Sunday, February 13, 2011

Shift Happens

 My mother, Mattie Lou, was not a woman who moved her body much.  You need to know that to get the full benefit of this story. 
The stage:  I was 14-15 and was being punished.  Mama had restricted me to sitting in a chair (precursor to time out) near the end of her bed (on which she lay.) She told me I had to sit there until I apologized for whatever it was I had done at the time.   Two hours into it, I must have said something smart alecky to her. With one fell swoop of a huge leaping movement, she was up off that bed, across the room and screaming, "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE??? WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!!"   Startled?  Yes.  I had never seen my mother move like that.  It took me by surprise.  But little did she know that mostly her actions were giving me more "material" so that when I went back upstairs to my sisters I could imitate her.  And I did---that night (in the safety of our upstairs bedroom)  and for years to come among my siblings.    "Who Do You Think You Are?!!" (the full re-enactment of it) became a family favorite at talent shows and on beach trips.  Most of my siblings can go into that voice in two seconds when we think somebody has gone out of bounds and misbehaved---and needs a firm reprimand.
     Funny how those words ring in my head---in different contexts-- 40 years later.  On Friday I had picked up Taylor from the place where he goes in the mornings---formally known as the Hope Haven School for the Mentally Retarded.  He got into the car holding his head and almost chanting,  repeated, "I hurt so bad. I hurt so bad."  Lord, it's only noon.  We've got a long day ahead.  All of my morning prayers and meditations for inner peace got side-swiped and I forgot all of the "centering" thoughts I had had before I picked him up.   (Isn't it hard to watch people we love in pain? )  About 15 minutes into our drive home, I finally just pulled the car over on the side of the street  and sobbed.  "God!  Don't you see us here?  Don't you see this child?  WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE??  When are you going to fix him and make him not hurt?  Show me your face, God.  Let me know you are here!  WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE??" 
     I am not sharing this with you so that you will feel sorry for me.  I am sharing this because I know that every single one of us---in our own situations and in our own lives----has really hard things to deal with at times.  We---each of us  has obstacles and just some really tough situations that may make us feel  alone and helpless.  I don't have the market on this.  I just happen to be the one blubbering  about it today. 
Right?  Are you feelin me? You know it's true.  Own up.
      As Taylor and I sat there in the car on the side of  Lumpkin Street----me imploring God to help----Taylor a bit confused as to why I was so upset----Taylor just turned that sweet little innocent face right to me.  He looked directly into my eyes. Oh, there was such love there. Who knows why, but  what came up out of my mouth was,   "Very God of Very hind foot!"  And then I started laughing.  I was laughing because I am such a fighter/a "show it to me then!" type person.   But in my depths---at that moment--- I knew at that we would be ok.  I was  not sure what form the "ok" was going to take but everything in me felt certain that God had an  answer to, "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE????"
If miracles are really a shift in perception, then I would say a miracle occurred right there at noon on Friday. 
I had screamed at God the same words my own mother had screamed at me.  I think it made God laugh----which made me laugh-----which probably made Mattie Lou laugh in her Heavenly home.
My miracle "shift"  was and is knowing  that there are different and other ways to see the same hard situation.  
I sometimes forget that.  I get stuck.
Every day-----sometimes several times a day--- might require a shift in perception within us. 
Only if we want to see miracles.
Shift happens. 
Thank goodness. 

Shift Your Perception and The World Will Change


  1. Thank you for sharing a Mama Lou story. This made me laugh in a good way. I can do that imitation right now, but not as good as you! I heard the frustration in your voice on Friday. Thank God, Taylor can always give you that look or hug that makes you melt.

  2. I love your blog. It always makes me FEEL..... You and Taylor are in my prayers today. And you are right, God can take whatever us crazy mamas dish out.

  3. Do you think noon on Friday was a coincidence? I love you and Taylor.

  4. Today was the day that I needed to come back to this one and re-read it. My Lenten promise is to try and give up impatience -- with people, with situations, and with life. Although knowing that others are in the same boat doesn't really change anything, it helps me to think that mine are not original problems. I'm so very thankful for you.

  5. I miss you!

    Hope all is well...

  6. If it weren't for the Cross "Who do you think you are, God?" would be my constant refrain

  7. Marianne - Roland and I think that Taylor's face was God's face looking at you! Had you not already asked God not to hide God's face?
    We love you! We love Taylor! We love all the Mays, past and present! Jane

  8. Marianne - I am so delighted that you are my friend! YOU are brave, funny, inspirational and one of the best writers I know!

    Love and prayers to you and Taylor. Jane Perdue

  9. Marianne,
    I love reading your thoughts about this often difficult journey. I think God probably did laugh and probably smiles at us a lot more than we know. I cannot imagine watching your child hurt so much every single day. But I find your writing about it helps me with my little troubles.

    Taylor and all of us are so lucky to have you in our lives; keep writing. Whether your posts make us laugh, cry, figure things out, or not, they make us think and they make us connect to your world. I love you Mary!


Thank you so much for your comments. I know it's scary to put yourself out there. I really appreciate your being on this journey with me. You really are brave..