When I was ten or eleven years old, I was assigned the task of selling things to raise money for school. Along with the other students, I sold things like calendars, magazine subscriptions, and chocolates. I always dreaded that time of year. No reward could inspire me to work very hard at knocking on doors to get more sales. I did always attempt to get at least a few sales.
My friend Jordan and I would go out together because that was rule number. She would take one side of the street and I would take the other. I would also take any houses that she did not want to approach. Two stand out in my mind. Jordan didn't want to go up to the one because "a witch lived there" and I can't remember why she didn't want to go to the other one. Whatever her reason, I would go up to the porch while she waited out on the sidewalk where it was safe.
Those two stand out in my memory because she was afraid and I ended up breaking more rules...Both of those ladies invited me into their homes. Being the wise, safe, careful child that I was, I was too embarrassed not to go in. I looked back at Jordan and followed the ladies inside.
One of the ladies was named Bunny. I remember a few things about the inside of her house. She had wooden blinds on all of her windows and they were slanted to just barely let light in. Bunny's house was dark, very cluttered, and a little dusty, but what I remember most was a feeling of loneliness. It was so quiet and there were no messes and the lack of light made me feel like I had just gone back in time.
Bunny did buy a subscription or two that day, but really, she just wanted to talk. I stood there awkwardly in her living room not knowing what to do. I was in a stranger's house all by myself. It was dark and quiet and a little eery. She seemed so nice and old and I didn't feel like I was in any danger, but I was completely disregarding all of the rules I had been taught.
I've never forgotten Bunny. She still lives there in that little house. I've never been back and I've never seen her since that day. Every once in a while, I walk by and I wonder if she's sitting on the other side of those same wooden blinds looking out. I wonder what she's thinking. I wonder how old she is and if it's gotten hard for her to get around.
A lot has changed in my life since I went to Bunny's house that day. The growing up years are defined by regular times of change. While they're going by they seem to take forever. Then, before we know it, all the milestones have happened. The years have flown by even though the days seemed to drag on and on.
While Bunny has been living a quiet, slow, and probably very lonely life, my teen years flew by, I've graduated high school, I've traveled to all of the places I dreamed of traveling, I've made new sets of friends with each season of my life, and now I'm finally beginning to realize what actually matters.
When we are young, life is an adventure. I can't help but think that for people like Bunny, life has become something to endure.
The older we get, the changes in life begin to slow down. We do all the things that we hoped to do or we realize that some of them really didn't matter after all.
It turns out, I know a lot of Bunnys and I also know a lot of kids who just can't wait for the next big milestone in their life to happen. While the kids are wishing away the now, the Bunnys are sitting around remembering the "thens".
Maybe now isn't something to wish away. Maybe it's alright to realize that our lives don't have to be fast, popular, or emulated. If only I realized what has been happening in the years that have passed since I was ten.
They were exciting. They were full. They didn't need to hurry up.
I know that now.
Life slows down and time continues flying by. It may not seem exciting, but these lives are ours. Whatever they look like, they've been given to us. They are full of opportunities to look around, to learn, and to be amazed at all that God has done.
When I pass by the house where Bunny lives, I am reminded of my prayer for her and for all of the children that play on the sidewalks bordering her house and all of the men and women who drive by in a hurry to do the next thing.
While Bunny spends her days living in that dark, cluttered, dusty house looking out through the wooden blinds, she is surrounded by joy and sorrow and people who are growing up and growing old right alongside of her.
My prayer is this, may the people living in this world be able to see beyond the wooden blinds and the dust and the corners and the achievements and the fears and the disappointments in order to see the hand of God in a way that makes them trust and delight and hope in Him.
This post may look and sound a bit different than what you usually find here. This post is a response to the prompt: "What's been on your mind? What have you carried and gnawed over?"
It's part of the "Old Friend from Far Away" writing exercises I've decided to do. Find out more about these exercises by clicking HERE.
*ps the photo at the top of this post is not Bunny's house. It's just a picture during some of my travels.