Monday, April 4, 2011

Bank Missions (a Cami tale)

As hard as life can be with a child with hidden disabilities, I find Jesus smack dab in the middle of our days. I think this hyper-awareness of the holy in the everyday comes because I am paying more attention, watching my daughter more closely, trying to read her signals and help her negotiate transitions, especially in public. Time after time, God shows up in my observations, teaching me more about my deep heart than I ever teach Cami about successful public transitions. How blessed I am.

It’s Thursday, and I have some business at the bank. Cami and I head inside, and she is carrying her stuffed green NeoPet. I need to talk to one of the helpful bankers (yes–sarcasm present), which means Cami has to wait with me.

Cami can’t sit still. She sits in the chair. She stands up and leans over the desk. She climbs in the chair to sit on her knees and look over the partition into the workspace next to it. She jumps on the ground. All this squirming while I’m trying to convince the nice bank lady that they’ve erroneously charged me a service fee.

I finish my conversation (I don’t get the refund), and I still need to make a deposit at the teller window. The central table doesn’t have a pen, so I walk to an empty teller window that has one of those pens-on-a-chain. I start filling out my deposit slip. Cami’s dancing and twirling around behind me.

Now, get the picture here: there are no customers in the bank–except for us. It’s right after lunch, and the bank is quiet. No customers, but four bank employees that I can see. None of them are Caucasian. None of them look like Cami and me. All of them have dark skin of some kind. The teller I’m dealing with has a thick Arab accent. I’ve just fought a losing battle of words with a young lady with a Hispanic accent.

I finish filling out my slip. “Cami, come with me.”

As I walk to the end teller’s window, I hear Cami start talking. I can tell when she’s talking to someone new, or talking about something that really impresses her, because she begins every sentence with “You know what?” I hear, “Ma’am? Ma’am? You know what?”

I look around, and Cami’s standing at the middle teller window. I hadn’t seen the lady behind the glass–I’d only seen the teller at the end as he motioned to me. But Cami saw her. And she wants to tell her something.

“You know what? My NeoPet’s name is Kacheek. I think he’s some sort of rabbit.”

The nice teller lady responds kindly, something like, “Oh, isn’t that nice?” She has a foreign accent as well.

Cami says, “And you know what else? On Friday, Jesus died on the cross. They buried Him in the tomb, and on the first Easter Sunday morning,” and her one free hand is emphasizing her every point. The room is still—no air conditioning rumble, no traffic noises from outside, no one talking. The room and everyone in it is listening to Cami. She takes a deep breath.

“Well, three womans went to the grave to see Jesus’s body, and guess what?”

The lady teller says, “What?”

Cami says, “The tomb. . .” she draws out the pause between each word, “was. . .EMPTY!” And her eyes pop open wide as her voice rises in timbre and volume. “There was nobody there! ‘Cause you know what?”

By this time, I realize what is happening. My daughter the evangelist, the missionary-hearted gift of a child I’ve been given, is sharing the Gospel. Her love for Jesus is spilling out, bumping into all these lives that are gathered in the bank. I start praying silently for the souls that are listening– confession for my prejudiced assumptions, thanksgiving for her, amazement at her boldness and zeal, remembrance that His word always accomplishes what it was sent out to do, all present there in that one instant in time.

I stand by while my child shares her faith. I listen while she proclaims the truth, while she succinctly states the reality of what really matters in life.

“Jesus didn’t stay dead. He’s alive!! And that’s why we celebrate Easter.” She smiles that little Cami smile, and she walks over to stand by me, hugging her NeoPet with one arm, and my leg with the other.

I turn to the teller who looks back at me from behind the glass where I’m standing, and I don’t know what to say next. I hear, “You’re really smart little girl,” and murmuring from behind the glass where the lady teller and the bank manager are talking about what just happened. I finish my stuff, and I grab Cami’s hand. As we leave, she’s saying, “Bye! See you next time!” And everyone’s waving to her and smiling, calling out pleasantries and all that nice stuff you do when a ray of sunlight has split the darkness around you.

It’s like Yahweh peeled back the veil of temporal time and gave me a glimpse of eternity. In that one moment, I saw Jesus’s love and passion for a lost, hurting, dying world. That passion poured out of my 5-year-old daughter. She didn’t tell anyone they were going to hell if they didn’t worship like she does. She didn’t tell anyone that only Americans have the favor of God resting on their country. She didn’t say, “Get right or get left.”

She said, “Jesus is alive!”

I think about that quote from Columbine’s Cassie Barnall: “Do I live like someone who’s been raised from the dead?”

Cami does.

Jesus, thank You that You didn’t stay dead, that You have defeated sin and death, and set us free with Your life. Every day, in every minute, I want to live like You are alive. Please help me.

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