Letting Go of What Holds Tight

by | Oct 19, 2011 | Uncategorized

A few months into her fifteenth year, she boards a Greyhound bus for the first time.  Carries an oversized stuffed brown bear and small suitcase up the steps, down the narrow aisle.  Eyes ping pong back to front, side to side, assessing open seats without making contact with strangers. Looks out the window at the crowd below, the ones that kiss each other, hug goodbye. She sits alone in her thoughts.  About what she leaves behind and the unknown of what lies ahead.

The bear, a gift from friends at her going away party the night before, it sits in the aisle seat next to her like a bodyguard from heaven, warding off the odd and strange. Peculiar how it makes her feel safe sitting there. 

But really, she has been talking to masses of stuffed animals as long as she can remember.  They listen to her prayers in the dark night; give comfort when the pain and loneliness get to be too much.   Offer their furry ears to wipe tears that sting hot on the face.

On this day, pressed up against cold glass, she holds herself tight in fear. Misses her friends, the  surrogate family members. Worries if she will have friends at the new school.  Thinks about her cheerleading uniform, the white bedroom furniture that she leaves at her friend’s house, the one she lives with for months after her mother decides to move away.

Wishes she could stay behind with friends to finish high school.  Because she loves her mother, just not what the alcohol does . . to both of them.

This bus takes her to a city, in another state.  To the home of a beloved aunt that said, “she can live with me.”  And all this newness, it feels like sitting in a prison cell wrapped tight in rope and hopeful all at the same time.

Because she doesn’t know how to move, live free but she trusts in God.  He is all she has. Knows this bus travels to those foreign places called love and security, but there is no framework for this kind of change. No one holding her hand, explaining how this works, telling her it’s going to be okay.

Years later, she marries a man who loves the way she dreams of and she becomes the kind of parent she wishes she had herself.  And when she experiences something new, change with no framework, her back tenses and she can’t move.

Because the body remembers, what the mind forgets.

And this is healing grace, this revelation.  Because now, when the new comes and the body remembers it is like a sacred echo in an evergreen canyon reminding, “You don’t have to be afraid because I am with you.  I was there on the bus, I am there with you now.”

Linking with Ann and Emily today:





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  1. Jill

    Thank-you for this post.
    I have had to leave familiar ways while still living in the same place.
    It has wrought unexpected complications – unexpected to me, but not to HIM.
    This journey is huge, scary, joyful, a blessing, hard, so hard, healing, it is where HE wants me to be and go.
    Today “You don’t have to be afraid because I am with you. ” is a comfort, a reminder.
    Blessings to you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Jill, I moved around a lot as a child which was hard but now I look back and see how it molded me to be the person I am today. Thanks for leaving a comment today!

  2. brian miller

    nice…really well written and great marriage between your words and pics…i feel for her…many of the kids i counsel have been passed around…moved around…the reaction is familiar and the realization all the sweeter…i hope to pass that to them as well…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks for your encouraging words Brian. The girl is actually me!

  3. roseann elliott

    Just a beautiful…painful story of God faithful love…thanks for sharing…so glad for healing…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      A bit hard to write when it is your own story but all is grace. Thanks for stopping by Roseann!

  4. Alyssa Santos

    thank you for the precious gifting of taking us “there” to that place that has been carefully held in your own heart for so long. Whatever our personal experiences, we can all benefit from knowing the girl on the greyhound bus. Very Blessed.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      What a kind sentiment, “we can all benefit from knowing the girl on the greyhound bus.” Thank you! Your words straight from God’s heart to me today. So glad you visited.

  5. Cimarron

    Was brought to tears by this post. Thanks for your honesty. I’m in a huge time of change and so needed the reminder that He is with me.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Cimarron, praying comfort and grace for this season of transition. Rejoicing that you felt His presence in the words today. Thanks for leaving your thoughts here. It means so much to me.

  6. happygirl

    This is a story of redemption and success. Success in life and rising above circumstances. Thank you. It gives us all hope.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      My first blog was called surpassing circumstances which evolved into redemptions beauty. You summed it all up in your comment and thanks for seeing it, then rejoicing with me! Your words encourage me. Thanks so much for stopping by tonight.

  7. Paula

    Shelly, Once again I am shedding a tear for that little angel on the Greyhound bus that came to share my life in such a special way. You were the greatest blessing God could ever bestow on me and I shall be eternally grateful to have had that time with you. We truly have been shown grace. Love you and though the story has saddness we understand that you would not be the strong, graceful woman you are today without “having been where you’ve been.”

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Love you too Paula. You saved me from the madness. Didn’t even know how much I needed saving until I experienced what normal was with you . And yes, though it was hard at the time, those difficulties make me who I am today and I am thankful. Thanks for reading and sharing your comment.

  8. Lynda Fleming

    Shelly, your proud aunt Paula forwarded this to me. it is lovely. having heard over the years your story from Paula, I am amazed again at God’s grace and His magnificent plans. He never takes His eyes off of us and you truly display His redemption beauty. God bless. Lynda Fleming, Grand Lake, Ok.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Lynda, so good to hear from you. Yes, He is faithful. With us every step of the journey. Thank you so much for your kind words in the commen box. So glad you visited! Come back!

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