Monday, February 28, 2011

High Heels and a High Calling

My last post explained that my husband and I recently hosted a huge event for my daughter's 15th  birthday. The celebration, called a Quinceañera, is a long-held custom in my husband's Hispanic culture.  It's a coming of age party, honoring the stage of a young girl's life in which she symbolically leaves behind her childhood and transitions into maturity.  One of the highlights of the reception is "The Changing of the Shoes."  In this time-honored tradition, her Father kneels down in front of her, slips off her flats and replaces them with high heels, symbolizing her transition into a young woman.  Then they have their first dance in her new high-heeled shoes.

I wrote the framework of the following poem when my daughter was two, and it still reflects her personality.  I never imagined this early, scrawling on notebook paper would call to me and evolve into a piece that would wistfully take me back to another life of Barbie high heels, bows and little blond pig-tails as she approached her Quinceañera.  As she grows, I hope her tenacity never wavers and her faith in God is able to move mountains.   I pray that her grasp of God's high calling in her life fuels her passion, fills her spirit with adventure and floods her soul with joy.

Worthy of Repeating:  Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did —except backwards and in high heels.

High Heels and a High Calling
My little girl—
She was sent straight from heaven 
in Barbie high heels—
the ones with the feathery foof.
I can hear her coming,
clack-clacking up and down stairs
and through mud puddles.

Pedaling a trike, she tackles hills
with the gusto of a Wall Street tycoon.
Pumping mightily, pig-tails flying,
she screeches through tears, "I can do it!"
That must be prophetic of her 
emerging personality—
Or maybe she's just two.

 She sings sweet songs in the night
to her bed full of babies 
who lie wonderously wide-eyed.
She doesn’t know it, but in her little heart
she holds the potential for the mightiest Power
on Earth or in Heaven—
a Mother’s love.
As a woman, she’ll pound the pavement 
of Denver or Dallas or Manhattan
with all the chaotic capitalism 
ingrained in her by her Daddy—
Trying out her wings in a great big world—
in her high-heeled shoes.
I know I’ll wish 
I could still hear her coming.
When my daughter encounters
the tempests of life,
 I pray she stands firm through the rain,
 raises her hands to Heaven,
and drinks in God’s power, 
for God tells of His love and His faithfulness
through the storms.
Right now God is forming her,
and He will help her understand
that her call as a woman is to nourish the Earth—
to give back deeply from her bounty,
touching everyone she sees
with a profound sense that, in her,
is Christ’s presence on Earth.
Cathy Cantu

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