I’m copying a link to an article of mine that was published yesterday in Christian Woman Magazine. It pertains to seeking help and destigmatizing seeking professional counseling. I hope that you’ll enjoy it! (Even though it was written by my alter-ego Adrienne Floss. That’s a typo that the magazine made–hopefully it’ll be fixed soon).
I’ve been ruminating lately on how much of motherhood is moment-to-moment. When they are very young, our children’s needs are immediate and small, yet they can quickly fill up a day. From the minute they are born, they start changing rapidly. Every day brings a new development, a new milestone or challenge. So much of their questions as they learn to communicate, first with grunts and then single words and then phrases and eventually complex sentences, are about what they want or need from moment to moment. Mine are always asking what we’re doing.
“Mommy, what can I do NOW? What are we having for dinner? What are we doing tomorrow?”
They see in small slices of time. There’s no long-term vision for the future in these little minds. Therefore, I started to think like this not long after becoming a mother. In these busy moments of mothering, I am often putting one foot in front of the other and thinking of what needs to be done NEXT. What diaper do I need to change now? What sticky liquid must I clean off the floor now? What meal do I need to prep for next? Who needs to get dressed? Who needs a ride to school now?
Busy-ness does not provide much space for dreaming or for long term vision. So as a mother I easily became entrenched in what was happening in my life daily, focusing on the fine details–not so much the beauty and great significance of the fact that my child can NOW hold their own spoon or get themselves dressed, but that it finally happened and freed me from their dependence on me for basic needs. I was often overcome by these little, immediate needs. I felt so smothered at times that I inwardly scoffed when older people with independent children would remind me how much I should be appreciating mine…right NOW in THIS moment.
I brushed their comments aside, knowing they were right and silently acknowledging that one day I will most certainly be in their shoes, feeling compassion and sympathy for a young mom struggling with her tiny brood, while also feeling a pull to make her aware of the treasure that she has in her young family. I brushed their comments aside because although they are most likely correct, what they said did not change the fact that in those moments, I was the one struggling. I was the one yearning for a moment alone. I was the one wondering when I’d get a good night’s rest again. I was the one wanting to put on a nice outfit and not have it covered in food stains and snot. I was the one covered up in moments and lacking vision or the hindsight to see how these moments could come together.
Just a few days ago I was sitting at the kitchen table with my two-year-old son. His older sisters have just begun their school year, and I’ve been looking forward to the days that I’m going to have alone with my son, my baby, who has had the least amount of quality time with mommy of all my children. We were alone at the table and I was kind of focused in on his round cheeks when it hit me. I am about to begin my final days as a full-time stay-at-home-mom. Over the last seven years my husband and I added three little people to our family and every day I was swept up in their now needs. It was hard for me to lift my head up higher than their faces to see the changes on the horizon, to see that the future was not “now”, but it came sooner than I anticipated. When I was home with all three of them, or even just two of them (when my oldest started kindergarten last year), it was easy for me to see all these moments as an endless stream of my reality. Like this was going to be my life forever, which is silly, because we all know that children grow up.
So NOW, when I look at my son, I see a boy who just yesterday was an infant, and tomorrow will be a kindergartner. Every time he kisses my arm or my cheek, every time he tells me he loves me and demands a response, every time he asks me to carry him or runs to me in tears with a boo-boo, I wonder if it will be the last of these moments of childhood urgency. Because moments have passed with my other two. I can no longer carry my six-year-old. My helpful five-year-old won’t be home in the afternoons to assist in putting her brother down for a nap. There’s less and less need for mommy’s help right NOW, and more that they can do without me.
Two nights ago, my five-year-old daughter was exaggerating about her speed and claiming that she could outrun me. I told her, “Yeah right, I’m way faster than you!” Then I thought for a moment and said, “But, there will be a day when you’ll be faster and stronger than me, honey. Then you really will beat me.”
Sometimes I think that I, and moms in general, could benefit from learning how to procrastinate, just enough to help us put off the trivial tasks that seem like they need to be done right NOW, to savor more of these moments. Later, our laundry will still be sitting in a pile on the floor, but our children will be running ahead, eventually too fast for us to catch them. Let’s lace up our shoes, take a swig of caffeine, and chase these moments when we can.
Source: The Angry Feminist
When my husband and I were talking about becoming parents, man, were we clueless. Especially me, I was the clueless one. Bryan has always been more of a practical realist; me–I’m more of a dreamer. I tend to get lost in thought, stare out windows, go way deeper into conversations than people really wanted to.
