Friday, May 31, 2013

Stretching First

Stretch your tent curtains wide...
A Missy story:

"I can do the splits!"

All of Missy's sisters and her brother just looked at Jacky, not exactly knowing how to respond to her statement.  It's not like they wanted to judge the honesty of Jacky's word, but she didn't quite fit the typical I-can-do-the-splits physique.  The children's faces must have told Jacky what they didn't dare say.

"I know what you're thinking."  Jacky burst out while she placed herself in the center of the room, "Just because I'm chunky does not mean I can't do the splits."

Chunky?  Missy thought her 4th grade teacher Mrs. Farlow was chunky.  She was sure that you could fit at least three Mrs. Farlows inside one Jacky.  Missy watched as Jacky stood as tall as her body would allow her to stand with her arms out, as if she was an eagle perched high on the edge of a mesa, waiting for the perfect moment of an upwind from the valley below so that it could jump and take flight.

Jacky had only been renting Missy's family's spare room for a few weeks.  Since they barely knew Jacky it was impossible to know if this was a joke or not.  Missy waited anticipating the moment Jacky would step out of her pose and put everyone at ease, saying that she was just a big joker.

From the doorway Missy's mom broke the silence, "Jacky, are you sure you can do the splits?"

Jacky cheerfully kept her stance, "Sure I can, I use to be a cheerleader."  She gave a smile and without much warning Jacky jumped as high as she could, threw her legs out to each side and BAM!  Her body slammed hard on the floor as her legs landed in opposite directions.  Jacky had indeed landed in the splits.

Missy couldn't decide if she should cheer or laugh.  Knowing that laughter was not really appropriate she joined the others in their cheers, sort of.  Her little brother Ralph's cheer seemed to be flavored with chuckles.  Her little sister Candy's cheers sounded more like a cross between congratulating and reprimanding.  Missy's older sister Sherry spoke up first, "That was really surprising Jacky..." her voice cracking just a bit as she tried her hardest to give an honest reaction.  Missy didn't want to make a mockery out of Jacky's efforts but it was becoming increasingly funny by the minute.

Jacky's eyes sort of turned inward and her forehead wrinkled up.   As she sat in the splits position her smile seemed to resemble the smile Candy use to have when she was a toddler still learning how to pose for a picture.  A "frowning smile" as her mom put it.  Jacky froze, her arms up high as if she had just stuck a landing as a gymnast in the Olympics, with this interesting not-so-pleasant but trying-to-be-pleasant disposition.

Was Jacky stuck?  Missy wondered how Jacky was going to get out of that position.  Her mom walked up to Jacky, "Are you all right?  Do you need help getting up?"  Now that would be a sight... Missy's mom, in her 8th month of pregnancy with her 5th child, helping Jacky, who could be 400 times heavier than the 10 pound limit Missy's mom was allowed to carry in her third trimester, stand up from a full splits position.  The situation seemed to get more funny as Ralph looked at Missy trying to hold back.  Soon all the children were trying not to laugh with their lips closed tight.  

Jacky forced a frowning smile at her audience and said, "Oh I'm fine! I guess I could have stretched first, I haven't really done that in years."  She rolled her body back slowly into a sitting position.

"Okay kids, it's time for bed."  Missy's mom hurried everyone off into the hallway and towards their bedrooms.  Missy glanced back as she saw Jacky lifting her legs up with her hands and guiding them together.

For the next month or so Jacky walked slowly with a slight limp.  When asked if she was okay Jacky insisted she was just fine and did not get hurt at all when she tail-dived into the splits.  Candy asked Jacky if she would do it again, Jacky cleverly changed the subject.

Jacky's body was far removed from what it had once been.  Missy thought about those splits and the spectacle Jacky had made of herself.  She thought about how hard it was not to laugh.  Missy wondered how that could have been avoided and finally concluded that being aware of the condition of her body was probably essential before Jacky's butt dive...even if the dive had been made before.  Missy was sure that if Jacky had stretched first she would have realized that her body was not prepared to do the splits.

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Isaiah 54:2 says, “Enlarge the place of your tent, Stretch your tent curtains wide, Do not hold back; Lengthen your cords, Strengthen your stakes.” 

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