Butterfly Sparks Designs

Monday, February 22, 2010

I Can Help.

When I was a little girl, I remember dancing in the living room with my Mom, on our rust-colored shag carpet, in front of our shiny chrome entertainment center and “hi-fi” turntable/8 track/AM-FM combo.

Yes, I’m officially old!

(I can neither officially confirm nor deny whether the carpet, chrome, or turnable are still in Mom and Dad’s home...they "might" be...) But, I digress…

Our FAVORITE song was called “I Can Help”. When it came on, if I was in another room playing with my Barbies or in my play kitchen (complete with an Easy Bake Oven, of course), I would run…not walk, but RUN…to meet Mom in the living room, with the ruffled hem of my favorite little yellow daisy-covered nightgown flying behind me. She would have dropped whatever she was doing as well and was faithfully there, waiting for me. This was OUR song!

Dancing with her to this song is one of my most precious memories with Mom. A close second is laughing hysterically while Mom sang her “high note”. But that’s another blog post for another day.

Anyway, the lyrics of this old classic go something like this…

”If you've got a problem, I don't care what it is.
If you need a hand, I can assure you this,
I can help, I've got two strong arms, I can help.
It would sure do me good to do you good,
Let me help…”

There was a part in the song that slowed down a little, and we would move from our freestyle "boogie" pace to a slower one, and I would stand on Mom’s feet. I was good at the freestyle portion of our dance, but when it came to coordinated movements, I was too little to understand or to make any sort of synchronized slow dance steps with her (and sadly, my dance skills have never really improved). So she would gently guide me to stand on her feet and would hold my hands to guide me through the moves. I was able to keep my balance and sway and step along with her to the sweetest part of the song. It was beautiful, and she held me while I wobbled, her experienced and grownup hands and feet guiding my tiny, inexperienced ones.

My sister Lorri would hold my hand as she taught me to write…cursive…at age five. Yep, age five! (She also taught me to read by the time I was four!) I skipped a grade because of Lorri…none of us are surprised that she grew into the most amazing teacher ever. Even at her very young age, she would sit behind me, holding my tiny hands and guiding me to shape the letters correctly. Her hands around mine kept them steady and allowed me to create words in script.

God blessed me with wonderful parents and sisters to guide my hands and feet as they taught me so many things. Because of their steadiness, my hands and feet remained limber and could carry out the task at hand. Their strength, sureness, and firmness allowed me freedom of movement to dance and to create.

And there is yet another One who places His hands over mine and holds them strongly, tenderly and steadily:

Genesis 49:24-25: His bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, because of your father's God, who helps you, because of the Almighty…”

What a beautiful picture of the omnipotent, sovereign, Almighty God, Mighty One of Jacob, and Rock of Israel.  The One who tenderly, sweetly, firmly and gently places His hands over ours, as we rest in his strength so that we too can freely learn, dance, create, and sometimes so that we can fight the enemy's archers shooting at us.

God, may I never lose my identity as your child, with my Abba Daddy’s strong hands and feet guiding mine, as I dance...

”If you've got a problem, I don't care what it is.
If you need a hand, I can assure you this,
I can help, I've got two strong arms, I can help.
It would sure do me good to do you good,
Let me help…”

Friday, February 19, 2010


My employer makes sure its employees feel appreciated. So the head honcho around here hosts a birthday lunch each month for those celebrating birthdays. The luncheon is held in our most plush conference room, and is catered beautifully. The grand poo-bah (a super nice guy) says lots of words of affirmation and appreciation for our hard work, we receive a gift, and we get to enjoy a 1.5 hour lunch break. Sweet deal. We also go around the very large conference room table and introduce ourselves (a huge company, not all of us have met).

As we went around the table yesterday, I got to meet Allen. Allen sat a few seats away from everyone. I’ve seen Allen before, in the cafeteria here. Always sitting alone, a few tables away from where others are gathered, but always smiling. When I walk into our cafeteria here, it’s like re-living a bad high school flashback, when you’re not sure about where to sit, with whom, and that feeling of awkwardness when you just don’t fit in anywhere specific. So seeing Allen sitting alone almost every day makes my heart sad.

But yesterday, I got to hear him utter some words for the first time. Allen works in receiving, and logs in all of our lab samples. We get thousands of them every day. He is one of a team who makes sure that those samples get coded to the right patients. If that doesn’t happen, people can die. Seriously.

Allen stutters. But the more he stutters, the more he smiles. His hands are also just slightly deformed. I never noticed that before. I’m guessing it’s some sort of palsy. He moves slowly and talks slowly, but when he speaks, is very articulate. And have I mentioned he’s always smiling? Always.

I had to fight everything within me not to start bawling right there at lunch yesterday. But he doesn’t need me to cry for him or his disability. His big, bright smile tells me that.

I have an out-of-state friend who is a quadriplegic. I’ve known him for years. His injury came when he was 20 years old, in a skiing accident. He’s in a chair now, and has been for the past 20 years. But he still skis and skydives and bungee jumps and gets up every morning and leads a more active life than I ever have, with all of my limbs working fully. I cry when I think about him sometimes. I cry when I get a gift from him in the mail, because I know what it took for him to get himself out of the house, to the store, and to the post office. But again, he doesn’t need my tears. He’s good.

So why do I feel a lump in my throat and an overwhelming urge to weep on their behalf? I tell myself it's because they must be lonely and sad. But if I get really honest about it, I don’t cry or feel sad for them as much as I cry and feel sad for me. Because honestly, sometimes (most of the time), I don’t have a spirit of overcoming challenges like they do, and I grieve that.

I saw Allen again in the cafeteria about 30 minutes ago when I went down to grab lunch to bring back to my desk. On my way out, I stopped and wished him a Happy Birthday again. He expanded his already bright smile. I couldn’t resist. I asked him, “Allen, why do you smile all the time? Don’t your cheeks get sore?” He laughed, with cracker crumbs flying out of his mouth, as he said, “Because Jesus loves me.”

Yes, He does. And Allen, you just preached the most beautiful sermon to me that I’ve ever heard.