I’ve learned so much since the quest of motherhood began–mostly that things are never going to go the way that I expect them to go. That motherhood is full of profound, disgusting, heart-melting, terrifying, glorious, silly, unpredictable surprises. Beginning with two miscarriages, then two healthy births of two beautiful girls on opposite sides of the country, to an overseas move, to expat life and pregnancy and yet another miscarriage in Europe, to the birth of my baby boy, to a visit to the American Embassy to get his citizenship requirements in the middle of a winter storm when he was ten days old, to another overseas move from hell with a four year old, three year old and ten month old, to staying in two AirBnBs before moving into a house, to beginning kindergarten and first grade….whew, it’s been a hectic eight years. Eight years since our first attempts at becoming parents!
Somewhere during that pregnancy with Vivienne, our oldest, I decided that I was against pregnancy books–except for the baby development week to week. The reason was because I was already recovering from fear and anxiety left over from losing two babies in a row before her, and all I found when I read these pregnancy books was more fear, more “what ifs,” and illogical, crippling reasons to suspect that something was wrong with my perfectly formed and developing baby girl. I decided to trust God because that was the take-away lesson that He’d taught me through my miscarriages anyway. There was nothing I could do to prevent them, nothing I could do to change what was happening to me, and worry and fear would do nothing but steal the joy I was experiencing during my pregnancy as I felt my baby grow and move inside me.
This aversion to asking for and giving advice as a mom has carried over into my years of mothering infants, toddlers, preschoolers and now elementary-aged children. There are not many people that I will ask for advice. Sometimes I ask my own mother because she knows me, she’s completed her journey of motherhood successfully and I know she doesn’t judge me. Sometimes I ask my sister, and of course, I ask my husband what he thinks.
But mostly I pray, I ask God for help and watch for His answers, His way of leading. I’m not saying that I’m always a great listener, but I try. I try this tactic or that one and see which yields success. You see, each of my children is different and the same approach does not always work for each one in every scenario. Their moods, likes, dislikes, feelings and fears change around the clock, and if my OWN children are so diverse in their personalities, how in the world can I offer advice to other moms on what they should do when their child won’t eat this, has an allergy to that, doesn’t sleep through the night or has extreme separation anxiety? Occasionally other women will ask me for advice, but I really do my best to frame my answer as, “this is what we tried” not as “you should do this.” The word “should” is one I don’t think is good for most moms to hear–it usually brings a lot of guilt.
Another reason that I don’t give a lot of mothering advice is because there is so much I don’t know, and so much that just doesn’t interest me. I do not care about eating organic food. I do not craft. I don’t know how to sew, although I “should.” I don’t garden. I am not a huge fan of Disney-related stuff. I don’t send my kids to preschool. So basically, if you want to know about kale recipes, DIY Halloween costumes, how to grow fist-sized tomatoes, where to get the best Disney passes (I don’t even know if that’s the right way to say that), which preschools in the area are the highest rated, I am not your girl. I’m aware of the areas where I lack knowledge or skill.
What I do know as a mom is that these years go by so quickly. I do know that it’s okay to tell your children that you don’t have all the answers to their questions. I do know that it’s okay to cry and be real in front of them. It’s okay if you yell and lose your patience, as long as you’re willing and ready to say that you were wrong, ask for their forgiveness and follow it up with a big hug and a heart-felt “I love you,” and try, really try, to do better next time. I do know that your kids think you are so much more wonderful than you believe or imagine. I do know that they think you are wicked smart. I do know that it’s okay to lock your self in your room and cry out to God. I do know that it’s okay to tell them “no” or “not right now.” I do know that going for a walk with them, playing “doggies” with them as my kids love to do, or eating popsicles with them on the front porch will make just as big of an impression on their little hearts as a day at Disney World. I do know that they love the sound of your voice and the feel of your arms. I know they think that you are an incredible artist. I know they think you’re pretty. I know they love to dance with you. I do know that you’re tired and your brain feels short-circuited, but if you take the time to answer their questions honestly, you have a chance to impact their lives forever.
I know motherhood is probably not exactly what you had in mind. I know that there are moments that you wish that you could stay in bed, or go on vacation, or be able to finish a mediocre blog-post without a pint-sized person crawling into your lap. (I know that if you are afforded the opportunity to do any of these things, you actually really miss your kids after a while and just want to go home.) And when you start to feel guilty about having these escape fantasies, don’t buy into the lie that a “better” mom wouldn’t want to get away. Instead, recognize that you love your kids enough to care! That hesitation/elation that you have over an opportunity to go somewhere without your kids (the supermarket, a hotel, the dentist!) is a sign of a devoted and caring mother who is working hard and doing her best. Accept the things that you DO know about being a mother, the things that have served you and your family well. Capitalize on your strengths and the knowledge that you have that works. (Preaching to a one-woman choir here ladies. Sometimes we ALL need a talk.)
