• Shelby Hughes

To Those Hanging By A Thread This Year

She doesn't feel herself.


She used to be a bubbly little girl. Scrapper and half-pint were her nicknames. Bobbed-haircut with bright-brown eyes were her features. Looking to the sky surrounded by acres and acres of untouched land or face buried in a good novel to live among adventure were pure delight.


That girl who longs for nature and books is now a mother and a wife. She’s gained baby weight that she can’t seem to get rid of and she her home only stays clean for five minutes and she spends much of the day indoors because that’s often easier with small children. She goes from changing a diaper to settling sibling rivalry to feeding everyone a snack and then another because the middle one cries that she’s still hungry. What once was quiet and carefree and full of books has been replaced with chaos and responsibility and crates of toys.


Sometimes, when her husband comes home and they’ve eaten dinner, she goes for a short drive to clear her mind before she writes. She knows the one back-road near home well, where the world opens, and land is seen for miles with only a few speckled houses in sight. She goes where the sky seems larger, the gray clouds with pink and orange bottoms touch lands she’s never explored. In that short drive, she’s a little girl again.


Circumstances have caused this little girl to grow up, and right now many circumstances seem to be holding on by a thread. She's holding on by a thread, and she knows others are doing the same. They are facing fire and flood all at once.


One circumstance she can’t even put to words. It’s too large for her to comprehend.


Another circumstance seems minor in light of everything else, but it’s like someone stuck the EpiPen into her own thigh when imagining what could happen during an allergic reaction, and she knows nothing of the world of allergies. It’s like the cherry on top of melting whipped cream. It’s all good, but she doesn’t want the cherry to fall.


Other news reminds her of the fragility of life and how life may not look the same even a year from now, but of course she doesn’t really know the future, and that’s more than likely her active imagination getting the best of her.


Sometimes this little girl finds herself holding her breath, hoping that none of the strings break unexpectedly. She finds herself on her bathroom floor with her hands covering her face because she’s trying to stay in the present but even the present is full of its own trouble. She hides there wishing someone understood, wishing those causing the deepest heartbreak understood, wishing life would just let up so she wouldn’t find herself having a complete meltdown in her bathroom.


This girl rises, wipes her tears, and keeps going.


She finds her children and instead of finding tasks to keep her busy, she sits on the floor with them, grabs the pile of folded blankets from the couch and piles them on the floor. Her kids jump on them, creating a Queen-Of-The-Mountain type game, eyes wide with delight as they dance and wiggle and jump around. The little girl inside begins to laugh, and then the Mom begins to cry because she realizes the real escape comes when she embraces the smallness of her children if just for a few moments.


Her word for this year is “consider.”


Phrases from scripture come to mind: “Consider it all joy” and “Consider the heavens.” Her favorite hymn includes the lyrics “consider ALL the worlds thy hands have made.”


She goes to the dictionary for a concise definition and then looks at the etymology of the Latin-based word, and then ends by searching scripture. She writes down every reference she finds to the word “consider.” It’s in the Bible over 50 times.


She grabs her Bible and searches the first reference she’s written down. It’s Psalm 5:1, but of course she reads the whole chapter.


In this chapter, David asks God to consider his meditation, and that’s exactly what His little girl is asking as well. She’s been having trouble putting words to her prayers, but David speaks what her heart can’t manage to say aloud. Her intention is to come into the multitude of His mercy and worship Him, to let His mercy wash away tears and failures. (vs. 7.) And there, near the end of the chapter, she sees that three-letter word that keeps hitting her afresh: JOY. “But let all those that put their hope in thee rejoice, let them ever shout for JOY, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name rejoice in thee.” (vs. 11)


She’s trusting that those strings are twined by the hand her Father, and that it will all be okay.

Daddy, your little girl will be okay.









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2017 Shelby L Hughes | Greensburg, PA | shelbyhugheswriter@gmail.com