I was on my way to sleep last night, leaning over the side of my bed to turn off the floor lamp that I use for late night reading, when I noticed that a small picture frame on the opposite table was lying face down. My room isn’t very big, and I didn’t remember putting it that way. It’s just a small yellow frame that’s made out of plastic, but it means so much to me. It has a picture of my sister Lea inside of it, a keepsake from a day at the fair when we won a Blues Clues prize. We are so young in this picture.
I don’t know why, but when I went to lift the frame I got this feeling– like, terror came over me. I can’t explain it, not in text and not even in words if I were standing in front of you, but I just knew something was wrong. Just knew. I started throwing the comforter and the pillows in my bed around, looking for my phone to call her. She wouldn’t have answered. She’s in college and it was a Wednesday night and only 11 or so her time. So I knew she wouldn’t answer. She’s probably at a party. And then without actually knowing, I knew she was at a club party. No, not a club party. She’s at a…she’s at a house party– a house or a place she normally wouldn’t go to. But she’s with people she knows. They all need to leave. Now.
Lea. Phone. Something bad. Phone! Really bad. Where is the ph– HERE IT IS!
So I start texting her. And then I bbm her on my Blackberry. I realize that Blackberry phones have been on the market for years, and that most people are experts at using the bbm instant messaging, however I’m not. It took me a minute or two, but I finally sent both messages. All it said was:
“I just had an overwhelming feeling to pray for you. Go home and go to bed right now! I love you.”
I felt such a peace come over me after I sent it. I prayed, and then I slept so well I was shocked to see the sun when I opened my eyes. To be honest, I had also completely forgotten about what had happened the night before. Until I picked up my phone again and saw a text message from my sister telling me that my other sister Jennifer texted her the exact same thing at the exact same time. I guess it only takes two identical text messages to convince precious Lea. The little lamb left the party on the spot, and dragged her friends out with her. It makes me smile, and does something inside of me that makes me want to cry. I didn’t even know Jennifer prayed.
Nobody– NOT NOBODY– partied harder or more dangerously than I did in college. Well, perhaps my boyfriend, but frankly that’s why we’re together now, both of us talking excitedly about how far God has brought us. So I know what it’s like to feel young and feel invincible. I hope the combination of that feeling never leaves her. I just pray it develops into wisdom and maturity and a coolness that can’t be replicated over time. Like it did with me.
I sent her another long text today telling her the same things I wrote to her in a birthday card that I mailed this summer. It’s ok to party. Jesus partied, y’know, sort of. Jesus had a posse. Surround yourself with people who have your back no matter what, people who believe in you and want the best for you. Be the light in the darkness. Have faith in God. Be the change you want to see in other people. Listen to that small Voice inside of you. And don’t ever, ever eat Taco Bell after 2am. Some things just aren’t a good idea.
Written to: Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves”, from Sister Act “Joyful Joyful”, and from the Color Purple “Sister/God Is Trying to Tell You Something”– I love this movie scene. We’ve all been Shug Avery at some point.