And never forget that there’s One who knows YOU. When other advice fails, when you’re on your fourth round of trial-and-error, remember that He has limitless patience and all the right answers. Sometimes we just have to ask the right person. And put on some make-up–that always makes me feel better. 😉
Last night I went to see Wonder Woman with a girl-friend. To be honest, I’m not really into superhero movies, and especially not ones with a female lead because they are usually even more far-fetched than superhero films with male leads. But I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by this film. Yes, Wonder Woman was strong, and fast, and GORGEOUS–deflecting bullets with her wrist-guards, leaping hundreds of feet in the air and flattening villains with her supernatural power. But there were things she was NOT, which are worth mentioning. She was not selfish. She was not vengeful. She was not easily discouraged or offended. She was not a man-hater. She was not prideful.
It was intentional for the story of Diana Prince (a.k.a. Wonder Woman) to be set during the 1920s when the War was amping up and women’s suffrage was a controversial issue. To see Diana in her tiny uniform barely hidden by her cloak, taking advice from corseted secretaries in their prim-and-proper dresses with buttons to their throats was quite ironic and comical. But as I watched the interaction between the two primary female characters: one a dowdy receptionist and one a beautiful, warrior goddess, I found myself becoming grateful. I’m grateful to be able to celebrate the freedom as a Western woman who benefits from the battles won for women throughout the 20th century. But I’m most grateful that my worth as a woman does not come from what I can earn.
I know that I can celebrate my femininity because God gave it to me. In some way, I am able to image Him. This gives me meaning as a woman, and the fact that His son rescued me from sin and gave me new life gives me freedom. It’s an ultimate freedom that has already been won and need not be proven by marches, by protests, by wearing my female-ness as a prideful badge.
Everywhere I look, there’s a groundswell of women on a mission to prove themselves. There’s an idolatry of gender that offends more often than it helps, alienates more often than it unifies, and embarrasses more often than it encourages. And for Christian women, this is especially dangerous because the risk is that we begin to hold our cause higher than the cause of Christ. Do we want to be seen first as women or as children of God? If our goal is to have equal treatment, then we would be best served by remembering these words:
Galations 3:28, There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t fight for women who are marginalized or oppressed. There are women all over the world who are raped, enslaved, mutilated, ignored, abused, and mistreated in a number of ways. These are real problems. This is true inequality. What I am saying is that as a Western, Christian woman, my goal is to be grateful for what I already have and to look for opportunities to glorify God in this body and in the feminine way that celebrates His goodness, not to complain that my life is different from a man’s.
The cause of Jesus Christ is my banner, my march.
Wonder Woman showed some Christlike characteristics: grace, generosity, a recognition of who she was, not what she didn’t have, perseverance, hope, LOVE. In these ways, she is certainly a superhero that my daughters and I can admire. But she is also fictional. There are real women who have made a mark on history, on the world, women who were heroic in their faith and strength–Hannah, Ruth, Mary, Priscilla, Elizabeth, Esther.
Theirs were voices of peace. Theirs were hearts of love. Theirs were hands of strength. Theirs were spiritual battles of heaven and earth, which they won without picking up a megaphone or a sword.
May we be women of faith, strength and gratitude.
My days are filled with sound. The sound of birds chirping, as melodic as they are, starts far too early in the morning these days, rousing my three children under seven from their sleep. The sound of their footfalls on the stairs as they try to sneak out of their rooms before their toddler clocks flash green disturbs my morning quiet date with my Bible and hot coffee. The sound of my name, no not Adrienne, that other name, Mommy, plays on repeat all day. The serious sound of my husband’s voice on conference calls makes me grateful for his dedication and provision, while the sound of his silliness with our children makes me proud that he’s my partner in this parenting adventure. Then there’s the hum of the washing machine, the clicking of water through pipes, the chiming of my Apple Watch reminding me that it’s time to breathe, traffic, other people’s conversations at the supermarket—it goes on and on.
