Month: April 2016

L is for Learning to Live With Myself

“You’re almost an adult now,” Caroline was admonishing Farrah as I walked into the kitchen to get yoghurt. “You’ve got to make time for your studies as well as your job. I know you want money but your studies come first. Ask your father for money.”

l is for learning to live with myselfThirteen year-old Farrah exhaled a long, huffing breath and then responded, “My job doesn’t interfere. I just forget and then there’s not time to do everything.”

“Then ask Mel for help,” Caroline said glancing over at me. “Mel, you’re good at math.”

“W-e-ell,” I stuttered. “Yes. But Farrah’s good too. She’ll figure it out.”

“You’d better get it figured out soon,” Caroline told her. “I don’t have time to deal with these letters. Why doesn’t they just give you detention? That’s what they did when I was in school.”

Farrah and I shared a quick glance.

“They don’t give detention when someone hasn’t finished their homework,” Farrah told her mother.

“They should,” Caroline replied. “Why do I pay taxes if they don’t do their jobs?”

My eye brows lifted. I pulled them down before Caroline saw them.

“You have to fix this,” Caroline told Farrah, “or you’ll have to give up your job.”

Farrah emitted a little squeal, “That’s so not fair,” she said. “I get straight A’s in nearly every subject and I’m getting a B+ in math.”

“I mean it,” Caroline said. “I don’t want letters from your school. I have enough to do.”

Farrah and I traded another glance.

“I have to do things I don’t want,” Caroline continued. “I want to go out for a drink after work or to a gallery but I come home to make dinner.” She turned to me, “I’m sure Mel makes herself do things she doesn’t want to do.”

Does she know what she’s saying to her daughter? I mutely inquired of my Friend. She’s keeps telling her that she doesn’t want to care for them.

“Mel, you have to do things you don’t want to, don’t you?” Caroline prodded.

My eyebrows raised again; I pulled them back into place. “There’s not much I do that I don’t want to do,” I replied. “And I don’t know what that has to do with anything.” I looked into Farrah’s eyes, “You want to do your math, true?”

“Yes,” Farrah nodded. “I just forget.”

“I suffer from that disease,” I said. “I’ve been learning to live with myself.”

Farrah’s forehead ruffled.

“I don’t use direct deposit anymore because I realized I’m better if I hold the cash in my hands,” I said. “Direct deposit gives me a number and it’s not real. With cash I see the amount I have for bills and expenses and the amount I can use for whatever I like.”

Farrah’s head was still ruffled.

“The cash tells me I have fifty dollars to spend on books,” I explained. “Otherwise, I’d spend two hundred dollars and have to eat ramen until I got paid again.”

“That won’t help Farrah,” Caroline said. “She should just give up her job and get money from her father.”

“I don’t want to ask him for money,” Farrah told her. “I can earn my own money.”

“What if you do your math first?” I suggested. “Then it’ll be out of the way.” My head tilted on one side, I perused Farrah for a moment. “You’ll read no matter what,” I said.

“Maybe” she nodded.

“That’ll just make some other subject a problem,” Caroline interjected.

I shrugged. “All I know is by learning to live with myself rather than remake myself, life is a lot easier. I get the things done I need to do and, thus far, haven’t stopped doing the things I was already doing.”

“Adults don’t do it that way,” Caroline insisted. “Adults make themselves what do adult things.”

My face felt hot. I took a deep breath and shrugged one shoulder, “Then I’m not an adult.” The heat in my face lessened. “Forcing myself never worked. I’d still forget. Learning to live with myself just works better. It works. It’s practical.”

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K is for Kind Friends

k is for kind friendsStanding in the doorway between the kitchen and sun room, I asked Bridgett and Robert, “Would the two of you please eat these biscuits?”

“Comfort food’s not so comforting?” Bridgett asked.

“They’re delicious but the repercussions aren’t so pleasant,” I answered.

“I’m sorry,” Robert said.

“Thanks,” I replied. “I’m glad I had a couple but now I just need them gone.”

“I can take one for the team,” Robert said.

“A prince among men,” I answered.

“I’ll eat one,” Bridgett offered.

“I’m fortunate to have such kind friends,” I told them.

“We know,” Bridgett replied with a smile.

“We endeavour to be kind,” Robert added.

J is for Just So You Know

“Just so you know,” Liam said as I closed my music notebook. “I’m not convinced.”

