Sunday, November 24, 2013

From Fearful to Freedom

My girls and my Honey have gone to the movies this morning and left me at home with chores and my own thoughts. This morning after they left I was thinking of this: 

"Fearing human beings is a snare; but he who trusts in Adonai will be raised high [above danger]." ~Proverbs 29:25

It brought to mind some of the abusive things that happened in my childhood. Not from my parents but extended family and neighbors. Perhaps you've heard of this "new" game called "The knockout game." I can assure you, it's nothing new. When I was a kid, riding on the school bus, many of the children who got on in my neighborhood played a variation of this game. They would pick one white kid, who sat as close to the bus driver as possible, and start hitting him or her. Mostly it was girls who participated in this game. We were the last kids to get on then there was a short 2 mile ride to school, but it was the most terrifying ride! They walked up and down the isle of the bus taking turns hitting with open hands, fists, books, whatever, with complete immunity! The bus driver would occasionally say it wasn't safe to be walking around so the next day the black kids would spread out and take a seat each so there was no getting away for the few white kids who rode the bus. I wasn't a "white kid" but my Mom is white and even though most of these black boys and girls were my cousins, I was not immune to their taunts. I spent many mornings fearful of the ride to school, the sitting int he cafeteria before the bell rang, the chaos these kids could just get away with because they were black in a small predominately white school. No one was safe and the teachers always turned a blind eye to what they did to other students because they feared being called "racist" and loosing their jobs! This was the 1980's. It wasn't all the black kids, but a vast majority of them. There were very few who would not participate on the school bus, but some who had white friends at school would act like they didn't know the most rowdy ones once we got to school. This, sadly, was not the beginning of my fear, but added to it daily. 

The first time I remember being singled out was a day that most of the kids from my neighborhood were sick so they weren't there. There was one girl in particular who, though a few years younger than me, was always at least as tall as I was, for I was short. I had worn a dress to school that my Dad bought me as a surprise. It was so lovely! I was so excited to wear it to school! I didn't really have many friends there, but I wanted to feel pretty and not be just another kid in jeans and an old t-shirt. We were not exactly dirt poor, but we were not that well off and the town school I went to was full of kids who's parents were doctors and college professors. Having new clothes were a really big deal. It wasn't even my birthday or anything! He bought it for me just because he loved me! I got on the bus and this one girl said to me "Who are you supposed to be? Who do you think you are in that dress?" Now, there weren't very many other kids from that "mean" group of kids, so only one or two others jeered. She just kept on talking about it ALL THE WAY TO SCHOOL. I sat about two seats back from the very front that day and slumped down as far as I could in my seat making it harder for anyone to hit me just in case anyone came forward to do so. No one did. I never wore that dress again. I never wore any dress again for many years. I still had so many years growing up in that neighborhood that I felt I could never take that chance again. 
I was thrilled one year because there were more white kids on our bus than black kids and whatever mayhem happened was in the back of the bus in only about 2 or 3 seats. There were many fights among that group of kids.  Once, my Grandpa was in traffic behind the school bus and one of my cousins, who usually ran with that group of kids, but because they could not openly pick on white kids (there were so very many more of them) they picked on her. I was sitting up close again to the front. I felt that knot in my empty stomach- the one that would cause me not to eat breakfast at school and nothing at home because I was so afraid of getting hit and throwing up or something like that- and before too much could happen, my Grandpa flagged down the bus, which pulled over, got on and told those kids he was going to tell their parents, got her off the bus and took her on to school. He didn't take me or the few other cousins who sat int he front. The rest of the ride the kids from the back called him "Cricket"" as in Jiminy Cricket, the voice of conscience for Pinocchio. Never to his face, but for many years to come, that was what people called him behind his back and especially to us, his grandchildren. 

Many years have passed and I still have that feeling in the pit of my stomach, even as I write this! Once I was in high school I tried to be as tough as possible, but inside I was still afraid of what people thought of me. I would do bold and terrible things to "prove" I was not fearful, but there it was. It was the snare- the trap- the thing that kept me going and running as hard as I could into wild things as proof that it did not have a hold of me. But guess what? It completely did. The very snare I was caught in was the fight, the sinning as bad as possible, the overdoing bravado to show my "strength." I have also learned that all black folks aren't like that. I have seen that some white folks are just as bad. I have learned that everyone has a story- something that drives them to do what they do. Many of those kids have stories too. While they have reunions and fond memories of that time in life, I have no desire to revisit any of that. I don't hate them. I pity many of them. I have seen where they went with their meanness and anger. It's not a good place. But we all can have the same joy and freedom in Yeshua for free! We don't have to "fight" for it. 

Here 30 years later, where YHWH has brought me to a place where I not only own dresses, but that's all I have, where I wear a head covering much of the time, and wear tassels which of course make me stand out like a sore thumb, here I make excuses for following after His ways to people because I am fearful of their opinions. I have been called Judaizer, discussed on other facebook walls, blogged about without actually calling me by name but the subject was something from posts of my own within a short amount of time, all by people I have considered friends and some I have even looked up to for other reasons. We homeschool and live in a small pro- public school community. We have taught our girls not to be perpetual girlfriends as some boys want and as such, they have committed to not dating. All of these "weird" things that make us stand out..... they are hard. I trust in YHWH, that He knows what He is doing when He has called us out to be a peculiar people, set apart from everyone else. Walking down memory lane this morning has been hard. I have cried at my own lack of trust in Him to deliver me from my enemies when I was young. I didn't understand that then, but now I see it. I am not bound by any of that and am made a new creation in the Messiah! Old things- including these things- are dead and now I am free to live new to Him!