Kathyrn Graves

Out from Under the Overhead Cart

My friend, Carolyn, asked me if I was doing any writing. She’d been asking for months, and aways the answer was the same.

“Not yet.”

Although I felt God’s call on my life to write, I was terrified. The conviction twisted my insides into knots.

A few days later, an old memory replayed in my mind.

“Your assignment is to give a three- to five-minute demonstration speech. We will begin presenting next Monday.”

Those words from my seventh grade English teacher sent my stomach on an elevator ride to my feet. I had no idea what I could do that was worthy of demonstrating to the class, so I turned to my mother for help.

“Why don’t you show how to give a cat a pill?” she said.

Her words pushed the “up” button for my heart elevator. As it rose, enthusiasm came along for the ride. “That’s a great idea,” I gushed. “I’ve been doing that for a week. I’m good at it now, and Siam is all well.”

The euphoria didn’t last long, however. By Friday I was frantic. How can I make this last three whole minutes? I wondered as I wrote out note cards.

In class on Monday, as the teacher began speaking, a furry blur rocketed through the still-open door, scampered across the floor, and lodged itself under the overhead projector cart. Realizing it must be Siam, I became certain I was living my final moments at the age of twelve. This was confirmed by the appearance of my mother in the doorway.

The teacher called on all the other students before me, giving the cat time to relax, come out from his hiding place, and curl up in my lap. Just before the end of class I gave a flawless speech with a cooperative cat.

As the memory faded, I realized Siam had reasons for hiding under that cart, and I was acting very cat-like in my current circumstance.

I’m afraid I’ll have to take medicine if I stop hiding. I, too, was afraid of doing something that might make me uncomfortable.

If I stop hiding, I won’t be able to control what happens. The thought of doing something I’d never done before terrified me. So I retreated to what felt small, comfortable, and routine.

If I stop hiding, I’ll be on display and people will see my faults. If I agreed to write, my inner thoughts would be on display for the world to see.

If I stop hiding, somebody can hold me. I believe this is the reason Siam finally came creeping out from under the overhead cart. He needed to be held. And so did I. Jesus Christ longed to hold me and calm my fears, but He couldn’t do that if I hid from Him.

The next time Carolyn asked me if I was writing, I could joyfully say I was. No matter what Jesus Christ calls us to do, He is there to carry us beyond our greatest fears.

Taken from Kathryn’s story in the book, When God Steps In: True Stories of Transformation by God’s Grace, Essence Publishing, 2006

Photo/Mother Jones

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6 thoughts on “Out from Under the Overhead Cart”

  1. I remember having these same thoughts when I hit the “Publish” button on my first blog post. But I did hand my writings to Jesus and He has carried them ever since. I often think of Moses and Paul and how they both feared their tasks. It helps to know that we’re in good company!

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    1. I think we all are like him sometimes. Thankfully, Jesus is always ready to pick us up!

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    1. I had to get that truth solidly in my head before I could even start my writing life! And now I still need reminding.

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