I laughed, “If a couple of scones, a dirge, and a Bossa Nova setting for the Sanctus was enough, I’d open Conversions Я Us.”

j is for just so you know“If you’re not trying to convince me, why do you bother?” he asked.

“At first, I did want to convince you. I was flattered that you asked me about my faith. You ask serious questions. I wanted to answer them,” I replied.

Liam opened his lips to speak but I rushed on before he could voice the first word, “But early on, you told me, ‘Your God is either cruel beyond measure or insane. How could it be otherwise?’ It took a while but eventually I realized that I can’t convince you.”

“You can’t,” he said. “You make up stories about God and suffering — like my sister did.”

“No” I replied. “But I did realize that you can’t see what I see, what she saw.”

Liam articulated each word with precision, “You see nothing. She saw nothing. You just comfort yourself with lies.”

“Six years ago, I’d have insisted you were wrong.” I shook my head, “But not now.”

“Because you know I’m right,” he replied.

“Because I know that it won’t work to tell you you’re wrong,” I said. “I can tell you how I’ve changed. I can show you that my writing is no longer full of wistful longing for halcyon days. I can play joyful music, tell you about the series of songs I’m working on, or my design projects. You can see my face go all red and excited because I’m teaching sewing and design or because I’m studying math. You can come to dinner every week and hang out with my friends who are so close, they’re family. But none of that matters…”

“You’re right about that,” Liam blushed and blurted out, “I’m glad you’re happy. Glad you’re off the pain medicine. You were so loopy.” He blushed again, “I didn’t mean…”

“It’s okay. I know what you meant. And none of that means God isn’t cruel.”

“Your God let you suffer for years, only now are you happy. And even though you’re happy, you’ve still got problems.”

“True,” I nodded. “You see my suffering and your sister’s suffering as examples of God’s cruelty or insanity.” Our eyes met and I smiled, “You did call Him insane.”

“He is either cruel or insane.”

“You can’t see any reason God allows suffering,” I said. “The good that comes just doesn’t outweigh the pain.”

“God knows the suffering we’d undergo, that we’d visit on each other,” Liam replied. “He could prevent that. Only a cruel or insane God would allow cancer, child abuse, terrorism.”

“There are those who’d say, ‘Only a cruel or insane person would experiment on animals.'” I replied. “But you do and you’re neither.”

“I treat my animals humanely,” Liam said. “God isn’t humane.”

“God doesn’t follow our idea of humane,” I replied. “You don’t follow PETA’s idea of humane. And if they could reason and speak, your animals might agree with PETA, not you.”

“They’re mice. Bred for the lab. That’s they’re purpose,” Liam asserted.

“We’re God’s. Made for a purpose,” I said.

“So you say,” Liam insisted, “but where’s your proof?”

“That’s just it,” I retorted. “You have a preconception of God, how He acts or ought to act. If He is good, there’d be no suffering. You can’t imagine that suffering might be a good thing even though you cause your lab animals to suffer.”

“My animals are treated humanely,” Liam repeated.

I breathed took in a deep breath and relaxed my shoulders. “I know you treat them as humanely as possible. They still don’t live as animals naturally live. They’re not even pets. They’re manipulated.” I smiled wryly, “That’s suffering. To live in a cage and not be able to run and hide or move about and use muscles that were made to climb is suffering. It’s horrible to be thwarted.”

Liam’s shoulders stiffened, his fists clenched. “What would you suggest?”

“Me?” I asked, my voice squeaky. “That you continue your research, You’re doing good things.”

“Then I’m not cruel,” he retorted. “But God is.”

“That’s what I mean: you don’t see what your sister and I see,” I replied. “And I can’t open your eyes.

“PETA doesn’t see that your research is so important, experimenting on animals is necessary. I see it. You see it. But they don’t.”

“You mean you see God isn’t cruel but I don’t,” he smirked.

“Yes,” I answered. “And there’s nothing I can do to convince you otherwise. God will have to do that.”

“Maybe a blinding light,” he smiled.

“If that’s what you need,” I replied. “Meanwhile, I’ll keep trying to find ways to say what I mean.” I nodded at him, “You encourage me to do that. I really believe that you want to know if God is cruel or insane or something else, something immensely good.”

“You believe He’s the latter,” Liam said.

“Yes.”

“Why are we friends?” he asked.

