I was invited to join an educational conference in New Orleans by a friend who officed in the same building where I was working. It was an amazing conference and I learned a lot. This was the first time I had heard about the studies done on trauma and how it affects learning.
At one point, several of us decided to visit the French Quarter. Our hotel was close to this famous area, so we just walked over and started meandering. New Orleans is an amazing city!
My friend had been commissioned to purchase some voodoo dolls, so we ended up going to a small store that sold voodoo paraphernalia. My friend picked up her voodoo dolls and offered one to me.
Now, I will tell you that I believe voodoo to be a powerful belief system. I’ve never subscribed to its practices, but I recognized that it has a lot of people who do practice it and are affected by it. I was a little unnerved to receive this gift, but I really like my friend so I thanked her kindly and set about trying to figure out how I was going to work this doll into my life! We had a long flight back to Kansas and then a two hour drive back home – with a voodoo doll in my suitcase!
I can’t say that the doll I chose is pretty, but I can say that she is interesting. She’s about 10” tall. A straw doll with a black silk cover for her face with red eyes and mouth and a long white nose painted on. She has a bright red silk dress with gold trimmings and her bag to hold whatever voodoo bags hold. She has four soft feathers sticking up out of her head for hair. She looked fierce when I got her.
I really pondered on how this was going to work. I remembered a conversation I had overheard at a Sunday School class a long time ago. My folks attended a Sunday School class with several people who were well known for their intelligence and knowledge of the Bible. They were discussing what happened when we die. Their position was that, when we die, we stand before God and watch the journey of our lives, explaining all the bad parts to him and hoping that he’ll forgive us and take us to heaven. Mom spoke up and said that, if we ask God to be our friend, he will be with us all the time and we can talk about our life’s journey while we’re living it. We won’t have to be so afraid at our death because we’ll be with our best friend. I liked that thought so tried to follow it.
I was really glad that I had become friends with God when I was faced with this voodoo doll. It came to me that God can deal with anything – including voodoo. So, I gave this doll to God and asked him to watch over her on the trip back home. If he would do this, then I wouldn’t worry about her and could focus on getting back.
We got home in fine shape (at 2:00 in the morning). The next day I was unpacking my suitcases and found this doll. I decided to name her Pam so that she wouldn’t feel like an outsider (although she is unique in my household!). I told her that she was welcome in my home and that my home was dedicated to God and filled with love. I told her that I would take all the pins out of her and put them far away so that she wouldn’t have to worry about getting stuck as long as she was with me. I propped her up against the mirror in my bedroom so she wouldn’t have to worry about any animosity coming towards her.
As time went by, she started to relax. The expression on her face is less fierce and more hopeful. It’s been three years now since Pam joined our household. She’s no longer on my dresser but has joined a family of carved cats and a stuffed rabbit in a silverware holder on my wall. I think she’s enjoying her new life much more than her old life.
I talk with her about some of the daily events in my life. She said that, if I needed to, she would allow a pin to be poked into her foot if I ever needed to cause harm to someone. I thanked her kindly and told her I’d keep it in mind! If your foot starts to hurt, you’ll now know why!