The assignments we had to choose from for today were:
- Dialogue with a person who would support you or once did support you? How did it strengthen your connection? Now think of a time you helped someone. How did it strengthen your connection?
- Think of your life today and what you might need help with at work, socially, a personal project, a child, your spiritual development. Now list those who might help you and what you might ask them to do.
I guess there are all kinds of ways of dialoguing with people. for me, one way is through poetry. I have so many memories of times when I have felt supported and of times when I have supported others. The first person that came to my mind was Mikey. I have no idea where you are right now, but I have never forgotten you. It was 1970 something and my high school sweetheart gave me this ring as an expression of her love and commitment to me. She tragically died in 1975, at the age of 19. More than a decade later, I had very few things in my life that reminded me of our relationship, but I had this ring. It wasn’t anything fancy. It was this cheap little ring with an open heart, but I wore it all the time. That was until this one particular day in 1980 something. I can’t remember the exact year or dates, but what I do remember is this young five-year-old boy. His name was Mikey. What I remember about Mikey was his first day at the summer day camp. It was his first time to be separated from his mom. He was terrified and scared and nothing seemed to keep him from crying. I finally got him to play an emotion game with me. I would get him to make a sad face, an angry face, a happy face, a scared face, and a monster face. The monster face really got him. He made this monster face and then cracked up laughing. Something about that monster face just made him smile. From that point on, Mikey and I were best friends. He would tell the other campers that he was my assistant.
So here we were a few weeks later and we were at this lake with the kids and Mikey was scared again. He had never been in a man made lake before and he was terrified. So we sat and talked and then we played our special game again. Something about making that monster face gave him the strength and the courage to trust going in the water with me. So into the water we went.
I am not quite sure how, but in the midst of playing with him in the water, my ring fell off and I could not find it. I kept feeling around for it, trying to act as if all was ok. However, obviously I was not faking it as well as I thought I was, because Mikey asked me why I was crying. All of a sudden, I found myself feeling the grief from years before. Nothing seemed to be able to hold back the tears, then there was the voice of this precious little five year Mikey saying to me, it’s ok – make a sad face, make a happy face, make an angry face. Then came the words that made it ok. Make a monster face.
As I made this monster face with him, I came to realize I had lost a ring, but what I had just experienced was priceless. I had experienced love. I had received this amazing gift of love from someone who had come to know me so well that he knew how to reach in and touch my heart in a way that nobody else could.
Decades later, his innocent grace still lived in my heart and inspired me to write a poem entitled and the little boy said.
And The Little Boy Said
Make a monster face, the little boy said
As he saw the tears rolling gently down my face.
Make a silly face, the little boy said
And my heart was soothed by his innocent grace
Make a happy face, the little boy said
As he kissed my cheek, my heart gave way
He played the game, I had played with him
When being five was much too hard and tears cascaded down his face.
I sit here now, with tears on my face
And the little boy says, make a monster face.
But the tears are stored up
Deep and wide for a love that's lost and wants to hide
And the little boy said, make a silly face.
The games we played don't seem to work
The tears still flow like a trickling brook
Down the countryside of my face
And the little boy said,
Make a happy face
Copyright ©2002 Sharon Jacobson
My summer with Mikey was one of those moments that will live with me forever. It was one of those teachable moments about unconditional love, innocent grace, mercy, and compassion. It was one of those memories that I hold near and dear to my heart about the connections we develop when we support others and humble ourselves and allow others to support us.