It was one of the staple events of the school year; one that everyone looked forward to for months. I didn’t want to go.
The night before, I’d had an excruciatingly painful conversation that had left me so hurt, and I felt so empty. I felt like I had nothing to give to the people around me, and I really didn’t want to try.
But I did my hair, cried through mass, and showed up anyway.
And eventually, I ended up with a bunch of little girls, running around. It started out as a game of tag, and then turned into crazy dancing. Then we were climbing walls, and that lead to more running around and skipping around a water fountain directly behind the concert stage, which lead to flopping on the grass and staring at the stars.
One of the little girls said: “I want to see you every day because you have SO. MUCH. JOY.” And another one told me that I had the most beautiful smile in the world.
I didn’t have to force myself to put on a brave face or suppress the sadness I was experiencing, but I wasn’t being dragged down by all of it. I was just being, and it was all just there; I can’t even begin to explain the freedom and the joy in the midst of it all.
These little girls were just being, so excited because of staying up past their bedtime and running around without shoes on.
Steffany Gretzinger said, “It’s not that we don’t mourn, it’s that we dance while we cry.”
I was simply dancing, unrestrained by disappointment. We were all just dancing. And arising.
A couple of weeks later, a close friend’s daughter just kept singing this line (from “King of My Heart”): “You’re never gonna let, never gonna let me down.”
Literally. All. The. Time.
This sweet little princess girl would just randomly burst into song for weeks, always at crazy times.
There was one morning I was coloring with her, and my heart was heavy with disappointment and confusion. Randomly, she started singing: “You’re never gonna let, never gonna let me down.” And she wouldn’t stop. It seriously went on for ten minutes, reminding my of my Father’s reality. Reminding me of my own reality, and calling me to step on top of disappointment and claim hope beyond understanding.
Later that week, I was all dressed up and ready to go to formal, and the disappointed heaviness started to outweigh my original excitement. However, when I went to take pictures with this little princess, she started singing again.
“You’re never gonna let, never gonna let me down.”
And so, I arose.
Recently, I was standing in the ocean with another precious little girl. She held my hand so tightly as we swished our feet in the sand.
It had been storming all evening, but now the sun was turning everything it touched into gold.
The sunset, the water– they weren’t separate from us, like a picture within a frame that we were observing. We were a part of the masterpiece. This little girl dove right in– into the water, into the sand, into the shells, into the clouds painted across a perfect sky.
She was a part of the picture. She didn’t hesitate. She wasn’t preoccupied with a sunset from another time; she was letting her whole being fully immerse itself in the gift of what was unfolding all around her. The drama of the sky reflected in the glassy ocean, almost as if the sky itself could not contain that much beauty. And the ocean drank it all up, adding its subtle, wavy touches. Creating something new.
The ocean rose to meet the sun. And so did we.
One of my dear friends repeatedly reminded me this year: “You’re just a little girl. You can be just a little girl.”
It keeps coming up in my life: it’s okay to be a little girl. These things keep happening, when I’m pulled into the wonder that’s spilling out of the hearts of little girls. And I want it. I want to lay down an addiction to sense and control that only induces anxiety. I want to trade it for a wonder that leads to intimacy with my Father.
It’s okay to not know. It’s okay to just feel. It’s okay to be out of control.
All that I’m supposed to do is trust. All that I’m supposed to know is that beauty always comes from ashes when the Father comes on the scene, and He’s never left.
Who ever told us that we had to have it all together all the time? Why are we still believing the lie that we have something to prove? That we have to strive for perfection, and thus, worth? That we have to be totally in control, and completely know what our next steps are supposed to be, for the next twenty-five years and beyond?
I don’t know. And: you don’t either.
He released us from the burden of having to know, and gave us permission to be little children. To no longer have to fight, but simply be fought for. To no longer have control, but to simply be held.
It’s all too much for us. We can’t keep up; we just end up hurt, exhausted, and disappointed. Because we were never meant to keep up in the first place. We were meant to fall. We were meant to fall in the arms of a Father who tells us that we can rest, because He never sleeps.
So let’s arise. Let’s arise into our reality.
Regardless of pain, we can dance and we can climb walls and we can lay in the grass and look at the stars. Regardless of what we understand, we can trust that He’s never going to let us down. Regardless of where we’re at in the process, regardless of if we’ve seen the promised Resurrection yet or not, we can enter into this great masterpiece of creation and see it all with wonder.
Let’s simply be little girls and let’s arise. Jesus is calling us to– and He what He calls us to do, He enables us to do.
It’s time to arise.