life:filtered

…learning to live a life filtered by the truth of the gospel.

for Trip July 30, 2013

Filed under: seriousness — Stephanie @ 6:21 pm
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My cousin has cancer. We grew up together, went to school together, played wiffle ball in the back yard together. Shot basketball at the city park. Marched drum line together.


And now he has cancer. And it sucks. And I’m sad and I admit I don’t really know what to say to him and I’m sure I’ve said the wrong things, but at least I’ve said something.


See, Trip, he’s a big reason I survived high school. Just being his cousin was enough to boost my cool factor but he went beyond that. I remember standing with my lunch tray in the cafeteria, panic bubbling inside as my eyes searched for a seat in the crowded room. Then I’d hear my name and look around. There’d be Trip, grinning at me and motioning me to his already crowded table. He’d pull a chair up right beside him, defiantly squeezing one more chair at a table that was only supposed to seat six. He liked to see how many people he could get around one table and I’m pretty sure he holds the FCHS record. I wasn’t brave enough to sit by myself yet. Did he know that? And he laughed and included me and scratched his ear with his middle finger in my direction. Yeah, it was high school. And his friends followed his lead and I was allowed to join in for a while. To be a part of a laughing group of teenagers cutting up in the lunchroom.


He had my back. And now it’s time for me to have his back.


But I don’t know how.


All I have to give him from 300 miles away is words. So here are my words to you, Trippy.


Thank you. For sharing your candy cane at Christmas. For childhood memories of cheese dogs and soap operas at Mamaw’s and wiffle ball home runs over the old water plant. For games of horse and bike rides around the city park. For always keeping the “kids’ table” interesting (long live Ozzie and the Oysters!). For letting me wear your small fry football jersey to a high school game. For Ale-8s at drum line practice. For always making room for me at the table. For seeing me when I felt invisible. For always laughing that crazy laugh.


And this afternoon I lit some candles and said a prayer—to the God of hopeless causes, the Father of mercies, the God who sees and the God who heals, the God of brilliant lights and the God of all comfort. The one who is always near and who has our back.


If you get there before I do, save me a seat.


I love you, cuz.
PicMonkey Collage

edited to say: rest easy, Trippy Gooding, rest easy. 1974-2013

 

on being wrong June 14, 2013

Filed under: musings — Stephanie @ 9:48 pm
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It’s not the first time I’ve been wrong about high school. I carried a lot of baggage around those days. But one thing I’ve carried around for all these years became a fragment of my identity. A partial definition of me. It lay in my soul like a stone at the bottom of a quiet stream; always there though the disturbance from its entrance had long since ceased. I was so sure that my perception of events was the right one that I banished all thoughts of any other possibility. (Though I had no confidence in myself, I had every confidence that the rest of the world only wanted to hurt me.) And so I nursed that grievance; held it close and sheltered it from the light until it became not a small stone but a boulder that disrupted the flow of my heart.


But I was wrong.


So here I am as the paradigm of my universe shifts around me like so much sand. What I thought of as true isn’t true at all and history has somehow altered its reality. And this grudge I’ve held these 20 years dissolved into dust in a conversation. A friendship reinstated and at least a slice of high school redeemed. And how many other things have I been wrong about?


I was wrong. And I’m glad I was wrong.


And I’m glad that, for once, I found this little bit of hidden brave and raised that stone up into the light. An Ebenezer.


There’s grace in this, people.


© stephanie g pepper, 2013