Riding High on His Shoulders

Picking up from yesterday…

… I mentioned walking uptown to run some errands. 

Maybe I should have included what I saw (or rather WHO I saw) in my list of dubious God-moments I kept trying to convince myself were simply random experiences I was emotionally tying together.

Eat, Pray, Love, Doubt, Doubt, Doubt, Doubt, Repeat 

On the opposite side of the street, I spied a young man carrying his pre-school aged daughter (niece? little sister?) high up on his shoulders. It wasn't a particularly warm day, and for little legs the walk uptown even in Lac La Biche can seem really, really, really, really far. 

And I found myself thinking: "I don't see this nearly enough."

Perhaps it's because I'm not looking… perhaps it's because it happens when I'm not around… perhaps it's because dads just don't do shoulder rides as often as they used to, for sons or daughters. Regardless of the reason, I suddenly felt a little guilty for being so gifted with the sight of these two travelling together: daughter's arms spread out in the sunshine, free and happy.

I wanted to run up to them and thank them for sharing their love with the world, but he must have been going somewhere in a hurry as even my faster-walking legs couldn't quite catch up to them. And I was going to take a picture of them, but then my occasionally common-sense brain kicked in and warned me that this would be most likely frowned upon especially if I shared it online without permission (ya'll will just have to deal with a free photostock pic for now to get the idea). 
Shoulders 3

But there it was: riding high on Daddy's shoulders. The simple scene was everything I was begging for yesterday, is everything I'm begging for now. Why I'm not riding high… I don't know. Still working on this speaking terms thing with God.

I understand the push, too, for God to be see in feminine terms as well as masculine. But for this particular scene, I'm sticking with masculine… because I remember being carried on my Dad's shoulders when I was little.

My stomach would flip-flop, and suddenly the world would be much higher than I'd ever seen it. His steady gait would make my little body swing a bit, up and down, and yes… I did get a little saddle sore.

The last time I remember being carried on his shoulders was when I was 15 years old. It wasn't a happy time. It was the first time I'd overdosed on medication; I'd spent a horrible night in the hospital; and, because of health policy, I was forced to go see a counselor for the first time.

After a traumatic event of a failed suicide attempt, and facing my family, and trying to figure out just why I'd done what I'd done… policy is great for protecting people at risk… but I gotta say: the counselor was useless.

My parents and I left the office building and we walked back to the car. Being 15, I wasn't exactly light anymore. But Dad hoisted me up and carried me high. Maybe he wanted his little girl back. Maybe he wanted me close to know for sure I was safe.

All I knew was: my Daddy was still there. Mom was right beside us both (and a good thing too, because as well-intentioned as the shoulder ride was, it didn't last long. Like I said, I was 15 at the time!).

Today, church sucked.

The personal battle with God leeched over into community worship, and it all seemed awkward… unhinged… meaningless. There were more people than usual and I stifled any and all hyperventilation, completely unable to navigate the crowd in such a tight place. I'd failed… again. As badly as I want to be in relationship, the whispers that I never will because I can't connect kept bashing me.

So I left.

Keeping some semblance of routine, I went to the local grocery store as is often my custom on Sundays. To my delight and surprise, there stood one of the teenagers I've been getting to know over the past month or two. She's not had an easy life: foster placement after foster placement… promise of family after promise of family… formal diagnosis of FASD… and a host of other weights dragging her down.

But there she was, smiling and waving at me.

"I just got a job here this week!" she squealed. "But I'm sorry I missed church this morning"… said in genuine disappointment and not guilt. She's been really working hard to find a place with us. We've been only happy to oblige.

I promised to come through her till once I finished my shopping. Picking up what I needed, I came back and she promptly SLOWED DOWN her checkout of my items (much to the frustration of the guy behind me), because she wanted to talk and be reassured that "Yes, we ARE meeting Wednesday night for bible study". She was proud to show off her new skills — memorizing produce codes, inputing coupon amounts, etc.

I was bursting for her.

I don't know if I've made a drop of difference in her life. But I know she's made a difference in mine, just like the daddy&daughter from yesterday.

Like Elijah, maybe I just have to keep waiting for the whispers. I don't feel that little whispers are what I need right now, but who am I to know everything?

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