.

She wanted the words to wrap up reasonably, for her attention to be kept, but at the end… whether a woman in the arms of a firefighter on the plains of Texas or a lost soul banking on their new belief… she literally craved the hope.

And then, not too long ago, she… I… realized that their were so many unread books on my desk, on my shelves, littered throughout my house. Books I’d put on birthday lists and begged for at Christmas, books I might have even started, but all unfinished.

Because it was what I used to read for, that I simply can’t stomach anymore.
The hope.

And it’s not just the fictional stories and the famed evangelists; there are dinner conversations I avoid and phone calls I won’t answer because I can’t let any more words of someone else’s realized hope into my ears, making their way to my heart.
I started writing letters to my husband at age 11, and steadfastly kept up with it until two Aprils ago.
There are dreams I had for myself and my life and my future that are mired in hopelessness.

I have gotten each limb and my spirit tangled into the blackest, stickiest, soul-sunkenest tar of hopelessness.

Like the South’s beloved Brer Rabbit, I kept swinging, while the enemy hid just behind the brush, rolling in laughter, waiting till I was immobilzed in his trap.

“The Tar Baby, she said nothing. ‘Fine! Be that way,’ said Brer Rabbit, swinging at the Tar Baby with his free paw. Now both his paws were stuck in the tar, and Brer Fox danced with glee behind the bushes.”

The devil is dancing with glee over me, I tell you that.
A girl who couldn’t live without hope now can’t live with it.

And I guess in a way I find myself hollering for the briar patch, but damn that thing’s gonna sting.

I need every prickly needle to tear away the tar of defeat that I’ve been spun into punch by punch.  I don’t want the faith that God will do only the opposite and most hurtful thing in response to my cries and requests and pleadings.  I don’t want the faith that I won’t be loved until I’m pretty enough to be worth loving.  I don’t want the faith that it will always be like this.  I don’t want the faith that I’m stuck in hopelessnes, and safe there.

So I’ve stepped out to be swung into the briar patch.

And it’s a vulnerable, to-be-honest terrifying place to be.
In four days I won’t have a job anymore.  I chose to step out on faith.  I chose to step out with hope.

And I’m praying for an answer and then direction to the faith in a God who designs with a purpose.


Hope in a God who doesn’t waste.
Hope in a God who answers.
Hope in a God who pities the desperate.
Hope in a God who wants us to hope.


Maybe soon you’ll see me with my arms hung low, up on my tiptoes, with a dozen or so reasons to hope in my hands, gray eyes barely peeking over.

Here’s hoping.