I grew up next door to a family with a willow tree with a swing in their backyard, a family who allowed me to be as one of their own for summer days on end. For years and years, I was as much an O’Connor as their own daughters and son. The two girls, Erin and Cara, were younger than me by a few grades and so I sometimes took a surprising role as leader in our tiny tribe, a space I didn’t often fill as a little girl with a quiet voice and a tender spirit.
I wrote this three summers ago, a few months after I had graduated college. I was in the middle of a real sea-change, a marked shift in the way I began to approach my own emotions and my own story. It was as though God had been asking me to wake up and finally, I was able to fight through the sleepiness and open up my eyes. This piece was born out of those moments of gracious eye-opening.
Janie said it could be the beginning scene of the indie movie about my life that, if you ask me, will probably never be made. On my first day of therapy three summers ago, I walked into the front room, confused by the lack of official-looking-person who was to tell me what to do. Couches. Doors. A vase of flowers. Peaceful noisemakers drowning out the sounds of tears and sorrow (I couldn’t imagine then that laughter might be an option). But there was no front desk, no greeting. I sat down on the couch. I stood up. I walked down the hall, but the rooms with open doors were empty and the ones with closed doors? There was no way I was going there.
At my church, a small processional begins each service. The acolytes walk in holding a processional cross, the Gospel, and some candles. And as the cross passes in procession, it is appropriate to bow. I am relatively new to this, so most of the time, I have taken a tiny bow, almost non-existent. I’m not usually one to make commotion out of my ignorance. I tried to keep the bowing as calm and unnoticeable as possible.