What I don’t realize about all these sounds, sometimes until it’s too late, is that they draw my attention to the immediate and pull it away from the eternal. Before long I’m starting to focus on the tasks that are directly under my control, simple goals that I can meet on my own that don’t seem to be a big deal. However, there are so many days when I step back and look at the hill of small things in front of me that I’ve built single-handedly by listening to my own voice saying, “you can do this.” At times, I become overwhelmed and frustrated because I’ve piled too many things atop one another and it’s very difficult to see the priorities, to sort through pile without it toppling over at my feet.
It’s in these moments that I must fall on my knees before this mountain of minutiae and surrender it. I must acknowledge that I allowed the noise of my life to drown out the One voice that wants to direct me, to guide me, to fill me with peace and joy and empathy. I must confess that all the noise has trained my ears to listen to a selfish voice instead of one that would speak love into and through me.
The word resonate means to produce or be filled with a deep, reverberating sound. This speaks to me of my deep desire be filled of the Holy Spirit—to know His voice so well that it shouts louder than any other sound in my environment, as precious as those sounds may be. I want THAT voice to reverberate in my mind so that I can accept or release challenges and tasks with confidence. I want that filling to consume me so that I don’t listen to lies that tend to produce guilt because I should be doing this or that. I want no distractions from what God’s voice is calling me to.
Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit in John 14, calling Him Counselor and the Spirit of Truth. Lies confuse us, they shackle us to expectations and standards that we were never designed to meet. They create division. Jesus said the truth would set us free. So then as our Counselor, the voice of the Holy Spirit can fill us with truth and confidence in our mission as women called to love and represent Jesus in our communities and homes, not in a forced and tired way, but in a joyful and empowered way.
So, my prayer is, help me hear You, Lord. Resonate amidst my busy noise. Help me to recognize Your tones, Your words, Your truth. From the eager sound of chirping birds to the rhythmic sound of my husband’s snoring at night, call me back to your side so that I can be restored and reminded of Your good plans for me. Let my head be filled Your deep, reverberating sound.
Despite sharing surnames, family members can sometimes be so divergent in their lifestyles and opinions, that the only commonality they share is the blood in their veins. And there are times when you meet someone who has led a very different life than yours, yet the two of you see eye-to-eye on just about everything and even share many interests. The road to solidarity can be a seamless, easy mystery that just “works,” but it can also be a lengthy and cumbersome one that requires a unifying cause.
This last year has been one of great transition for my extended family. It became necessary for my grandparents to move from their home of 60 years in the tiny town of Flomaton, Alabama, to an assisted living facility in a nearby city where they can receive better care for their needs. My father and his three brothers (and my mom and aunts) initially had many discussions over the phone, Facetime and through email about the steps involving moving my grandparents into assisted living, and then again recently when putting their childhood home on the market after it was certain that my grandparents had settled into their new home comfortably.
For me personally, the sale of this house will mean saying farewell to the only home that has remained a fixture in my 38 years of life. I was raised in an Air Force family that uprooted and moved every three years, and then married a man who possesses the same wanderlust as me. Throughout my life, I’ve returned to Flomaton from places like England, the Netherlands, from Arizona or Seattle or Luxembourg. No matter what, that little house on Wilkerson Street had the same scent, the same floor plan with minor changes, the same loud family voices and bodies sprawled on couches and floors, the same prayers and Bible stories and hymns, the same neighbors and even the same casseroles and pies.
Those shared experiences with my relatives and the background of faith and loyalty and love that my grandparents have poured into their sons, their daughters-in-law and every one of their grandchildren, are what have laid the groundwork for solidarity in our family. As my cousins and my aunts and uncles walked through the house in these last weeks, claiming furniture and quilts and trinkets and dishes, the memories and the lessons they’ve learned in years past poured out of them and reminded us all, even over Facebook, of the legacy that our grandparents bestowed to us, which gives us something to uphold, together, regardless of our political, vocational and lifestyle differences.
Last week my parents, who have lived in Germany for the past 17 years, worked from sun up to sun down with a few of my aunts and uncles as they combed through each cabinet and drawer of the house on Wilkerson Street. As they hauled away trash, donated used goods and sold items in a yard sale, people from town both familiar and estranged came around to recall memories of my grandparents and their “boys”. Relationships were renewed and restored. They told me about the unexpected help that came from unexpected people who felt that they shared in my family’s story—people who delivered doughnuts, helped carry heavy chairs and even provided encouragement to rest in the shade with laughs and glasses of sweet tea.
