My friend Anne Jackson‘s second book, Permission to Speak Freely – Essays and Art on Fear, Confession and Grace releases today. I’ve asked her to share one of the essays from her book with you. Anne decided to share seven essays on seven different blogs, this being the first. To read the rest of the essays, check out the links at the end.
Anne is also giving away a copy of her book to two commenters, chosen at random, on Friday. So check out the question at the end and leave a comment to be entered to win.
You can pick up a copy of the book here.
Essay #1 – The First Brick
I found myself dusting the gritty hot sand off my hands and knees as my best friends stood laughing at me.
Leigh and Amy.
Daughters of deacons at the church where my dad was the pastor.
As a welcoming gift a few weeks earlier, they offered me the middle part of a three-piece heart necklace. You know the kind. The type that reads “Best Friends Forever” when the parts are put together.
I considered it part of my own heart. And in a way, it was. Finally, something stable. Something promising. Something consistent in my inconsistent life. This new school was the third school I had attended since kindergarten because we moved around so much.
I believed maybe this time, these friendships would be different. They’d be forever, just like the pendant said.
But after school one day, Amy reached out and tore the necklace off mysuntanned neck. Leigh pushed me down into the sand under a plastic green slide.
“We never wanted to be your best friend! Our parents made us!”
I stared at them, holding back my tears and feeling one of the chambers of my heart twist. It felt strange, and it hurt. Until that minute in my ten years on earth, I had never felt that before.
Clenching my teeth and ignoring the pain from the scrapes on my knees and my twisted-up heart, I did what any ten-year-old would do.
We only lived about a quarter of a mile from the playground. My scrawny legs carried me faster than I had ever run before. I tore into the house, the storm door slamming behind me. I continued running down the hall until I reached my bedroom, where I threw my sandy, sweaty, heaving body on the bed.
Burying my face in my favorite pink-flowered pillowcase, I sobbed. I sobbed and I sobbed and I sobbed.
My mother, concerned about the unusual commotion from her typically quiet daughter, sat down gently at the foot of my bed. She waited a few minutes until my weeping subsided and asked what had happened.
In between gulps and hiccups and wiping generous amounts of mucous from my face, I told her that Leigh and Amy hated me. That I hated moving and I missed my old friends and I hated deacons and school and my life and I hated the church.
My mom quietly stroked my sweaty hair. I now think she was quiet because she kind of agreed with me.
Do you remember the first time you were betrayed by somebody? Have you forgiven them? Did the experience soften you or even make you stronger. Feel free to care in the comments section (and possibly get a free book from Anne!)
For the next sample essay from Anne’s book, visit Jon Acuff’s blog, Stuff Christians Like.