Monday, July 26, 2010

Punky Brewster Comes to Tea

Come along inside.We'll see if tea and buns can make the world a better place.
~The Wind in the Willow~

Her single-working-two-jobs dad calls her Missy because, as she tells it, "he doesn't have time to remember my name". I'm thinking it might be because she hates being called Melissa and his choices seem limited. She asked me what I was going to call her since it better not be Melissa and I volunteered, "Hepsebobbical Windowshade Delicatessen Frog Nose". She rolled her eyes at me, laughed and agreed. Mostly I call her Froggie or Deli for short.

We met when I began taking walks around my new neighborhood several weeks ago. Since then she often just happens to be available when I walk by her house. Most of the time while she's "living on her own independently" this summer, she is rereading Harry Potter, writing in the journal I made her or learning to be a "house maiden like Cinderella".

On the outside, she looks like a 10 year old punk...piercings, bleached hair, sloppy clothes and black nail polish, words about death and gloom and darkness. She told me not to let that scare me. (Are you kidding me? I've been in Campus Ministry for 30 years!) On the inside she's all about pink and princesses and hearts and flowers...secretly, on the inside, she's all about life.

This morning she came to visit. Guarding her enthusiasm, and thus her heart, she talked of unimportant things while drinking tea from a china cup, eating cookies from a heart shaped plate and pouring tea from "a real live teapot".

What causes us to learn so young that we can not allow others to see us as we really are? Behind every mask is a story to be shared, not to be guarded. Guard your heart, but share who you really are with people.

I don't know if I'm making much of a difference in Froggie's life yet, but she's making a big difference in mine. As she was leaving she laughed self-consciously and said, "I've never been to a real tea party before. It was really fun. Did I do it right?" I assured her that since she had a good time, that, yes, she had done it just right. "Can we do it again someday?" Oh, indeed yes.

When it comes to tea parties, maybe we're all still little girls behind our masks.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
Proverbs 4:23

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