I Don’t Want FRA!
By Janet Morris Grimes -
She walked her daughter gingerly into the school for her first day of Kindergarten. Other students dwarfed the tiny girl, and her new school uniform was bigger than she was. Her eyes widened as she took in all that surrounded her. Brightly colored letters splashed across the walls, more intimidating than welcoming, as they announced things she could not yet understand.
The teacher knelt to meet her face to face. She seemed friendly enough, but the girl buried herself into the legs of her mother. She attempted to climb up her mother. To squeeze tighter. To somehow regain the life that she felt slipping from her fingers.
How had she gotten here? Just yesterday, her days were filled with playtime with her baby sister, splashing in the backyard pool, or riding her bicycle. Popsicles dripping down her chin after lunch, staying up late and sleeping as late as possible. Just yesterday, her home was the center of her universe.
Each day, the same scene played itself out. Tears, sobs, and unanswered questions. Why did it all have to change? What happened to the way things used to be?
Every day, as she put on her uniform, she cried all the way to school, saying over and over again. “I don’t want FRA! I don’t want FRA!”
A dear friend shared this story with me about her daughter’s first week of Kindergarten. It took them most of the week to figure out what she was saying. And why.
FRA, as it turned out, stood for Franklin Road Academy, the name of the private school where she attended. Those initials were on the sign in the front, on the uniform shirt that she wore each day, and on the shirts of her classmates.
She didn’t even know what to call it. Her unexpected surroundings. And though she couldn’t read, she was smart enough to know what those letters said. And to know that she wanted no part of it. Whatever FRA stood for, she wanted out.
I fully understand how she feels. There are many times when my surroundings were changed without notice. My life shifted to a completely new direction, without my permission.
There are many days I feel like screaming, “I don’t want FRA!” Whatever this is, even if I don’t know what to call it, I want no part of it. I want everything to go back to the way it used to be.
The good news is that Jesus is already there, in the midst of our FRA’s. He makes a way for us. He is never surprised by our circumstances. When we face them, and it’s all that we can do to cling to him and cry, he is there.
This beautiful girl went on to adore her Kindergarten experience. As a matter of fact, she thrived.
Jesus wants the same for us. And He knows us well enough to know that it may be our unpleasant and unexpected circumstances that cause us to reach out to Him.
“You hem me in, behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me” (Psalm 139:5 NIV).