A couple weekends ago, while Skyping with my nephew in Sweden, we started talking puppets. Before I knew it, I had climbed up on a chair, grabbed a plastic bag crammed in the back of my closet, and reemerged with my very own puppet.
My nephew chatted with that puppet for quite awhile. He even suggested she might need glasses. Probably true. After all, we’re all getting older.
And yet, it seems like only yesterday I first learned to puppeteer. Part of the puppet ministry at church, I was assigned Faith. Purple with orange yarn for braids, I loved her to bits.
We went on many an adventure, Faith and I. Faith taught me the ropes: walk up stairs to enter, maintain eye contact, and never ‘flip the lid’ whilst talking. Side-by-side, we braved the dust and heat of the county fair; we went on a road trip or two. Through it all, her eyelashes remained perfectly curled and she always had a smile on her face. I did not fair nearly as well.
Perhaps that’s why I loved her so.
We parted at a difficult time in my life. Saying goodbye to the puppet I had grown to love, seemed an added insult. I so wanted to take her home with me. But while I had been her voice and movement for years, she was not mine to have. So it was, I placed her in the closet one last time, closed the door, and walked away.
It broke my heart.
Of course, as so often happens with a young broken heart, it mended. So when I met the husband of a co-worker my senior year of high school, a fellow puppeteer, we spoke only of the good memories of puppetry–of technique and showmanship, of strengths and weaknesses, of low points and highs.
At my going-away party, he handed me a crumpled Bon Marche bag. I opened it to find a puppet, just an old one I had lying around–purple, with orange yarn for braids. I named her Faith.
One look at her smiling face and I’m reminded–we don’t always get what we want in life. But sometimes we do. We don’t always get things when we want them, but it always seems to be right on time.