I was six, maybe seven. I was a first grader in Mrs. White’s class down in Houghton, LA. I had lived there for almost five years enduring the very hot humid temperatures and large bugs. We may or may not have had a random lizard living with us, but that was as normal as finding a spider in your house down there. My parents were in route to the Chicagoland area in search of finding a new house. My dad took a job transfer and we had the choice to either move to Illinois or Ohio. They wanted to be closer to our family, who lived in Indiana. They sat us down a few weeks prior and asked us to vote on the place we wanted to live. I chose Illinois because as a 6ish year old I couldn’t say Ohio for some reasons. Came out Hawaii….oh I wish that was one of my choices. Chicago area it was and they began the search for a new home for our family. While they were gone they left us with a family friend name Lori. She had three kids close in age with my sister and me. I don’t remember much of my time there but I do remember one very bad day.
I had been there a couple days, maybe, and I attended school as normal. It was lunch time, the dreaded lunch hour where you are showcased for all to see as you walk down the row of lunch tables to your seat. I stood out more so on this day because I was wearing the most beautiful dress I had. It was a hammy down but new to me and very fancy. This dress was a beautiful color red with lace lined edges. Under the skirt was a billion layers of ruffles, I could spin for hours in this dress. I was proud to walk this isle, it was my runway if only for a second. Panic set in as I tried to find a seat. Which seat do I pick, what if I don’t pic the right one? Will they let me sit with them? As I found my seat next to some classmates. The circular plastic seat was attached individually to the table. My bare legs stuck to the plastic as I adjusted myself and made a farting sound. My face became the color of my dress and I kept making the sound with my legs so they knew it was the result to he seat and not me.
On this day I ate a chicken sandwich. The kind that comes frozen and sits under a heat lamp all day, but you devour it only to want more because it is that good! Sitting on the lunch tables every few feet are a ketchup bottle and mayo bottle. White and Red, no yellow. Thank goodness there was no yellow, yuck! They were the plastic squeezable kind of bottles, I reach for the mayo. This is the real deal, not the fake stuff. The south knows the difference between the goodness of real mayo and their understudy that will never get the lead. I lift my bun off the top and begin to squeeze the mayo out onto my sandwich, instead of going on my sandwich is went right on my fancy red lace lined dress. Shock ran across my face and colored it a fancy color of red, laughter filled the table. For the rest of the day I walked around with an oil stain & stench right there on my stomach. I was bummed to say the least and for a little girl, it is a tragedy when your favorite fancy dress is ruined.
The end of the day came and I was glad to be getting on the bus, so thankful to be going “home”. I stepped up onto the steps of the bus, stretching my legs as far as they could go to get to the next step. My hands grazed the leather seats as I passed by. I made my way to the very back were I found an empty seat. I looked for my sister but remembered that she wouldn’t be taking the bus that day and I had to keep watch for my stop on my own. As I looked out the window and watched the trees get blurry, my eyes closed and all my worry went away as I drifted off into a deep sleep. I dreamt of being home with my family and wearing my beautifully unstained red dress. Then, a bump startled me and I awoke to an empty bus and unknown scenery around me. I immediately jumped out of my seat and raced to the front of the bus to the seat right by the driver. She was just as surprised to see me there as I was to see an empty buss. She quickly figured out where I was suppose to be and took me to my stop, where my sister was waiting for me. My heart was bounding but I was never so thankful to be back in the arms of the closest thing to home in that moment. I was finally safe.
This may not seem like such a bad day to you, but it was a real day for me and as a seven year old it was a very bad day. Maybe you have had one of those days, a day that just doesn’t seem to be getting any better. It may be a day you want to just crawl right back into bed and push the do over button. Maybe you “stained” something and feel like there is no way of getting that stain out. This stain may make you feel ugly and unpleasant to be around. Maybe you feel lost and are not sure how you will get home, you don’t have the directions to get to the place God wants you to go. Know this, God is hear to wash out that stain. Think of him as having the super fancy tide pen that you can keep in your purse. He just whips it out and says “Don’t worry, I Got THIS!” You are brand new and just as fancy! I wish that pen was around in the 80’s…….anyways! I’m not bitter or anything! If you are lost, turn to God and he will give you the directions you need to get you where you are going. All you have to do is ask. God is waiting at that bus stop with arms wide open, waiting for you to leap off that second step right into his arms. Full force! Take that leap of faith off the second step in your life and embrace the one place we can all call home.