Bubbles

There is something magical about bubbles, no matter how old you are. At weddings, small containers are given out so that the beautiful, floating orbs can be blown upon the newly weds. Bubbles arise when kids blow too hard through the straw of their chocolate milk. And sometimes, when there’s enough heat behind it, water will boil and bubbles will be present. There’s just something special about bubbles.

A few days ago, a friend of mine passed away. It was sudden, and it didn’t seem like her time to go. She died only a day before she was supposed to graduate the Leadership Training Program at Camp Joy El, where I met her.

I’m here to tell you that she was bubbles.

I didn’t know her as well as I would have liked to have known her. My first year working at camp, I had no idea how to handle the campers, but she taught me. The most I remember of her was the affectionate name she called her best friend, and how they were always together.

Bubbles come in different forms. Sometimes, they boil over like hot water. This girl was fueled by her love for God, and that joy was overflowing any time I saw her. This isn’t to say she didn’t go through really difficult times: only to say that any time I saw her, there was the Lord’s joy. Her passion for God made her boil over into her camper’s lives, and I know that joy touched many of them.

Sometimes, bubbles float unexpectedly through the air, swirling and dancing until they reach a single blade of grass, and then they pop. This girl was capable of this bubbliness, this ability to send a bit of joy to some unsuspecting person and impact them. To touch their lives. To change them.

I am in a bubble. None of this feels real. It feels like a dream; or more honestly, a nightmare; that I won’t see her again on this earth. And I’m not sure I want this bubble to pop.

What I do know is that Heaven has gained a beautiful heart for worship who, to me, was bubbles.

Beautiful bubbles.

Rest in peace, dear girl.

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Surprise!

About a week and a half ago, I received a phone call from the children’s librarian at the local library. She wanted to know if I’d come read to a group of kids who were about six to twelve years old. I said yes immediately: I was afraid of reading to them, but I also thought it would be good experience for me.

I had a math test to finish the Saturday I was going to the library to read. I only had two more questions, which I figured I would graph when I got home. My father had gone early in the morning to the 4-H Plant Sale, and was going to be settling tomato plants in the backyard while I was gone. I could only hope he’d remember to pick me up.

During the morning, I went downstairs and search for the right book to read to a group of six- to twelve-year-olds. That was a pretty big age range! I had to find something that was entertaining enough for the little ones, but not so dumb that the older kids would be bored. After sifting through my favorite childhood novels, I finally settled on Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, which conveniently had an age-range stamped on the back.

I was all set.

I gathered up my books and hopped in the van. Dad drove me to the library, made plans to pick me up about an hour later, and I walked in.

So distracted was I by my book poster on the bulletin board on the way in, I missed seeing my mother–who was supposed to be delivering potatoes to the church–duck behind something.

After studying it for a minute, I waltzed to the children’s section, on my way to the desk of the children’s librarian. As I walked past the row of non-fictions, I saw my best friend casually looking through a shelf of books.

“Oh, my goodness,” I exclaimed. “What are you doing here?”

She smiled, and replied, “Oh, I’m just looking for a book.”

“I’m reading to small children today,” I proudly showed her my Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle selection.

“Nice!” she replied.

One of my closest friends then casually walked up to us both. I had noticed her there a moment before, but I wasn’t sure it was her.

Completely oblivious to the fact that the second girl doesn’t even live in the same town as me, I chattered away with the two about books and reading. “This is such a God-thing,” I chuckled. We continued talking for a few minutes.

“Lexi!” My best friend grabbed my hand. “Let’s go to the Children’s Room.”

I shrugged. “Sure. We’re old enough, we don’t need adults.”

We crossed the small distance between us and a room of toys. As one of my friends opened the door, I noticed a boy who was sleeping in the big reading chair.

Great, I thought. We can’t even talk, or we’ll wake him up.

I studied the sleeping form for a moment, which was hugging a large bear. Then my eyes narrowed. I first recognized the boy’s shoes, and then the hat he was wearing. I was just taking into account that his arms and legs were also especially familiar, when he jumped out of the chair.

Now, this person, I knew, lived too far away to just “coincidentally” be at this library.

I threatening pointed my little paperback Piggle-Wiggles at the three. “No. No. This can’t be today. It can’t be. I have a math test to finish!”

While my one friend tried to convince me that math was pointless, my duck-and-cover mom waltzed through the door.

“Well? We’re you surprised?” she grinned.

A smile slowly spread on my face as I said, “This isn’t even a God-thing anymore. This is a you-thing.”

As it turned out, my mom had contacted the library weeks ago to arrange my party there. The librarians were all in on it. The call to come read had been a lie, and my other friends were scattered all throughout the building.

All in all, after finding about seven more friends, we had a scavenger hunt; ate Chick-fil-A and Dingeldein Bakery Cake; played signs and improv; and I got pictures with everyone.

They got me.

They got me good.

Sixteen

Well, I made it to the big one-six. The birthday that every kid in America waits for. For the boys, it’s usually the driving–the impending freedom and open road that a license will soon bring. For the girls, it’s usually the dating–being cared for by someone who says they want us.

I will be doing neither in the near future, thank God.

Sixteen hasn’t brought any changes for me yet; not that I’ve given it a lot of time to do so, it’s only been two days.

And honestly, I’m not sure I want any of the changes sixteen would like to provide.

I’m not super into adulthood at this point; I’m barely surviving as a teen.

Right now, I’m curious as to what sixteen is supposed to be like. This is the big birthday! Shouldn’t I be feeling more grown up, or excited, or responsible, or like I can take on the world? C’mon, this is the only birthday that gets its own adjective (excluding golden birthdays), and I feel like nothing’s happened?

What exactly is the big deal about sixteen? Woo hoo, I’m getting closer to having to find a job so I can pay for the gas in the car I’m going to have to learn to drive, and then take to that job that pays for gas.

Sixteen.

Yay.

Seriously, what’s the big deal about this one? I feel like my whole life, when someone turned sixteen, they were excited, embracing change and their impending adulthood.

Not me.

So, yay, sixteen. Glad you’re here.

Don’t change me ’til I’m ready.