The other night I was tucking Emmy into bed. She says to me the thing she says every single night, "Tell me a story." And so I began, "Once upon a time, there was a princess named Emery Noel---"
Normally at this point in my Mark Twainesque story telling, my child begins smiling from ear to ear and I get all tingly on the inside like it's Christmas morning and I'm 5 years old. Approval from my baby...yes...awwwwe! But on this particular night she screamed, "NO MAMA! Not THAT story!"
You can imagine my response: Shock! Horror!
"What story do you want me to tell you, Emmy?"
She responds cooly, "Tell me the story bout Keylockey."
"Keylockey?" (pronounced in perfect 3-year-old vernacular: "Key-Lock-Eeeeee")
"Yes, Mama! Keylockey! Now tell me that story."
I wanted to. I really did. But I didn't know that story. For the life of me, I could not figure out the story "bout Keylockey". If this situation was a Jack-Bauer-24-situation and the perpetrator had held a knife to my throat and told me to tell the story about Keylockey or else die, I would have said, "Please ask Jack Bauer to say nice things about me at my funeral." It was dire straights, people.
And so the inevitable back-and-forth began between me and my tired baby girl.
"Do you mean the story about Queen Esther?"
"Emmy, is that a story you want me to make up?"
"Baby, I don't remember that story."
Emery takes my face into her tiny hands, puts our faces nose-to-nose and says, "Mama, it's like this: KEY-LOCK-EEEEEEE!"
At this point I start laughing. What else could I do? She was so precious in this moment. Pronouncing it perfectly and drawn out in her southern little voice so that her slower-than-usual Mama could maybe understand.
But I didn't understand.
And Emery was frustrated. FRU-STRA-TED!!!
I continued laughing, which escalated Emery's frustration into a meltdown, not my intention, but I couldn't help wanting to bottle this moment up and save it forever.
And then it hit me, "Are you talking about the story I told you a couple nights ago?"
The fit-throwing ceased. She looked at me with hope in her eyes, "Yes? What is that story, Mama?"
"The story about Goldilocks?"
"Yeeeessssssss!" She squealed with excitement, "KEYLOCKEY".
We laughed and cheered for ourselves. And then I did the only thing I could do, I told her the story bout Keylockey.
As I laid in bed that night and for many nights since then, I've thought about how in life we can feel so misunderstood. I'll be 35 this month and there are still times when I want to take life by the face, put it nose to nose with mine and scream, "KEYLOCKEY!" or in another translation, "Does anyone understand me? Hear me? See me? Know what I mean even if I don't know what I mean?"
And every time God answers me, "I'm right here. Lean in. Lay down. Relax. I'm telling My story and you are in it! I understand you because I made you and I love you. Open My Word. I will tell you great things that you don't know. And look around, child, I have put people around you to walk with you, to teach you, to help you, to love you."
There's so much I don't know, but I want to know. I want to be open. I want to grow.
And I want people on the journey with me as they figure it out also. Some days/nights we cry out like Emmy did, just wanting to be heard and understood. That's why having a solid "tribe" around us is so important. When I cry out to my people, my tribe, I need them to be ready to impart truth, wisdom, laughter, tears, or even a butt-kicking, if I need it (I need it A LOT). God puts those people in our lives to help us navigate the areas we deem grey but others see as blue or pink or gold. We need a tribe to help us translate and figure out the "Keylockey" moments.
I hope you are aware of your tribe. Pray for God to solidify that tribe in your life. And pray for God to begin shaping your spouse's and children's tribes with hilarious, loving, do-gooding, truth-telling, Jesus followers.
Cuz we all need for someone to translate our Keylockey (and our Crazy).
PS - Thanks for letting me indulge a "24" reference. It's my summer fling; my insufferable indulgence that I'm sure to reference in life b/c if anything is real it's the 24-hour-spans of time in the life of CTU Special Agent, Jack Bauer.