Childhood can feel choppy when viewed through adult eyes.
Partly remembered scenes sway into our minds, tempered by time and experience, passing swift as bubbles in the air.
A series of flashbacks, with hints of holy moments in the everyday.
Although we may have failed to see them as such.
I find my own memories lurch from dark to light with few shades of grey in-between.
Truth is.. much of it was painful for me, and some of it was magical.
I lived a lot in my head. I was the child encouraged to stop day-dreaming, look where she was going, wake up and focus on the here and now.
But I preferred the safety of being elsewhere, the endless escape into another reality.
Those were days when I hid myself in books, weaved stories, penned poetry and kept them hidden from prying adult eyes.
Their potential criticism and scorn were more than my sensitive soul could bear.
Now, as I write regularly and openly in a public place, those secretive days seem long gone.
And all it takes is a writing prompt, words I hear or read, a sense or sight to transport me back to the past.
So today I’m sharing from the prompt:“A surreal childhood experience” from ‘Spin:Taking Your Creativity to the nth Degree’ by Claire Burge, and I hope you’ll enjoy this story which emerged:
“We bounced around like loose luggage in our morris minor traveller. Just enough room to sit, eat, sleep or play.
We had a panoramic view of other motorists and a squidgy sideways view of the route unfolding before us. It was the longest journey of our lives so far as we wend our way to Wales.
Some of it passed in a hazy, dream filled blur as scenery flashed by. Most of it was spent in sisterly squabbling, sucking sweets and shuffling to get comfy.
Eventually we arrived at our destination, opened tired eyes and drank in the scenery.
Thick stone walls encased a house of many stairs to scramble up and stumble down.
The witch-woman looming by the front door was revealed to be a long-distant great-aunt. Her brillo pad hair and odd attire perfectly in keeping with the strange house she dwelt in.
Draped in a long, moth-eaten cardigan, dressed in tweed, she grinned at our speechless faces.
We were frightened and entranced in turns. Ate porridge with salt in and cream on top. Clambered over concrete hills where streets rose and fell, and over mossy green banks, our little legs tiring with each tread.
And one night we stayed outside in inky blackness lit with a smattering of stars. Warmly wrapped in blankets, we were warned to be as still and quiet as we could.
Suddenly, a snowy-white creature swooped and curved before us with its staring saucer-eyes, feathery coat and sharp talons. Owls only came out at night. This was their playground.
We gasped and clung together, our own eyes wide with astonishment.
Watched others gathering and breaking off to fly toward yawning jar of barn with its beacon of beckoning light, ready to be swallowed whole within.
My eyes transfixed by flight and flurry and feathers filling my vision as I gazed rapt at these ungainly angels, creatures of the night.
I’d already had visions at home as I lay to grass, soaking in God’s blue canopy with angels floating in my eyes.
But the solidity of these owls, although scarily unreal, was no less an encounter with heavenly beings in my mind.
God speaks in myriad ways and I sensed His (as yet unknown) voice calling me to pay attention, to mark the moment in my memories.
And as heaven beamed down in a silvery moon wrapping me in its welcoming rays, my senses became newly awakened to mystery beyond myself, to wonder, to encounter.”
This recollection means a lot to me because life holds rich potential for seeing and sensing holy moments in the everyday for those with eyes open to them.
The longer I live the more I crave to capture the good, hold memories close and sense God’s hand at work through all I may encounter.
Over to you:
Have you experienced what seem like holy moments in the everyday?
Perhaps you have a childhood memory that echoes mine, or another you’d like to share?
Or maybe you’ve had a childhood experienced re-framed for you as you’ve reflected on it?
Please feel free to join the conversation in the comments below.
Thank you for sharing this, Joy. I remember when I was a child I often imagined myself into a picture on the wall of a lovely nature scene. It was peaceful and safe there. What an awesome experience that must have been to see a snowy white owl! God was whispering to your heart even then. I, too, crave to capture the good. Blessings and hugs!
A beautiful post Joy 🙂 I was just saying to my husband, looking back on photos of my son’s childhood, in preparation for a video-roll at the wedding, how we don’t always realise how precious/holy the ordinary things are – small children, summer afternoons, birds. We need to cherish them more.
Hi Debbie. Thanks for visiting! Oh those old family photos stir the emotions, don’t they? We marvel at all the changes along the way. I wish I’d had an awareness of just how “precious/holy the ordinary things are” when I was a younger woman raising children. Now, with years and experience to reflect on as I watch my toddler grandson growing and developing, I am entranced all over again and feel determined to cherish my days for the holy wonder they really are. Life is so precious and so fleeting. May you have a wonderful time at your son’s wedding, shed a tear or ten, marvel at all that has gone before and all that still lies ahead for them as a couple and for you as a mother and wife, a beautiful writer and observer of life. Blessings and hugs. 🙂 x
We so need to feel safe and protected as children, don’t we? And when life rocks our world with guilt, shame and lies then we seek something or somewhere to escape to, if only in our minds. It is a need that never goes away and is only fully met in relationship with God. Yes, Trudy, I do believe God was whispering to me then and preparing my young heart for future encounter with Him. May you also be enabled to see and hold onto the good things, my friend. Blessings and hugs to you! 🙂 x
O I like your story of the owl! It’s so beautiful. And what a sweet old photos!
When I close my eyes I see the little farmer village where I lived when I was child. My father was the director of a primary school. My girlfriends were daughter of farmers. So I often played at a farm on our free Wednesday afternoon. One day, I saw how a calf was born. That made a deep impression! And the smell of chickens in the barn … I will always remember. And catch tadpoles in the stream. Climbing trees, playing in the woods … Yeah, nice huh, those childhood memories. Some of them are really like holy moments in the everyday life …
Thank you! Those old photos seem sweet in retrospect. I’m glad you could relate to moments of holy encounter in the everyday. Thanks for sharing your experiences, Aritha. It must have been amazing to see a calf being born! And you’ve triggered a memory for me of how I also used to “catch tadpoles in the stream” which was in a local park. It makes us savour the glory times with our own children and grandchildren, doesn’t it? 🙂