“You don’t have to agree with me for us to be friends,” I told him.

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I is for It’s True If It Changes Us

“How do you know it’s true?” Liam asked. “You have no proof.”

“It’s true if it changes us,” I replied. “The change is proof of its truth.”

Liam sputtered bits of scone at me, “There’s no proof that God is anything other than a fantasy.”

“The changes He has wrought in us and our world are proof,” I replied. “Just like the changes you effect in a diseased mouse.”

With each word, Liam jabbed the butter knife at the dish, “I can reproduce those changes. Any scientist can.”

My eyes narrowed, “Don’t be intellectually dishonest. You won’t always get the same results.”

“That’s to be expected,” he replied.

i is for it's true if I changeI breathed in and pulled down my hunched shoulders, “The effects Jesus has had on people have been repeated since Pentecost,” I said. “A small group of men went from terrified to bold in a flash.” I forced my shoulders a bit lower. “They risked their lives and most of them were tortured and killed for the Gospel. It continues today. People encounter Christ and they change. Radically. Jesus is the only new thing that comes into those lives.”

“It’s not evidence,” Z insisted.

“If a good percentage of your diseased mice showed radical healing after you performed an experiment, wouldn’t you take that as evidence that your hypothesis was correct?” I asked.

“Of course. But I can repeat my experiments with a new batch of mice and if I can’t reproduce my results, I know my theory was wrong. The Gospel has been preached in many places and people have either not changed or changed into something horrible.”

“That’s always been true. Many who heard Jesus, Himself, changed into something horrible. There are accounts of them in the New Testament. But many also were willing to sacrifice everything for Christ. The same is true today.

“Liam,” I leaned over and placed a hand on his arm, “you don’t toss your theory because some of your mice die more quickly as a result of your experiments. You expect that to happen. As long as you don’t have an unacceptable number of deaths or deaths due to unforeseen causes, you focus on the positive results. Your experiments are a success not when every mouse is better but when enough mice are — and that might be a small percentage.”

“Peter or Paul or any of them might have changed for a hundred different reasons,” Z told me. “You have no proof that God changed them.”

“That would be like me saying you have no proof your mice got better because of anything you did.”

I closed my eyes for a moment and blotted out Liam holding his tea cup. Please Lord? I begged.

Opening my eyes, I first saw my music notebook. “Let me play a couple of things for you,” I said.

Checking his watch, he shrugged, “Sure.”

I moved to the piano and played several bars of I Will Always Love You. Liam shifted in his seat.

“Kind of ponderous, yes?” I inquired.

He grinned.

“What about this?” My fingers beat out Sanctus.

“Hey!” he smiled. “Is that Salsa?”

Bossa Nova,” I answered.

Liam sat next to me on the piano bench, “Play more of that second one.”

I played through to the end. “They’re both mine,” I told him. “I wrote the first one twenty-two years ago. I wrote a whole lot like that. My boyfriend used to say that they all sounded alike.”

Liam chuckled.

“Do you want to hear them?”

“No,” he shook his head.

“I don’t blame you. They’re dirges.” I turned to Sanctus, “This one I wrote about six months ago. It was a grand surprise. I didn’t know I had that kind of music in me.”

Liam ran his fingers across the lyrics. “I can’t read this,” he said.

“It’s originally from Isaiah and Matthew, I told him. “But this is the way it’s used in the Mass. ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are full of Your glory. Hosanna in the Highest. Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the Highest.’

“I can choreograph and dance to this,” I said playing a few more bars then stopped and caught Liam’s gaze, “It’s true if it changes us. I know it’s true because it has been changing me.”

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H is for Halcyon Days

Dear D’Abby,

Girl running through field of flowers

Girl running through field of flowers

When will the halcyon days come? When will I have suffered enough? It doesn’t have to be running through a field of flowers (though it could be), but when will the pain be over? When will I be happy again?

Dr. V says I must grieve. Just like that: “Grieve, boy!” I’m not a dog. I can’t cry on demand. Tears escape but that’s not crying. And I don’t control them. They come when they please. I don’t even know where they come from; the well is capped and I can’t open it.

I just want the halcyon days. That’s all. It’s not such a lot. I’ve already hurt so much. Why must I hurt more? It’s too much. Much too much. Can’t You just make it stop?

You always do this to me. I follow You thinking You’re healing me, that I’ll finally be happy — like You promised — but there’s always more work and I’m just so tired. Why is it so hard? When will it be enough?

