It is a warm spring day on Long Island.Azaleas are blooming and a gentle breeze ruffles my auburn locks.Mrs. Carney,who is my ride from school, has dropped me off on Jerusalem Avenue across from Artie's Cleaners.I have a six block walk home and have no fear because it is 1948 and these streets are safe,even for a kindergartner.I am walking along the sidewalk when I notice three boys,older than I ,across the street.I don't know them.Suddenly,amid laughter,they pick up stones and start heaving them in my direction.I am shocked and frightened.I start to run and the laughter and the rocks continue.I do not cry until my mother opens the door of our house.
I have carried this burden since then ,the weight of it heavy, because I always wondered why they picked me.What was wrong with me?I took the incident very personally; perhaps children do.
Several years ago, I was in a program that trained Spiritual Directors.The leaders encouraged us to seek God's healing for the wounds of our lives, so I took this memory into a quiet place and closed my eyes.In my imagination ,the story unfolded as it happened:the boys,rocks,the fear, but instead of turning onto my street ,I turned right and walked down California Avenue.The sweet red haired Mrs.Lyons was in her front yard and when she saw my sad face she came over to hug me with her special warmth.She ushered me into the bright kitchen, gave me milk and a cookie and when she heard what had happened,she explained that they were just rowdy boys who would have harassed the first kid to come alone.I could feel her kindness in my heart.Since that time, this is my memory when I think of those boys.But,you say,it's not real and you are right and wrong.
I was not ready to understand all of this ten years ago.Even though Mrs. Lyons was not there,Christ was.I know that He saw and though He wouldn't interfere,He loved me wantonly in those dreadful moments .If He had whispered the truth of what happened in that small ear,I would not have heard so when I was ready to understand, which was today while swimming ,a revelation came.He was the Mrs.Lyons and Mrs. Rooney and all the kind people I have known and He has been with me,always.It was He who led me to Mrs Lyons in my imaginative journey and I am surprised to see how rich this memory has become.It took 65 years for me to know this but I glow with the
And as if to affirm my revelation ,this quote appeared on Facebook today:
"I command you:be firm and steadfast!Do not fear nor be dismayed,for the Lord,your God,is with you wherever you go".Joshua 1:9.