Two days ago my mother posted a photo of my father helping my grandfather shave. I think my whole family was struck by how this photo represented life coming full circle—a son helping his elderly father shave, a father who most certainly showed that son how to hold a razor a very long time ago. And it spoke to me of the unity in my family, that despite the differences of opinion that we have or the distances between us, just about any one of the men in my family would be at the sink in the bathroom doing the very same for my grandfather—because they love him. Love helps us see needs around us. Love compels us to join a hand and give, instead of using that hand to point fingers at who should be doing more. A time or moment of need is often the very thing that reveals common ground and gives us the opportunity to tread it together—all of us, for one family, one goal, one love.
I’m linking to an article that I wrote for SheLoves Magazine. Its all about healthy sexual intimacy in marriage. There’s good stuff here for married couples and singles alike. I hope that you enjoy!
It often begins as a small remark about someone’s health, a scary experience with a food allergy, a stressful day of travel with kids, an economic crisis or reports of crime in the news. Something in us grabs ahold of a passing remark that elevates legitimate concerns to full-blown, action-quenching, logic-robbing WORRY. And for some reason it seems to be an epidemic among moms.
I call worry the “mother” of sins because it is one of those qualities that runs rampant in mommy circles. Not only is it common, it’s often somewhat reasonable. It’s excused away. We worry ourselves sick and call it “concern” or being “responsible.” But here’s the thing—real worry goes beyond being aware and concerned for your family’s safety and well-being. It can cripple you from engaging with people. It can adversely affect your health when it robs your peace of mind, interferes with sleep and leaves you with no appetite.
For the non-Christian, I would say that worry has gotten the best of you when:
-Most of your conversations are negative and focus on the hopelessness of your country, your political system, or factors that you cannot control.
-Your peace and contentment is based in how much of your life you can control.
-You obsess over “research.”
-You don’t participate in things that interest you because of what “could” happen or go wrong.
For the Believer, worry reveals selfishness, a lack of trust in the Lord or willingness to relinquish control to Him. Worry as a verb is defined as “(to) give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.” In its most extreme form, worry evolves into fear. Lou Priolo has written a helpful booklet about fear and how to recognize when it has gripped you in a paralyzing, sinful way. I think many of his points can be applied to worry as well. Below are what he claims are characteristics of sinful fear/worry.
-Fear (worry) is sinful when it proceeds out of unbelief, or distrust, in God. When you worry because you do not believe that God can or will do what he has clearly promised in his Word, your fear is sinful.
-Fear (worry) is sinful when that which produced the fear is attributed more power than what the Bible allows. When you believe that what you worry about has more power than God, your fear is sinful.
-Worry is a problem when it is so paralyzing that it keeps us from fulfilling our biblical responsibilities (loving God and neighbor as the Bible commands).
-Worry is a problem when it reveals selfishness rather than love and sacrifice.
Healthy, loving concern seeks the best interest of others. Worry doesn’t mean you can’t plan for emergencies. But worry does turn our focus inward and so distorts reality that we are blind to the needs of others. This must be one reason why Jesus himself forbade it when he preached the Sermon on the Mount found in the Gospel of Matthew, verses 25-34.
To you moms out there–you dear ones love your children so much that most of you would lay your own lives down for them. I believe that is exactly how we parents are supposed to feel, and if the time ever comes for us to make such a sacrifice, it would be a noble and loving one indeed. The fact is, we are not promised easy lives, and although most of us reading this are probably not going to face life or death decisions for ourselves or our children, there may come a day when something terrible happens that is beyond our control. But if it does, I guarantee no amount of worrying would equip us for it. Why waste the precious and glorious moments of this life in sinful worry that prohibits us from enjoying the Father’s blessings?
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life…Therefore do not worry about tomorrow. For tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6: 27, 34)
You and I were equal.
From your first parched cough, as you rose on your unsteady legs and brushed the dust from your belly, He already had me in mind. God my Creator and Adam, you, my model formed my body. The creation of me.
You marveled at me, staring, reaching out to touch me. And I was not meant to be trampled, nor to war against you, but to lay against you at night. To hold your hand by day and be your friend.
We stared up through branches into the sunlight as foxes wound their tails around our calves and lions lent their thick manes for pillows. You never had to ask to hold me. I never doubted your holy love. We trusted each other.
We climbed mountains and spoke with God as our bodies bronzed, naked and unashamed. When He looked at us, His eyes shone. His face was sunlight and warmth. He often laughed as He walked with us.
“My children,” He would say. “I love you. How beautiful you are!”
As the sea turtles laid their eggs at night we made love on the beach. We saw God smiling down on us from the moon.
