Friday, February 25, 2011

Experiencing the Way Back Machine

Today I hit the mother load of memories, elementary, junior high and high school.  There was one big box left in the back of the closet that I hadn't gone through and decided to tackle that last box this morning.  If I was so inclined to read everything that was contained in the box, I'd still be back in our bedroom engrossed with my wise self, she writes sarcastically.  My parents must have boxed up every coloring book I had ever owned, along with some Jack and Jill magazines.  There were a couple of vintage Mad Magazines, a Tiger Beat magazine, and a Mickey Mouse Club book.  Most of the coloring books went to the dumpster but I kept the others.  Who knows, I might sell them on eBay or something.  There were a couple more dolls, some perfume bottles, my portable reel to reel tape recorder, letters, and scrapbooks.  Oh and the all important autograph book.  Unfortunately, there were a few report cards mixed in with all the other stuff.  I knew math had never been my strong suite but seeing my report cards today just let me know HOW BAD I was.  Science wasn't a top grade either, but English, History, Speech, Drama, and PE were almost all A's with a few B's here and there.  It was really quite nice to see those grades.  I found my folder that keeps the poems and short stories I used to write as a child and soon to be young woman.  Looking at that childish writing but reading stories that had depth far past my sixth grade self was somewhat eye opening.  These stories and poems were written out of my love of words, not assignments.  One paper in particular from school had a note from the teacher that basically said, you have a very quirky way of writing.  You must conform and your writing will be correct and what you write about will be of more interest to your reader.  No surprise, I didn't change, except for papers that were graded.  My early writings have the same pace, run on sentences and ADD thoughts very much the way I write today.  I'm glad I didn't take the teacher's advice.    Of course I kept some "forbidden notes" that were passed in class.  My friends were all over the, "I like James" phase of my life.  He and I actually went to AstroWorld together, a school play production and had a picnic at Miller Theatre.  James was my next door neighbor for a short period of time.  In junior high we all ended our notes with Luff Ya.  Luff ya must have been the relevant terminology of the time.  When I was in high school girls who played sports weren't able to order a sweater or jacket to display their volleyball or sport letters, but I found my W from my sophomore year and then my two H's when I lettered with HISD my junior and senior year.  There was my sports achievement ribbons and letter from junior high school too.  And here is a surprise, an award in home economics from junior high school.  Found my original smiley face button and my AstroWorld button from my time of employment that said, "We Make People Happy."  Among in all these growing up mementos; vintage Sunday School and Vacation Bible School books. Programs from the new on the scene, youth musicals.  Oh and my Girl's Auxiliary things that includes the map of Southern Baptist missionaries serving around the world in 1963.  Bunches and bunches of school pictures of friends and prom pictures from high school, spirit ribbons and copies of the school newspaper.  I didn't realize I kept some programs and the like from Expo 72 that was held in Dallas.  Expo 72 was the Passion Conference back in the day. 

I was telling Dena about my adventures in box sorting today by email.  She asked if I saw my destiny in these boxes I've been going through.  Yes and no.  I kept many letters that affirmed my encouragement to others, my love of sending cards, my love of writing letters, my sense of humor and the adage to stay as sweet as you are.  Then the affirmation to stay out of accounting, lab work, or anything else of a tedious math and science nature was as big as life back then as it is now.  My insecurities and my attempts to win love and approval are evidenced in some of the things I kept.  It seems as if these things are screaming that I wanted  to be loved, you must be lovable, and love will come as a result of what I do and accomplish.  I was so aware that any love I was experiencing back then was conditional and to have deserving love based on accomplishing or doing something was required.  I wanted to be valued as a good girl, I wanted to be a valued winner and desired the applause from those I wanted to love me by being successful in endeavors where my talent and giftedness lay.  If I was to be loved and have approval, if it was totally up to me, I must acquire this by my own effort.  Sadly, what I didn't know then was, it is impossible!  I had no idea that the God of my childhood is the same as He is today, He loves unconditionally.  There is nothing I can do to earn His love, He is love.  Somewhere along the line early on I figured out that trying to win approval and love from others wasn't going to happen for me.  I didn't fit the bill, I didn't have the look and I didn't have the smarts.  Looking at my journals from back then, I can see where the tide changed and my outlook became a cynical, critical, and sarcastic one.  One who practices and develops the above skills is funny, sometimes witty, humorous on the outside, rebellious but full of sadness, disappointment, and bitterness on the inside.  I am so glad that Jesus kept knocking on the door of my heart all those years and finally at the age of 16 I let Him in.  Of course it has taken years and years to finally understand that His love is unconditional.  Well it took years and years, not because of Him but because of my hard headedness and stubborn I can do it streak.  So back to the original question from Dena, did I find my destiny in these boxes...yes!  If I kept on the path I was on I was destined to be continuously disappointed, bitter and biting and no one would ever want to spend much time with me, and I was usually mad about something...but in that box I also saw the people and things that God used to deliver me from that duplicitous destiny to the full, abundant and bright life He has for me, for all of us. 

The past few days have been hard work sorting through my life, deciding what stays and what will be shredded or thrown away.  The past few days have been fun reliving good and even the painful memories of growing up.  Tomorrow's sorting isn't going to be that interesting because it will mainly involve socks and underwear, Roy's socks and underwear.  Back to the reality of life but my brief visit in the way back machine has been nice. 

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Hey Nancy! I wanted to tell you how much I'm loving my new journal. Curtis and I are not traveling but we're definitely on a new and unfamiliar journey. I've been using it to record the ways we are seeing God work because I always want to remember it. And when we have those days when we're saying, "Did we invent this ourselves? Did we make it all up?" I can look back in this journal and see that God was at work. So thank you! And maybe years from now I'll come across it and it will give me the kind of joy and insight that you've been getting this week. Thank you, Nancy!