Constructive Connections is a fiction series. They are beginning tales of how each person is crafted by God to fulfill a purpose, to enhance the narrative of life. By contributing unique talents to serve one another, a tower God calls us to construct begins to form for His joy.
What a reflection. Golden wig, pink fairy wings, polka dot clown pants, and blue sweatshirt with “Save the Unicorn Lamas!” screaming across my chest. Mam-Maw would be pointing and laughing her pretty little grey-haired head off, askin’ me, “What did you sign up for this time, Dra-Mona?” When I was six, I had an ear-splitting rant-trum (like a tantrum, only I had my reasons and made them known for all to hear) at the Save-A-Lot grocery store. Ever since my passion ignited regarding obtaining that particular cherry fruit roll up, I lost the name Ramona and was dubbed “Dra-Mona, the reigning Drama Queen” by my loving family.
My 4-year-old Charles and I moved to Washington after some real-life drama exploded on our front lawn. My husband of 10 years decided I wasn’t all that and had a girlfriend on the side. I thought it fitting to leave his possessions on the lawn with a large Sharpie sign, “Free to any 6’5, size 13 shoe real man!”. Yah, I got a temper. All that was left when he came home was a few of his bowling trophies and his reading glasses.
Being a single parent has been the hardest challenge of my life. I had Mam-Maw to look to for direction the first few years of Charles’s life, but now I feel like I’m going solo. Well, there is also my ex-husband, Harper. He followed us up here to the Northwest a few months after Charles and I moved. Harper showed up on our apartment doorstep with a basket of fruit, introducing himself as my new neighbor. Sure enough, he rented an apartment a stone’s throw away; and believe you me, I was tempted to throw that stone!
Harper and I didn’t do much for reconciling before we left Tennessee; that’s not my way. If he was brazened enough to do the crime, it was not worth takin’ the time. Sure enough, Jesus kept trying to get my attention. I understand that we need to be forgiving, but I just couldn’t do it. My heart was full of the rage of being wronged. I had seen it enough times in other people’s lives to understand why I wasn’t ever to take back a cheater. Even if he was the father of Charles. Even if he had been my best friend from the time we were 8 years old. Even if he sent me letters, flowers, fruit, and all the rest. Cheatin’ was cheatin’ and there was no forgiveness in me.
But then it was Harper who was the one who found the church preschool. “Charles needs to find Jesus in this mess of what we did to upset his life.” Oh, yeah, I heard it too and called him out.
“We did? Are you serious?” My crossed arms and unbelieving eyes said it all.
“You and I both needed to come together, but you were busy. I was busy. Busy became life and we must’ve forgot to schedule each other in.” He wasn’t wrong, I guess. I was occupied being Charles’s mom; I might have forgot Harper also had to be part of the whole parenting process.
I met Amy at my son’s preschool. She didn’t even have kiddos, but she was doing what she loved; teaching sticky-crafts. We became fast friends, bein’ we were both from the South and had accents to make any Washingtonian stop and say, “Oooo, I just love how you talk!” I was thankful to meet Amy when I did. She was light in the dark of bitterness.
Amy and I attended a women’s retreat recently and I found out I wasn’t the only one who had trouble with that whole “forgiving” thing. There were a few divorcees in the group and a few that talked about putting their marriages back together after separation. Their testimonies about how God was their strength through all of the bumps and bruises of life was inspiring. But what I took from the weekend wasn’t about the endin’ or mendin’ of marriages. It was about the slowing down; praying for God to show me what part I had to play in the offence. Guess that is when Jesus got a hold and showed me the reflection of the drama I had allowed into my life.
I sat down with a group of ladies to play a game during the evening at the retreat. We got talking about life as we pondered which letters would fit the triple word score space. I was telling one of my silly stories from childhood and the ladies laughed so hard they dabbed at tears. Someone said, “I think I could listen to you read off a grocery list and be thoroughly entertained!” I smiled and something in me stirred. “Have you ever thought of acting in the dramas at church?” she asked.
Now I know who was responsible for the stirrin’; that Holy Spirit. Then I felt somewhere deep within, not audible, but just a feeling: What if I changed my focus of unforgiving angry, and put that negative…oomph into the telling of a story? Jesus was keen on story telling. Picturing Jesus weaving tales of thieves, rulers, and farmers to the people he met along the way must have been the best method to get his message across. People can watch a play and relate to the characters, they can read between the lines of the story being told. Tales of being mistreated, life decisions made in the name of justice, and the such, all lead to the redemption or the ruin of character.
Looking out into the audience, I see in the middle row a familiar face. Anger wanes as I realize the importance of changing the focus of anger, applying energy to creativity, and entertaining a smidge of forgiveness.
And I also realize how humility plays out in this crazy zany parable we are acting out for the church today, and how hard it is going to be to get the image of me in this ridiculous getup out of my head!
Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.