I need a shower. And some dinner.

<break>

I’m just being silly aren’t I? Just pouting. Hunger makes me so cranky.

So what do You want me to do? Be honest, right? That’s what I promised to do when I went back into therapy.

Okay. I don’t know how to grieve. I don’t even want to grieve. D’Abby, I’m not even sure I know what grieve means. So if that’s what You want, You’ll have to make it happen. You’ve got carte blanche to take me through the fire and I’ll try not to complain too much. Actually, I’ll probably complain a lot so just ignore the noise.

(I’ll regret this.)

G is for Grieving

“How are you feeling?” Dr. Vogwall asked.

Tissot, James Jacques Joseph (1836-1902): Healing of the woman with the issue of blood

Tissot, James Jacques Joseph (1836-1902): Healing of the woman with the issue of blood

A cough sent pain through my chest and back. “Better,” I replied wincing.

“That cough still sounds bad,” he said.

Nodding, I winced again then held my head still until the pain subsided, “It is.” Then blurted, “I’m not contagious any longer. If I’m up to it, I’ll return to work on Monday.”

Dr. Vogwall smiled, “I’m not so concerned about you being contagious. You do need to take it easy until you’re better.”

“I will. I’ve been through this before.” I told him. “This is a bad bout,” I mused.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“I’ve had strep every year — sometimes twice a year — since I was about five or six,” I said. “I get sick three times every year.”

He furrowed his brow, “Every year?”

“Yes,” I gently lowered my head in a brief nod. “Usually in May, I get strep but sometimes at Christmas too. Conjunctivitis near my birthday. If I don’t get strep near Christmas, I usually have flu, an ear infection, or bronchitis. Once in a great while, the strep becomes bronchitis, like this time.”

“Doesn’t your doctor suggest any long term strategies? Tonsil removal? Ways to bolster your immune system or nutrition?”

“He’s done all that. I’m often anemic. I have some markers for autoimmune disease but nothing specific.” I shrugged, “I just get sick.”

“And always at the same times every year?”

“Yes.” The tone of my voice rose so that it was sibilant squeak.

“Why those times?” he asked.

I shrugged, “I’m not sure.”

“Do you recall being sick when you were a young child?”

A smile spread from my mouth down into my body. My shoulders relaxed, “It was almost Christmas. My throat was terribly sore; my body hurt. Papa wrapped me in a duvet and carried me into the lounge. He was decorating the Christmas tree and placed a shivery, silver ornament on the palm of my hand. ‘Gently. Gently.’ he told me. It was of some sort of glass fiber like a star.”

“You look happy,” Dr. Vogwall said.

“I was,” I replied.

“What about your birthday?”

“I ate his sausages and toast. And I went to see Marmar and ate sausages and toast from her breakfast tray.” A tear threatened to escape my eye. I blinked it away.

“And May?”

My head gave a gentle shake. I winced.

“What comes to mind?” he asked.

Fog descended about me. Tears threatened a downpour. In a small voice I said “Maraschino cherries. I made a picture of maraschino cherries.”

“That’s when they sent you away.”

“Yes.”

“Your birthday, Christmas, when your parents sent you away. Does that mean anything to you?”

Again in the small voice, “Important times.”

Dr. Vogwall laughed, “To a young child, very important.”

I blinked at him. My lips pulled themselves into a small pout.

“I think you’re grieving,” he told me.

“Grieving?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“I’m sick, not sad.”

“You’re sad all the time. You just don’t realize it.” He continued, “When you’re as sad as you are and don’t grieve, your body will do the grieving for you.”

A small laugh broke through, “Are you saying I’m sick because I have a broken heart?”

“Pretty much,” he replied.

“But I can’t just stop my heart from breaking,” the shrillness edged my voice.

“But you can grieve,” he said.

Wide-eyed, I stared at him. The pout reshaped my mouth. “How?” The word burst forth of its own volition.

“That’s what you need to learn.”

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F is for Faith Healer

“Eve, ride with your mother and the nurse in the ambulance,” the man said.

After the hospital bed bearing her mother had been loaded in, Eve climbed in and one of the drivers slammed the heavy door shut.

As the vehicle pulled away, I stood on the sidewalk hugging my coat in the chill night air.

