Monday, March 31, 2008

Chicken Pox

Wow! Has it really been four months since i wrote?

Well, i guess that means i should have had plenty of time to give up another good story.... let's see ......

Oh yes, i know.......the chicken pox. I'll tell you about the chicken pox and how something so simple affected me for years:

I think it was shortly after Christmas, in the 5th grade, when we left Seattle and Mormor and Morfar and moved to Round Rock, Texas. Round Rock is pretty close to Austin. This move was a pretty big transition for me, and i don't remember making friends very easily.

We lived in a rental home on a little circle drive in some subdivision in Round Rock, and i went to Brushy Creek Elementary School. Jessica, who was 2 years younger that i, lived next door, and we were pretty good friends despite our age difference.

About two weeks before Spring Break, i started getting little spots on my side. At first, my parents thought that Jessica's dog was giving me fleas, but as it turned out i had the chicken pox. When i was much younger, my mother had tried and tried to get me to catch the pox, by exposing me to infected friends and so forth, and it had never worked. But now that i was ten, it worked without trying. And i got it BAD! I remember counting about 200 spots before i just gave up on counting and got good and miserable. I was out of school for two whole weeks, and i think i was still sick for party of spring break. After spring break, i went back to school, and i suddenly had a very close bosom buddy, named Sherry.

Sherry told me immediately that she wanted to be my friend because she was hoping that i was still contagious and that she could catch the pox and be out of school for 2 weeks like i had been. I wasn't too picky, and i wasn't swimming in friends, so i didn't care why she wanted to be my friend; i just wanted some friends, wherever they came from....

Sherry and i outlasted any possibility of the spread of my chicken pox, and we really did become pretty good friends. We played at each others' houses, we played together at school, and being friends with Sherry gave me quite a few other friends, which was a very nice predicament.

I don't remember exactly how long we were friends, but at some point Sherry grew tired of me. And one day she told me that she didn't want to be my friend anymore because - well, i don't remember her words very well, but Sherry had come to feel that i hung too close.

And with that conversation, her friendship, camradery, and the passel of additional friends that came with her, ended just as suddenly as they had ensued. The casual, tolerant acquaintances that i had had before my friendship with Sherry boycotted my friendship along with her, and i found myself completely, utterly, friendless - at least when i was at school.

At some point after i was publicly ostracized by the fifth grade, i discovered, while playing with my barbies, that i had my Peaches & Cream Barbie's dress, but not her. And then i realized the Sherry had my Peaches & Cream Barbie. I remember asking for it back - and maybe even my parents tried to get it back from me (i'm not sure), but i never got it back. It's funny. The doll is the part that really made me mad.

I told you that i would tell you how the chicken pox affected me for years to come. Let's be clear: i allowed it to affect me. Yes, i believe ten year-olds are responsible for their choices too. I never really realized how much it had affected me until i was in college. One night i was at a campus church service, and the preaching and ministry was about forgiveness. That night, 8 or 10 years after the barbie theft, i realized that i had been carrying a grudge against Sherry all those years. I was still mad about a doll! I forgave her that night. As i review my 5th grade experiences now, i realize how insecure and scared Sherry must've been that she would treat someone that way - and that she would have friends only for what she could gain from them.

The other thing about that year that affected me for years is something i have just recently come to recognize: many of my friendships have been half-hearted because i was unwilling to risk the rejection of being "too clingy." It's a hard thing to risk the vulnerability required to develop a close friendship. Even with my closest friendships, i hold a great deal back. But now that i see it, i'm not staying in that place. And the Lord is gracious to guide me step by step and friend by friend. He has provided wonderful, kind, and faithful friends for me. I am truly grateful for each one.

Oh yeah, one more thing: just as i was getting over the chicken pox, my mom read an article about a possible inoculation against chicken pox. I was so mad! Why couldn't they have done that sooner? =)

Over and out

1 comment:

  1. I had similar rejection experiences in 2nd grade... set up patterns I didn't deal with till I was 19. Sheesh! Childhood is important!

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