To Be Filled

My sister, Mayra, and I are the oldest grandchildren on my mom's side of the family (the Velasquez side). Mayra is 22 and I am 21.  Then, there is a 6 year gap and its Cristina, Danny, and Manny-- all of which are 15 years old. (There are many more grandchildren but all who are younger that 15 and they are all closer in age)


Until now, this age gap was filled with apathy. A vacuum of blahhh. It meant, boring Velasquez family parties. It meant, I was closer in age to my uncles and aunts than my cousins.

Still, there was a delicate line there. We didn't quite belong at the kids table (although we always chose it), but at the same time we could not find our place with the adults. For about 11 years, I was waiting to be considered fully one or the other, a crossover of some sort.

In the back of my mind, i thought that crossover would occur in conjunction with a celebration.

This is what i mean. I thought it come in the form of a wedding or a baby shower; a wedding for me, or a baby shower for one of my little cousins. That way, i'd either be able to relate with the married adults or one of my cousins would move up to the adult table by having a child and by default bring me along.

This weekend Manny (my brother) and Cristina (my cousin) came down to visit my sister and i.
Their train was late, so i had some spare time. i located the nearest bathroom and walked in. As i washed my hande, looked in the mirror and like feet landing on a cold floor, it hit me.


The crossover had already occurred. 

It occurred without a warning, without an announcement, without a ceremony, and without bothering to let me know.

I took a step back and studied myself in the mirror. Although this was not a near death experience, my life flashed before me. All the following questions marquee-ed across my brain.

How did i get here? What does this mean for me? What does this mean for them? Why did i not see this coming? Why didn't anyone tell me? What in world is going on?

Not only did I see myself as older in the mirror, I think my face reflects it. I dont have wrinkles or age spots, but the signs of age are deeper than that. Signs of age are marked on our minds, on our hearts, in our actions, and in our eyes. 

Then, i dared to look age in the eye, and it was magnificent

This is what i saw.

I saw mistakes and stubbornness, but i also saw grace and mercy from the Lord. I saw familiarity with brokeness, but i also saw the embrace of the Father. I saw caution for fear of failure, but i also saw the newness that our Savior gives to His redeemed. I saw the weariness and the burdens of life, but i also saw Jesus pleaing, "come, come unto me all who are weary and i will give you rest. I AM your rest"* 

I saw deeper urgency to know the Father because as time spends it's ticks and its tocks, the finish line is closer and the radiant face of the Lord awaits. I saw sacrifice, a recurrent laying down of self and a picking up of a cross**. 

I saw a joy; an undeniable, inexplainable joy. 

And i saw, beautiful calloused hands; hands of work. Hands that have toiled and clawed and grasped and reached only to cling unto the Redeemer, Friend, Judge, Comforter, Savior King.

I saw a sparkle in the iris of my eye that I hadn't taken the time to notice or appreciate ever before.

Then I knew. I knew the crossover wasn't ushered in by a wedding or a baby, but it came with a commitment, and a new birth-- my own. The bridging took place when the Lord made me new and when I declared that i am NOT my own, but that i am His.  

So, I stood there examining myself in the mirror seeing what the Lord allowed me to see and i sensed the weekend would be filled with those kinds of visions.

I sit here now, wearing what i've worn all weekend and all through high school for that matter, meditating on the Lord and knowing that although i am not married, nor a mother...i am still mature. And, I am blessed to know the void in the Velasquez family, only because the Lord fills it so wondrously.

He fills it and He utilizes it so extraordinarily. Those six years that separate me and Manny/Cristy, He uses it for learning. He allows me to minister unto them, and uses them to show me more of Him. I see more of Him because six years ago i was there, but i was there alone.

My family, my birth order, my age was all divinely planned so that i Yessenia Carrera Velasquez could see the Lord in it.

And, i do. really do.



*Matthew 11:28, Hebrews 4:3
**Mark 8:34

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