“Get in this car, Mel,” the man shouted.

f is for faith healerI jumped and scrambled into the empty seat between between Claire and Gerrard. We drove a long way. The man sang Blessed Assurance to himself raising his voice during the chorus:

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

We rode huddled in silence. Finally, we arrived at an open field. The dark silhouette of a huge tent loomed in the night sky. We waited behind a long queue of cars that sought space among the parked rows filled by earlier arrivals.

The man hunched his shoulders, shook his head, and muttered, “Quel désordre!” He lowered his window and, waving a sheaf of tickets, called to a guard who wielded a flashlight, “I have a reservation. My wife’s ambulance should be here… That’s her,” he cried out pointing at the large, white shape as it moved into the yellow light near the tent entrance.

“Pull over here,” the guard directed. We parked in an area surrounded by red tape on which “reserved” had been printed in white.

Inside, we sat under the bluish light cast by bare, fluorescent bulbs. Giant space heaters sent warmth towards our shoulders but missed the chilly seats of the metal folding chairs. The woman lay under piles of blankets on her hospital bed.

“Who’s he?” Gerrard whispered to Charles.

“A faith healer,” Charles answered. Gerrard’s brow furrowed. “He’s going to try to heal mummy like the one last week.”

“Oh!” Gerard’s voice rose.

The man snapped his head in our direction, “Hush! Show some respect.” He leaned over to the large woman next to him, “I’ve got to be father and mother to them.” She nodded. “But I know God will heal my wife and give them back their mother.”

“Amen!” she replied.

“What is your name?” the faith healer lay his hand atop the pile of blankets.

“Roberta,” the woman’s voice was a whisper.

“Roberta,” the man spoke clearly.

“Roberta,” the faith healer’s drawled. “Do you believe God can heal you?”

“Yes,” the woman whispered.

“Then in the name of Jesus, be healed!”

He lifted her off the bed holding her under her arms. Spasms of pain tore across her face. She hung from his hands, a limp rag doll; her toes, in black, leather slippers, barely touched the floor.

“Walk Roberta,” the man urged.

The woman hung suspended from the faith healer’s hands. The nurse stepped forward. She and the man lifted the woman back onto the hospital bed.

“You” have to fast and pray,” the faith healer told the man. “But if you believe,” his voice boomed out through the microphone, “God will heal you.”

“I’ll fast for forty days and forty nights,” the man declared shaking the faith healer’s hand. “Just like Jesus.”

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E is for Earth is Earth

“Who would do such a thing?” Caroline demanded of me. She stooped next to the console table that held her stereo sweeping up bits of broken pottery from a small blue and white porcelain plate. The stereo was gone.

“What happened?” I asked.

“Someone broke into the house,” she told me as she chased down the remaining shards.

“How awful!” I replied. I glanced through the kitchen at the back door. “Where’d they break in?”

Caroline stood up and pushed heavy red waves of hair off her face, “I left the door unlocked so the girls could get in.”

E is for earth is earthThank You, I mutely told D’Abby. As much as I loved the dark polished floors and gilded furniture, I was thrilled to have moved into an apartment that though it required renovation had locked doors.

Sneaker clad footsteps sounded in the hall overhead. Farrah clomped down the steps as she announced, “My TV’s gone. Adhita’s boom box and camera are missing too.” She halted in the dining room doorway, “Ma! Why didn’t you just lock the door?”

“You girls lose your keys. I get sick of you breaking the windows.” Caroline espied more pottery shards and bent to corral them.

Thank You, I prayed again.

“Who’d do such a thing?” Caroline demanded looking up at me.

“Burglars,” I told her with a shrug.

“But why would burglars come into my house?” she asked.

My initial response remained unvoiced, Because the door was unlocked. I said, “That’s what burglars do,” Farrah nodded in agreement.

“I need my things,” Caroline whined. “I don’t have money to replace them.”

“Burglars rob poor people too,” Farrah said. I shrugged in agreement. “We should just lock the door,” she added.

“When I was a girl…” Caroline began.

Farrah interrupted her, “You never locked your doors. No one ever broke in.”

“That’s right,” Caroline told her. “That’s the way a neighbourhood is supposed to be.”

Farrah eyes caught mine. I let out a low, controlled sigh.

“Ma,” Farrah answered. “We don’t live in the country. We live in New York. There are projects four blocks away.”

“I shouldn’t have to lock my door. We’ve never had any trouble before.”

