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Life Lesson:
Facing the Pain

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Unfinished Business
  • Memories stirred
  • Restlessness set in
  • Questions begged to be answered
  • Time to revisit Edgewood

One of six "cottages" at Edgewood

Edgewood Protestant Orphanage


Over 40 years had passed since, as a child of six, I had lived at Edgewood.

Why go back and revisit those difficult years? I wasn't sure, yet...there was a calling to go.

The night before the visit had been a disaster. Memories began to surface, fears began to stir, and tears began to flow. The large house, where I had spent my childhood, loomed before my eyes as clearly as it had been yesterday. Why was I doing this to myself? Was this a good idea?

I sat up in bed and said to myself:  "Self, this is ridiculous! We're not going through this twice - tonight and tomorrow." I put the whole visit in God's hands, turned over and went to sleep.



On the Grounds of Edgewood
     Large map of Edgewood
The next day, stepping on the grounds of Edgewood, I wandered down to the playground, where we spent every afternoon after school. There were the swings, slides, and monkey bars in the huge sandbox, just as I had remembered them. Beyond were the baseball diamonds, to the right were the basketball courts, and to the left were the tennis courts. A huge forest edged the whole playground. Smiling, I spied the tall pine tree swaying in the breeze, and I remembered the many hours I spent swinging in its upper branches.

In my mind's eye I could see the little girl with the long, blond braids doing tricks on the monkey bars. And there she was, flying high on the swings. It looked like she was having such fun.


Through a Child's Eyes

At that moment I ceased being a mere spectator and entered the heart of the child as she began to tell her Heavenly Father exactly what was in that her heart:

Child "Why do I have to live here! I want to be with my brothers and sister at our own home. What is wrong with me that I can't live there with them? Did I do something wrong? Why didn't they want me? I know I look happy, I'm trying to be happy, but I'm really sad and lonesome."
The little girl on the swings was going higher and higher than anyone. (I'm showing off to get attention. I hope somebody is looking.) She gave a flying jump from the swings and landed a good distance beyond the attempts of the other children. She smiled triumphantly - she could beat anyone! (See how talented I am?)
As an adult, I could see the faces of the other children on the swings, who had their own reasons and needs for winning. They were not happy for her, and they were disappointed in themselves. They would have to try something else to win admiration and approval (which never came).Woman

This same scenario, with different variations, played over and over again as I walked all over the playground. I could see the little girl at play in the warm afternoons and hear the cries and secrets of her heart. I let her voice them to the Father. Sometimes she sounded almost disrespectful, yelling and demanding, "Why?!" Other times she let me in on her secret feelings and fears. I was able to see the same situation through the eyes of an adult, and it gave it a very different dimension, a dimension that brought insight and understanding.

Finally, exhausted and spent, I wandered back to a large ramp, overlooking the playground. I plopped myself down and heaved a big sigh. In my mind's eye, I could see two large hands, cupped and rounding out a space in the sand. They turned slowly to the right and then slowly to the left, hollowing out a rounded space. A bird's nest was gently tucked down into the safe hollow.

From the depth of my being, I sensed God was speaking to me. Although it was through my own thought processes, I recognized the great authority of the voice of God:

"I nested you in this place,"
He said with great tenderness.

The Hands of God
I sat there stunned. God had gone before me and prepared a place. His hands had hollowed out the spot, and set me in the nest. Incredible! It was hard to believe, after telling myself for years just the opposite.

So.... I was not abandoned. I had not been forgotten. I let the truth of it all sink in deeply. My eyes were wide with wonder. This was an incredible revelation. I could never be the same again. I don't know how long I sat there, repeating the words over and over to myself.

Shaking my head, I smiled and then giggled at the image that was taking shape in my mind: A little bird sat in a nest. It's eyes were closed and it's mouth was open and yapping at the lop of its lungs:


Bird's Nest Nobody loves me!
Nobody cares for me!
Nobody even sees me!
Nobody ever helps me!

I began to ponder: Look at this nest, it's a wonderment of preparation. How many trips did the birds have to take to build that nest? How many beakfuls of water did it take to glue the whole thing together? What engineering skills were needed to calculate against the elements that would blast against it? The little chick was oblivious to all of this. I blushed as I thought of these things.

Riding home that day, I held the new memories close, and was warmed by their wisdom. I remembered the Bible verse I had learned long ago:

"You shall know the truth,
         and the truth shall set you free."
                Jesus Christ
Lessons learned the hard way:
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Joanne Rae Meads Ball jrmeads@worldnet.att.net
Updated
September 16, 1999

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