I awoke before you one morning and kissed your sleeping eyes. I went into the Garden to collect fruit for breakfast. The trees swayed in greeting as a gentle breeze spun through the branches. From one, a voice called to me–its tone familiar and close. A sleek and sinuous creature wound its body amidst the shimmering branches, sunlight bouncing off its shiny skin.
It dropped some of its length from a limb and settled on my shoulder. A serpent with dark, deep eyes wrapped its silky smooth body around my chest then slid along my spine and encircled my waist. As its scales caressed me, I thought of how much it felt like your callused hands stroking my body. How its slithering embrace felt like your touch on my skin.
It began to speak…and I listened.
I awoke and you were gone. The grass beside me was still warm and springing up from your departure. I knew that you would return soon, fruit cradled in your arms and your long hair falling in tangles over your tan shoulders, but I couldn’t wait to see you so I went searching for you instead. Birds swooped and called to their mates as I called for you too.
I found you beneath the Tree. In your hand was a gleaming red fruit and wrapped around your body was a beautiful, strong serpent. As I approached I reached out to stroke its back, but it quickly released you and disappeared into the branches above.
“Here,” you said to me, and offered the fruit. “The serpent said it would make us like Father.”
I looked at my wife. This fruit is not meant for me, I thought. But you smiled and gently placed it in my palm. I loved you, but in my heart was a resistance I had never felt, a calling to let the fruit fall to the ground. There was something else too–a new idea that I could be like my Father and that this would make you happy.
So even though the fruit’s skin was blackening where you had bitten and the air was growing cooler around us, I took and ate. And then all sound stopped.
No breeze. No singing birds. No rustling leaves or waves lapping against the shore. A stillness and grayness settled over the Garden. I looked at you–you were standing very still. Your eyes were wide in fear and tears began to trickle down your cheeks. I tried to hold you but you pushed me away. For the first time, I became furious with you. I felt a desire to strike you for rejecting me, which frightened me in its urgency. You saw my clenched fists and stepped away from me, a look of shock and sadness on your face that I could hurt you. I watched as the sadness turned to a hardening in your features that changed your face before my eyes. Never had I thought you anything but exquisitely beautiful, but suddenly, there was an ugliness in you that appalled me. I felt so ashamed that I yelled at you.
“What have you done?!” I cried. Your head drooped. “Woman! God told us NEVER to eat from this tree. How could you do this to me?”
“To you?! Is that all you care about Adam?”
“How could you be so stupid?” I whispered, shaking my head in disappointment.
“I am sorry! He said it would make us like Father, that we could live forever like Him. I thought that…”
“He LIED to you, Eve!”
Your eyes narrowed. “Yet you ate of the fruit, Adam.”
An uneasiness grew in my belly and I fell to my knees. My head swam and I dug my hands into the ground to steady myself.
You started silently crying, and slowly, lock by chestnut lock, pulling your long hair in front to conceal your breasts. You wrapped your arms around yourself and walked backward into a bush. You began yanking vines from the bush and tying them around your waist.
“What are you doing?” I asked looking up at you. You wiped your nose.
“I do not want you to see me.” You sniffed, your voice coming in broken sobs. “It was not my fault, it wasn’t, it wasn’t….oh! What have I done?!” You cried, burying your face in your hands. I stood and went to you and tried to brush aside your hair, the hair that tickled my nose every night as I held you, the soft hair that I combed through with my fingers every morning. You recoiled from me and slapped my hand aside.
“Do not touch me! Don’t pretend that you care. After all, this is my doing right? I did this to you!” Your face contorted in rage and I felt exposed, wounded standing there naked before you. I started pulling vines too, wrapping them about my waist silently. You glanced up at me and then something caught your attention behind me. You screamed. I turned around.
On a plain in the distance a pack of jackals was attacking a zebra. It was slowly falling to the ground, blood pouring from at least a dozen bite wounds. Its whinnies grew fainter each second, and finally it collapsed on its side and the jackals descended. They tore pieces of flesh and crouched to eat the fresh meat. Several of them fought over the morsels or pushed through the pack to get to the carcass.
“Oh no,” You moaned behind me. “Nonononono.”
A doe and her fawn ran between the trees just feet from you. The fawn stopped to nibble on grass and you rose to go to it. The second it saw you, it darted away in fright and followed its mother who was still bounding through the trees.
“This cannot be,” I whispered. Then there was a boom, and another and another. The wind blew cold and strong and the clouds rolled violently above us. Although the sky was darkening, His light shone brightly from the far end of the Garden. It grew brighter as He approached us. I grasped your arm.
“Hide quickly. He’s coming.”