Monday, October 30, 2006

LOVE IN ALL CAPS

Sometimes we're so tentative in love. So impoverished. We don't expect love. Have come to get on without it. Since there's a love shaped hole in our souls because God made us to give and receive a constant and steady supply of love we miss it. Even if we never say we do.

I've been working so hard to finish the book TODAY! I've neglected myself. My curly hair is in a tremendous Afno. That, for the uniformed, is an afro gone tragically wrong. I think those twitches that I told y'all about are seizures. I don't even want to begin on what seizures added to my plate makes me think. I woke up a little bit salty with God, and ready to wrestle with Him even though He's the biggest, and strongest and is God. He actually likes a challenge now and then.

But I felt too tired to wrestle. Besides, I'm given to unexpected convulsions, so He has a unfair advantage. When I'd finally convulsed myself to sleep THIS MORNING I had buck wild dreams, one in which I'd gone to a hotel with him! No, not that one, the good looking one. And then he turned on me and said he didn't really want me because I'm not beautiful and I have bad breath. Then later I was in the same hotel trying to steal copies of my own books! And then it was a flood!

I really want to insert a cuss word here, but I'm actually trying to place nice.

I woke up and wrestled with the afno instead. I could hardly get a shockingly wide toothed comb through it. Finally I just got mad.

"God! You said that you would be my Father. You said you cared more for me than my natural father, who's love, let's face it, is suspect. I want to get my hair done. I want to look pretty. Can you just help me with this, please?"

It's one of those days I feel forsaken.

I go to the computer to open my email and I see I have a blog comment from Katy. Everybody says wonderful, healing things to me, and I appreciate you all. I'm not singling Katy out because she said something better than the rest of my lovely exhorters. No, she said something I didn't recall hearing before.

"Thou are graven on His hands..."

I've read Isaiah so many times. It's one of my favorite books. But maybe my mind had been dulled to this passage. Maybe I needed it today so it just seems like I never heard it before. So I go to Isaiah 49:16, but I read verse 14 first.

"But Zion said, "The Lord haas forsaken me, And my Lord has forgotten me."

Have you ever felt like God forgot about you? I mean--I told God that even if He didn't respond and help me get my hair done, I'd still love Him. But I thought He loved me. And I can't shake the thought that He will do kind things for me, and that He wants to. Even though there's pain everyday. Even though I'm not getting better. Even though seizures or something weird has been added. Even with a four inch afno I can't change right now.

So I shrug my shoulders, man up--even though I'm so a girl, and get ready to do what I have to do.

Sometimes we approach love so tentatively, like we really don't expect it, and it surprised us when it's there.

A scripture left on my blog from a friend. "See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands."

Sometimes we take baby steps toward love, afraid that when we get to it, it won't be there.

I cried when I read that scripture Katy gave me.

I have a twelve year old son, Kamau. He is as close to a perfect child as one can have. Kind, sensitive, strong, funny. The woman who lands him for a husband one day will be truly blessed. He talks with me everyday. He get's in bed with me and makes me laugh. I have nerver lacked a hug from Kamau, or a smile, or a joke, or silly voice. He's a natural actor. Always trying to please his mama.

But he's twelve.

Sometimes we creep up on love with fear and trembling because we haven't gotten enough and think the supply is always about to run out. Like the person who didn't have enough food as a child. And they horde food as an adult. Sometimes we think there won't be any love if we don't stuff our cabinets or bodies full of it.

Kamau needed me to email him a paper he'd written so he could print it out at school. I sent the attachment to him, and wanted to write a personal note to my sweet boy. I let him know the file was attached. I said, "Have a wonderful day." I wanted to say, "I love you." But he's twelve. A boy. At school. When Abby was twelve we had to drop her off at school down the street so nobody would see the car she got out of! I know the whole adolescent my parents embarrass me thing. I wanted to tell my boy I love him, but fretted that his friends would see. He wouldn't want his mom declaring her love. That stuff was for at home. So I typed. XXOO.

We walks so tentatively to love sometimes, tired to the bone.

I keep checking my email and realize Kamau has gotten his email and responded. Now mind you, I'd emailed Abby something to school days before in which she received and promptly did not acknowledge I existed. I didn't expect a response from Kamau.

I open the email. He'd written:

THX LOVE YA =) XXOO

MAUI

Sometimes when you least expect it, when your own dreams tell you how unpretty you are (not to mention you have bad dental hygiene)... Sometimes when your hair is standing on your head and you want to look like a prima donna but you only look like Don King... Sometimes when you are too tired, and sad, and sick and you know He hasn't, but you feel like God has forgotten you, and doesn't hear your dumb prayer about getting your hair done because for Heaven's sakes, people are dying of AIDS wholesale in Africa, and of what value in this world is feeling pretty...

