I don’t have red hair and freckles, but growing up, I believed that Anne of Green Gables and I understood each other. She was always getting into scrapes, and so was I. My sisters alternately called me Calamity Jane and Charlie Brown.
If you have visited my blog for any length of time you know by now that I use Bible verses a lot in application to our lives. I know that some of you are not “religious”, and I appreciate you for being willing to read my posts anyway. My faith in Christ, my dependence on the Bible colors everything I see and do.
So when I was a young girl, there was one particular Scripture that was my plea, given my tendency for catastrophe:
(Often muttered feverishly in my best Anne voice), “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me… in the shadow of thy wings will I take my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.”
As I got older, the mishaps all but disappeared. I was on my way, the rough edges smoothed. In fact, I found that I was rather poised, refined, and dignified. All my mama’s hard work and prayers had paid off. I was Green Gables no longer; I was Avonlea.
God has quite a sense of humor, though, because then He sent me Rhema.
The day Psalm 57:1 came back into my life was the day I had to take Rhema and Hope down to the DMR (Department of Mental Retardation) office. Although I had already completed oodles of paperwork, I was told that I would need to bring Rhema into the office and answer more questions. I knew it was going to be interesting.
I met with a woman we’ll call… Patience. I entered her nice, neat office with Rhema and Hope in tow. Hope was content to sit in the stroller while Patience and I sat at a round table. Rhema sat on a couch in the office with a coloring book.
One minute into the interview, Rhema climbed onto the back of the couch and began eating plastic grapes off the fake cornucopia arrangement on the wall. She would NEVER eat a real grape, but plastic ones are all the rage.
She clawed at the wall decoration as I pulled her down. A myriad of plastic grapes rolled onto the floor.
“It’s o.k., it’s o.k….” said Patience. “You know, I have a puzzle that she might like.”
It was an old wooden puzzle, and Rhema was instantly interested.
We continued the interview, and I signed paperwork as fast as I could. Minutes later, Rhema began to wail, frustrated with something. Perhaps she was hungry for more plastic fruit? I jumped up and walked over to the couch.
Rhema picked up the puzzle board and flung it. She did not realize I was right in front of her and the puzzle board hit me across the bridge of my nose, right between my eyes.
I saw stars. And the pain quickly turned into a headache. I gingerly touched my head. There was blood.
Must. Keep. My. Cool.
I blindly reached down into the back of the stroller and grabbed a tissue for my cut. Time to pull out the big guns, I thought as I pulled out the portable DVD player with a Dora video …aka “last resort.”
I quickly turned on the DVD player, handed Rhema some raisins and a juice box and we were good to go.
Patience and I continued the interview.
Then Rhema spilled her juice in her lap.
Instantly she stood and removed her pants, underwear, socks and shoes.
I tried to put her pants on. She took them off. I put them on. She took them off. I tried to reason with her. There was no way, absolutely no way she was putting slightly wet pants on. Dumb me did not have spare clothes for her. I ALWAYS have spare clothes, but of course not on the day I actually need them.
At this point, Hope began wailing because she could not hear Dora because Rhema was tantrumming… in the buff.
That’s when it started. I heard someone muttering feverishly, “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me… in the shadow of thy wings will I take my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” Anne, is that you? Then I realized it was me.
“It… It’s o.k., It’s o.k.” Patience’s words snapped me out of it.
I looked at her. Huh?
“It’s o.k.,” she said.
So I went back to the table to complete the paperwork for eligibility into the Autism Division of DMR.
I glanced over. There stood Rhema, eyes fixed on the Dora video, bare bottom and all. Yes, there she stood, daughter of The Queen Of Couth, with nothing but a T-shirt on, in a (once) nice and neat office. A wall ornament hanging by a thread, spilled juice, and plastic grapes and puzzle pieces scattered over the floor. In a matter of minutes.
And I? I had a huge bloody welt between my eyebrows.
“So do we qualify?” I joked.
I am quite certain that Patience never forgot us. And I know, that when she closes her eyes, she sees Rhema’s bare bottom… as it is forever seared in her memory.