Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ginnie & Sebastian: October 26, age 32

Ginnie & Sebastian, the first chapter:  CLICK HERE
CLICK HERE for the previous chapter of Ginnie & Sebastian

October 26, age 32

“Ooh you make me live/ Whatever this world can give to me/ It's you, you're all I see…/ Ooh you make me live/ Oh, you're the best friend that I ever had”
-- John Deacon

     Finally, alone.
     I convinced my entourage to give me a few minutes.
     I’ve had to do a lot of convincing up until this moment: I would walk alone; I would have one bridesmaid; I would not wear white.
     This isn’t the most important day of my life, but it is my day, damn it.
     I smile at the reflection in the mirror.  I do look rather pretty.  My hand glides over the yards of navy blue velvet.  The fabric makes a sleek silhouette down to the waist where it curtains out to reveal a gold underdress.  The blue velvet embraces the length of my arms to the elbows where the sleeves drape into a bell displaying the inner gold lining.  Upon my head where I let my hair fall free, a single layer of golden gauze washes down my back, held on by a circlet of golden leaves and some long pins.  I lift my dress a little to glance at the soft leather shoes that clad my feet.
     Sebastian’s sloppy, giddy smile shows through my mind’s eye -- that moment when his sights will rest on the vision of me.
     Then my heart goes into palpitations.  The aisle.
     What was I thinking walking alone?  Maybe I could talk Beth into sauntering in and distracting the attention of the masses while I casually slide up the aisle behind her.
     I poke my head out of my “dressing room” and grab the woman leaning against the wall, bouquet of red roses dangling from one hand while the other deftly flips through social media postings on her phone.  Beth cries out as I yank her into the room and shut the door.
     Regaining her senses, Beth’s green eyes study my face.
     “Woah,” she says holding out her arms.  “You have crazy eyes.  You aren’t nervous are you?”
     “What do you think?” I say in a choked whisper.
     “Okay.  Easy.  You’re marrying Sebastian.  You love Sebastian, and he loves you.  And you guys are so good together.  It’s going to be fine.  You’ll say ‘I do,’ and live mostly happily ever after.”
     I cry an exclamation and throw my hands over my face.  "That’s not why I’m freaking out!”  I stomp around in a circle.  “All those people.  Look – look – I can’t do this.”  I pace the length of the room, and then jerk to a stop because Beth takes a death-grip on my arms.
     “Ginnie.  Breathe.”
     I death-grip Beth back, my fingers digging into her flesh so hard I can feel the bones.  “Helena can go find Seb.  We can go to the Justice of the Peace on Monday --.”
     I freeze.  Not one muscle twitches.  Don’t even blink.
     “Sebastian is already at the front of the church.  And there are not ‘masses’ of people, only three rows on either side.”
     I shake my head.
     “No.  Listen to me.”
     Beth lets up on my arms though I’m sure it will be hours before the tattoo of rose stems from the bouquet she held between her hand and my arm vanish.
     “Listen.  Breathe in good air.  Breathe out bad.  Good.  Now, here’s how it’s going to go down.           Those doors are going to open.  Music will be playing.  A very pretty tune you picked out.  You’re going to hear the chords of music.”
     I nod still clinging to Beth’s gesturing arms.
     “I’ll walk in first, and then when all the violins go big you’ll step – that’s walk, not sprint – down that aisle behind me.  You just watch Seb and listen to the music.  Seb will be the tall, dark and handsome bean pole up front wearing a ridiculous grin.”
     My breathing picks up.
     “Or, just this once, you can watch my butt.”
     Ah, Beth.  She gets me.
     There is a barely audible knock on the door.  Beth cracks it open and on the other side is William, one of Chris' cousins.  It’s time.
     William slips into the sanctuary.  I stand to the side as Beth opens the double doors and places the doorstops.  Beth poises herself.  The pretty music begins, but what is about to happen is still surreal – the idea that it’s my time, and that I get the glorious privilege of being Sebastian Haepst’s wife.  He picked me.
     I step to Beth’s vacated spot.  I feel the urge to look around, but I know I can’t.  If I do, I will run the other way – not because I don’t want to do this but because I will need to find a toilet to puke in.  The violins swell; I watch Beth’s butt swerve this way.  I follow the – slightly exaggerated – swish of her tail end placing one foot in front of the other all the way until Seb’s hand comes into my line of vision.  I take hold of the proffered, familiar hand and come back into myself.
     Sebastion is wearing a sloppy grin, and that whisky smile burns my throat and warms my belly, the heat radiating outward until I can again sense feeling in all my extremities.
     Till death us do part.