Sometimes you tiptoe to love with rounded shoulders and your heart in a gazillion pieces in the palm of your hand, and you hand over your wrecked heart to God, and before the pieces fall in to His grasp, you peek at the image--the eikon--of your own smiling face in God's palm, and it's the only face you see there.

Sometimes you send your sweet boy an email, and put XXOO where you want to just say I love you, and he surprises you by sending you his love back, in all caps.

Mair

15 comments:

Alex Rider said...

wow! an xoxo from a 12 year old boy? now that is something incredibly special!

i love that scripture. i live in Isaiah and the Psalms. i have been reading Is 46:3-4 over and over again. then, yesterday i read a little further to verse 11"what i have said that will i bring about,what i have planned, that will i do"

ever had what you thought was a promise from God , but it seems so slow coming around?

smiles to you today!

natalie

Cathy West said...

I love visiting with you because I know that even when you're feeling crappy, you always have something profound to say.
Started reading your book when I was in Toronto last week. NOT your average Christian novel that's for sure!
Congratulations, I think I dare say the mold is being broken! Do I see a light at the end of the tunnel??
Maybe if all you edgy fiction chicks keep at it, by the time my Vietnam story is ready for submission, I may actually have a hope in hell of getting it published.
Oh, can I say hell on this blog?
What?
Sorry, just in one of those moods. :0) I'll go back to my own blog now!

Heather Diane Tipton said...

LOL well you know what I thought about your dreams.

I'm glad Katy left you that message.

Love you, Claudia Mair

wilsonian said...

Thanks for this...

And somehow I think you could pull off an afno ;)

Paula said...

I can't imagine you looking any thing but BEAUTIFUL with a capital B.

Heather Diane Tipton said...

oooh totally ditto what Paula said!

Bek said...

HOW beautiful you are, mair darling! oh, how beautiful! your eyes behind your veil are doves. your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead. your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. each has its twin; not one of them is alone. your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely.

i hear HIM saying this to you and to me this morning out of song of solomon 4:1-3

shanna said...

Carry that Afno with pride, baby! It's your hairshirt, doncha know? You're in the service of the Man, and if He lets you have it, you can have it.

At least He's given you the mercy that there's no camera in your house. So this, too, shall pass. And the truth of your beauty, both inside and out, will remain in our hearts with no evidence to the contrary!

buddafly mwah. to both you and your beautiful young man.

Candy said...

I think 12 year old boys have the capability to totally embody love and joy. I know mine did and now that he's nearly 15 he's still astounding me. He talks to me and tells me things I never would have told my mother. Last night my husband was out of town and Max could have gone to a concert with a friend but he just wanted to spend some time with his mom. Made my day.

lisa said...

Those baby boys are the best thing ever. Got myself a 12-year old baby boy. Don't get me wrong, I love my girls to death. But the love you feel for a son is just different. Those women with sons, I know you know what I'm talking about.

All my friends are the prettiest people I know because not only are they pretty, but I see them through the eyes of love. And those are the same eyes God uses when He looks upon you.

Robin Caroll said...

Well, you're beautiful to ME, Claudia! And I have a real sneaky idea God thinks you're even MORE beautiful!

Joni said...

Your son's little love message brought tears to my eyes. My boys are 10 and 7. My 7 year old is as full of mischief as any 7 yr. old can be...but when he hugs me, gives me a wet kiss, and says, "I love ya', Mom", that kid could get me to give him the WORLD!

Isn't it great that God gave you that special young man to remind you how much HE loves you, too??

Afno, or no, :o) YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

"Listen, O daughter, consider and incline your ear; forget your own people also, and your father's house; So the King will greatly desire your beauty; because He is your Lord, worship Him." Ps. 45:10, 11

Deborah said...

Funny, how when you are feeling unloved and you share honestly with all your frustration and humor, how much you make all the rest of us feel our common humanity....and the love of God at the same time.

I have two sons. The older one has always been wise. I remember a conversation with him when he was maybe eight or nine where I apologized for making a really stupid decision and he told me that he could have told me in advance to avoid making it. He was right. The younger one has always been sweet-spirited. ONe day when I was a lonely single parent, frustrated out of my gourd and kvetching at them impatiently, the young one, who was about four, just handed me a little flower he'd picked, no judgement about my irritated state, just a quiet understanding that his mom needed some love and patience, since she sure didn't have any to give.

Don't know what it is like to have a daughter.

Dineen A. Miller said...

Congrats on finishing your book! Woohooo! Time to celebrate. :-)

upwords said...

God bless Maui. He is a good boy. :) I'm crying now because I too am too tired to wrestle (even my afno-locks). So I'm going to take a deep breath, sneak up behind love and tackle it with both hands.

Starting with you.

love you,
mary

PS. Don't EVEN get me started on that dream. He doesn't get to diss your breath. Not even in a nightmare. LOL