It’s time I told this story.
It will be told in three parts, from the girl’s perspective (because I am the girl and as humans we can only tell our own stories). Maybe Frans will one day tell his.
By the way, this is Frans as a boy. Isn’t he adorable? (He still has that intense focus. And he is still an incredible pianist/organist.)
This is me, the young girl. I am looking good, I know. I’m in that pre-swan stage, about eleven years old. And the best thing about life at this point was that I got to choose the bands on my braces. Purple and teal. The best colors in the world.
The girl grew up in a world of conflicting formulas and fantasies. Like oil and water, the formulas the girl picked up from bad teaching and her own immature interpretations and the mysterious paradoxes of story and mystery, did not mix. Sometimes the girl chose fantasy, sometimes she chose formula. As she grew older, the murkiness of fantasy sank to the bottom while formula formed a clear line at the top. It was often from formula she chose to sip.
And the formula tasted like this: WILL yourself into obedience, FEEL the feelings, confess the right things, MEAN your prayers, and life will be good. You believe, or you don’t. You’re saved, or you’re not. Do the right things, become the right woman, and God will give you the desires of your heart.
All or nothing. Black or white. Blank or blank. Or. This troubled her. She found along with her faith, doubt was attached like a shadow to its shape.
So she would slip into the world of fantasy through stories, like the one about a witch and a lion and four children who found themselves in a snowy wood. But stories like this seemed to somehow be true, and pushed her back into the real world to take a hard look at her formula. And that’s when she began searching for an answer in other words. She liked these the most: Come to me, all you who are heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me and you will find rest of your souls. Carry this and rest. And.
The girl grew. She learned that with burden-carrying could come the most curious lightness of being. That doubt was evidence of faith. She learned that joy and sorrow walked in through the same door. Learned that there was something to both/and, that the most important words in the world might be love, hope, truth, tension, and paradox.
She also learned about the importance of waiting, as well. (Some of the sweetest and most painful words can be not yet.)
She felt like she was always living in the not yet.
(To be continued in Part 2…)