CLICK HERE for the next chapter of Ginnie & Sebastian

Monday, May 2, 2016

Remember to whom you belong

Yesterday in Sunday School (Connect Group to use the Green Ridge vernacular) we discussed some metaphors used to describe membership in the church -- and then we used metaphors to define the metaphors and things got hairy.

One of the metaphors was something like children of God/we are God's family.  SS teacher/CG leader said, "We're under a new crest."  And that 1) got me excited because it made me think of knights and ancient families and that sort of thing, which I'm kind of a nerd about and 2) got me thinking.

For the previous four years (May 2011 - summer 2015), I lived in San Diego with my grandmother (my grandfather died July 2011).  She developed dementia during those four years.  It started slowly and progressively worsened.  She's all right.  Her short-term memory is completely dotty, but she still remembers who we are and where she is.

Being a caretaker for someone takes a lot of energy, or maybe it was the dementia that acted like an airborne disease.  Hang around anyone long enough, you start to act like that person.  My point is during those four years, I lost so much of myself.  I wasn't only living in a fog, but it was almost like I had amnesia:  "Do I like Jello?"

I've always struggled with identity, believing to whom I belonged (whether a person or a group) was where I gained my identity.  But where do I belong?  I am a child of God -- I understand the concept, but I never claimed it.  Knowing something is true is far different from claiming that something as one's own.

Isaiah 43:1 says to whom I belong: the LORD says, 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name.  You are mine.'

So now I'll travel back to that phrase, once one is adopted by God to be a child of God that person is under a new crest, a new banner, a new sigil.  These things (I'll use "banner" henceforth since that is the word used in the Bible) state to which family or house one belongs, which name one claims for one's own.

To be a child of God simply means to be saved, which in this sense, means that you confess to believe that God is a triune God -- he is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  You believe that God came to earth in human form, as Jesus, born from a virgin.  You believe he died on the cross for our sins.  You believe he was buried and three days later, he rose again to life -- that he is alive today.  God did all the work, all you have to do is believe.  No joke.

Believing isn't the same thing as understanding; it's only knowing.  Believe me (yep, went there) there is not one person in history, aside from Jesus (the Son), who understands the concept of God being three full, separate entities in one.

Once you believe those things -- God is three in one, he was born of a virgin, lived, died, rose again -- and confess your belief to God, you are a child of God.  For those of you awake,  yes, every single person is a child of God; there are believers (those who know this and confessed it are saved) and unbelievers (those who don't accept this or don't realize it are not saved).

Being a child of God means you are under God's banner; he says to you: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name.  You are mine.

He is Jehovah Nissi, which means the LORD is my banner (crest, sigil).  We are under his protection and, yes, under his authority.  He stands guard over us, each and every one.  He goes where we go.  He never sleeps but is always alert.  He provides everything we need.  And we don't have to beg an audience with the King, we simply need go to him.  Hebrews 4:16 says we may boldly approach the throne of God, and there we will find his mercy and receive his grace (= an undeserved gift) when we are in trouble or in a time of need.  Philippians 4:6 states: Do not worry about anything; instead, pray for everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

You are a child of the King.  When life is hard, remember to whom you belong and straighten your crown.  Under his wing, you are sheltered and cared for and loved beyond measure.  And when life is good, remember to whom you belong, hold your crowned head high, and act like it by sheltering others, caring for them and loving them beyond measure; remind them that they belong to.