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Everything

Filtering by Category: Tiffany Graham

The Tree

Tiffany Graham

by Tiffany Graham

There is a tree beside the church I grew up attending. It grows in the quiet space between buildings.

Up in that tree was where I first found I could be invisible.

Not just hidden in a small dark place, but out in the open, vulnerable and exposed, free and unseen.

At the age of eight, I hadn’t experienced a lot of that in my life. I didn’t know what to think of it. I didn’t trust it, so I tried a few experiments. I made faces. I waved. I dropped leaves, sticks, balls of moss upon people as they passed. I dangled my legs and arms from the lowest branches, nearly brushing the tops of heads with my toes as my legs swung from side to side. When none of that worked, I cried. Fat, noisy, ugly tears that left my eyes swollen and my face red.

Nobody looked up. Nobody saw. Even when crowds moved through, conversing and laughing and arguing, nobody ever thought to look up as they passed under my tree. I could have touched them, they were so close. It was strange to me. Like watching a world where I did not exist. I remember when I first started thinking that way. While in this place, the world existed without me.

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In That Moment

Tiffany Graham

by Tiffany Graham

Although not everybody agreed with the music, or the theology, or even the lights, we gathered around each other, some pressed tight, fingers gripping shoulders, allowing emotions to trample past the limits of our simple barriers and bodies we think separate us. It may not have been perfect, and it may not have been correct. In fact, I am certain it was all wrong. But still, we gathered, and we passed our hurt in front of eyes that had never seen it and we laid our rusted souls out in exchange for the chance to feel the passing of another. It was there that we saw the hurting and the imperfections of those we knew. Some of the hurt was known; some was a surprise. Some of the imperfections were well-versed like a hymn sung a few times too many each morning.

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Ignorant Eyes

Tiffany Graham

by Tiffany Graham

There is so much I don’t know.

I don’t know what justice is. Or how it should look in my culture. Or where to start.

I was walking by a building in another country. I heard the screams of a child. I sensed panic, fear, pain. A man was yelling words I somehow knew, in a language I didn’t understand. There was a muffled thud. The screaming stopped. I stood there, still listening, as people walked by me on the street. I knew they heard it, too, but nobody stopped. After a few more moments of waiting, I walked away.   

Four days later, home again, the screams echoed in my memory. They were so sharp. I hadn’t told anyone. How could I describe it? I didn’t say anything.

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I Need You

Tiffany Graham

by Tiffany Graham

I need you because, in spite of everything, God isn’t enough.

During a semester of student teaching, my whole life changed. And the time I used to have as a student was suddenly gone. I wasn’t getting enough sleep. I didn’t have control of my schedule. And I couldn’t find the time for people that I used to take for granted.

It was hard. I didn’t see my friends at all when I stuck to my daily routine, my roommates were rarely to never in the room when I was both home and awake, and my teachers had all gone home by the time I got back to campus every day. What had been a life filled to bursting with people who love me, turned into a life filled with professional relationships, teacher-student confidentiality, and hallway gossip. I moved further from the center of the church. I could feel the difference.

I was lonely. I was also busy. When friends asked about getting together, I’d hedge. Because I had to calculate how much sleep I was willing to give up in order to see them. I’d hedge. Because I was already so tired.

I’d talk to God in between things – down time in the classroom, while driving to and from school – and it was good. God’s good. I like talking to God. But it wasn’t enough.

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