Farrah sputtered. My eyes widened.

“I thought you’d been robbed twice in the past,” I blurted.

“Well, yes…” Caroline began.

“And didn’t you rent to that man who was wanted for burglary and rape? Wasn’t he convicted?” I demanded of her.

“Yes,” Caroline admitted and then brightened, “But he didn’t rob us.”

I quashed a snort.

“Burglary was his job,” Farrah told her. “He didn’t work at home.”

Caroline looked up at me. I nodded.

“It’s earth,” I told her.

“What do you mean, ‘it’s earth’?” she insisted. “You say that but I never know what you mean.”

I released a sharp sigh. “Neighbourhoods aren’t the way they’re supposed to be. There are burglars and children who lose their keys and unlocked doors. So bad things happen.”

“But I didn’t do anything to the robber,” she whined.

“Robbers rob,” Farrah replied. “They don’t say,” she continued in a low, hollow register, “‘I won’t rob Caroline and her kids because they’re good people.'” Her voice returned to its accustomed contralto, “They look for houses that are easy to rob and just steal.”

“But I’m a Christian,” she insisted.

My forehead wrinkled. My head shook, “It doesn’t work that way.”

“Ma,” Farrah interjected. “Robbers don’t care if we’re Christian.”

“They should!” Caroline seemed about to stamp her foot. Farrah and I exchanged another glance.

“You mean everybody else gets robbed?” I asked. “But Christians get a free pass?”

“Why not? What good is that… What do you call it?” She waved the broom in the air as if she could sweep the words onto her tongue. “Abundant life,” she nodded. “What good is it if there’s no abundance?” She held the broom and dust pan before her like a sword and shield.

“You only get abundant life if earth is earth,” I said. “When some stranger has invaded your home and your stuff is gone, abundant life means the losing doesn’t define you. Mistakes don’t define us. God does. And you know you’ll be okay because Christ holds you and the whole, crazy world in His hands.”

“I want my stuff,” Caroline insisted.

“I’m sorry your stuff was stolen,” I replied. “It’s horrible. Why not call the police?”

“They’re no help,” Caroline said. She shook her head. “I need to make dinner,” she said carrying the broom and dust pan to the cupboard. “Why don’t you stay?”

“Sure,” I replied.

Help her D’Abby, I prayed.

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D is for D’Abby

“God knows your name,” the minister’s bright, authoritative voice asked through the radio speaker. “But do you know His?”

I yawned and stretched, “Morning, Lord.”

“See,” I told the radio. “I know His name.”

The voice continued, “We give those we love special names. When I was a boy…”

D is for D'AbbyHe continued his story while I wrapped myself in my navy, terrycloth robe and padded off to the bathroom. On my return, the minister inquired, “Do you love God so much, you have a name that only the two of you share? Are you that close to Him?” I tuned to a classical station and listened to Haydn as I dressed for church.

Huh? I silently queried my Friend. The lector’s voice continued to ring in my ear after he had returned to his seat. I glanced back down at the service leaflet:

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'”*

Abba? That’s You?

But do you call me that? The words formed themselves in my mind and resounded like the peal of one of the bells in the church tower.

My forehead furrowed, That’s what Paul calls You.

I reread the passage from Romans again. The words, “we cry” held my attention. Hmm, I mused. I haven’t included myself in “we.” I tried to focus on the homily but my eyes returned to the leaflet. My lips pushed themselves together in a small moue. Abba doesn’t mean much to me. It just doesn’t.

The creed and prayers of the faithful brought me to my feet and captured my attention but at the announcements, I found my eyes drawn back to Romans 8. So do You want me to give You a personal name? I mutely asked. Something other than Lord, or God, or Friend? The word “Father” caught my eye. Something that means Father? A warm tingle of a divine hug suffused my arms and back. “Okay,” I whispered as I stood for the consecration.

After communion, I knelt, my forehead resting on my folded hands, whispering, “D’Abby, thank You for feeding me…” My head snapped up. “What did I just say?” I whispered. “D’Abby? What’s that?” I rested my head on my clasped hands and pleaded, “What’s D’Abby?” The warm tingle held me close. “It’s not Daddy. I wouldn’t call You that. It’s not Papa. He was my father. And it’s not Abba either.” I gazed up at the crucifix and then lowered my head again. “Gee!” I whispered. “Gee!”

*Romans 8:15

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