Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Some Call it Funcie

The question "where are you from?" almost ruined any chances Devin and I had of a bright and happy future, before it had even begun.  We met the first Sunday of August at church, and had exchanged some silly, pleasant small talk.  At a gathering that evening we sat next to each other around a table playing Rummicube, at which time I devoured an entire plate of brownies. Rude, I know, greedy, I know, gluttonous, I know already, I know - but listen,  I eat when I'm nervous.  Then, the next week, we were sitting next to each other on the back porch at another activity and I was eating my third bowl of apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream. (I know, but please remember that I was nervous.)  We had been again making some silly, pleasant small talk, when he decided to ask. "Where are you from?"  I stammered. I stuttered. I shuddered.  I couldn't think. Where am I from?  Born in New York, raised in various other states, my parents in the process of moving again, I didn't know where to claim.  He took this response to mean that I was not interested in him, and consequently did not ask me out on a date for over nine months, and it took a car door slamming shut in his face to wake him up.  That's kind of another story though.

Looking back now I see my life as a series of stages, and at each stage we lived in a different place. To me, a childhood belongs in the cool shady open summers of Michigan. The self discovery and awareness of middle school belongs in the crowded sweltering tropical heat of Brasil, and so on.  I know that in the future whenever I think of myself as a young mother my mind will go to Peoria and a cozy little place on Donna Lane.  But if I had a small sticker with the word "home" on it that I could put wherever I wanted on the map, my heart would tug on my fingers directing them towards a dot in Indiana labeled Muncie. My high school years.  I came to Muncie as an awkward, uncomfortable, timid, strange little waif of a person, and left it - college bound - confident, bold, comfortable, ready to take on the world and win. (ok, maybe only slightly more comfortable and confident.  Forget bold. I've never been bold.)

At church here I get to work with the teenage girls.  On my way home from our midweek activity, this time a barbecue cooked and served by the teenage boys, I could still hear the voices and laughter of this young group of people echoing in my head, reverberating within my soul, awakening the sixteen year old girl that still lingers inside of me.  I drove down the darkening streets, forgetting to worry for a minute about Devin at home with both babies trying to put them to bed as I thought back to the faces cooking, serving, eating, talking, laughing.  I see mirrored in their vibrant, eager faces those of the now adults, then teens of my own youth.

It is to those beautiful faces of my youth that I owe such a large part of who I am now.  When I think of the group of kids that I got to run with at that critical age, the adult me is overcome with gratitude on behalf of the teenage inner me. I would not be here if it weren't for what those kids in Muncie made of her.

For those brief fifteen minutes each week, driving home, the skies slowly turning grey, Justin Bieber playing on the radio, I roll my windows down. I'm alone for the only part of my week, and in the afterglow of the time recently spent with young people I find myself emerging from a cocoon of diaper cream, mortgage payments, runny noses, weeds, leaky roofs, flooded basements, crumbs and choking hazards, and I feel sixteen again.  And my entire soul is filled with gratitude towards and a longing to see again those laughing faces: Sarah*, Al, Hannah, Angie, Anna, Nicole*, Ryan, Sam, Mark, Josh, Dan, Jacob, Liz, Esther, Rachel, Bethie, Ben, and all the rest.


Then I pull into my driveway, open the garage door, and slide back into maturity and step once more into my place as wife and mother. I am ready for another week as the adult me, because I got to spend a few minutes visiting with the girl, and her friends, who made me the woman I am.

*Includes all Sarahs and Nicoles.

5 comments:

  1. Man, Amy, I don't know if it's that I'm pregnant or what, but all of your posts of late have made me want to cry. Oh, there it is, tear just dropped. Maybe it's because I miss you so much, maybe it's because your voice is so so beautiful, or maybe it's because you still feel so close.

    I WISH WE WERE NEIGHBORS!

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  2. Beautiful.

    Yeah, "where are you from" is a tough question. I was wondering the other day how long I would need to live here before the answer became "Cincinnati." :) Right now I just say Midwest. The people that want more details ask me where in the Midwest, and then they get the long list. Those who don't are content with that much information. :)

    We had the best friends ever, didn't we? What lucky girls we were. Although our lists might be slightly different, we do overlap on quite a few.

    I've never listened to a Justin Bieber song. Do you like his music? Should I? I haven't intentionally avoided it, but I pretty much only hear Christian music, music I already own, and music from the Disney stars (like Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers).

    I'm glad Devin did finally ask you out.

    And I'm slightly envious of your calling, but then when I think about things like this, I wonder if I could handle your calling. Some of my memories I'd rather forget.

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  3. Thanks Amy for putting into words my feelings about Funcie too! I feel so blessed to have known you then all the others too!

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  4. I thought the star next to my name was a nice touch, a little way to separate me from the rest, turns out I'm just one of many.
    But just to clarify, I was the Sarah, the rest were the star.
    Ha.

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  5. good ol' Muncie. Sometimes i wish i could go back to those times...sometimes. it was great while it lasted. everybody should be able to look back on high school and remember really great friends, and really great times.

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