Category: Relationships

A Humming Machine

In the night quiet, I heard humming downstairs. I dressed myself in robe and slippers and tip toed down the steps. The woman sat at a small table that was usually covered with an embroidered cloth leaning over a white humming machine.

“What’s that?” I asked drawing close to the machine.

The woman jumped. “Oh! You’re awake!,” she said. “Can’t you sleep?”

I wanted to say, “I’m always awake.” I asked again, “What is that?”

“My sewing machine,” she replied. “I’m making you a dress for your first day of school.”
She lifted a blue dress and a cream coloured cotton pinafore printed with yellow flowers and cocker spaniels puppies.

“Do you like it?” she asked. “I had to dye Claire’s old yellow dress but I added the pinafore so the stains won’t show.” I touched the crisp fabric of the pinafore. “Do you like the pockets?” she asked.

“Oh yes,” I said suddenly needing to blink. I glanced at the television. “Why isn’t there any colour? Is it broken?”

“That’s an old movie. Old movies aren’t in colour.” She smoothed the pinafore fabric then tilted her head peering at me, “Are you hungry? Would you like some ice cream?”
I nodded.

She went to the kitchen and returned with two bowls of vanilla ice cream. “Now eat that,” she said. “Then you’ll have to get back in bed.”

We ate and watched in silence. When I finished, the woman took my bowl and said, “Back to bed with you but first wash your face and hands and brush your teeth.

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U is for Unapologetic

“Totally unapologetic,” I answered.

“But doesn’t she know what she did?” Jenna asked.

“I think so,” I shrugged. “But she can’t apologize.”

***

“Mel!” a voice cried out.

Confused, I scanned around me until my eyes focused on Caroline, her bag tucked under one arm, a cigarette in her other hand.

“Oh,” I said. “Hullo, Caroline.”

“How are you?” she gushed.

“Okay,” I answered.

“How was the surgery?” she asked.

“Fine,” I nodded.

“You’re okay?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“No cancer?” she asked.

“No,” I shook my head.

“You got a clean bill of health?”

“Yes,” I nodded.

“I’m so glad,” Caroline gushed again. “I was really worried about you.”

“Oh?” I inquired.

“I thought you might have cancer,” she said reaching out one hand towards my shoulder.

I stepped back a few inches. Her fingers did not reach me.

“No cancer,” I replied.

“How was your recovery?” she asked.

I looked into her eyes then moved my gaze to the growing leaves on the ginkgo tree at the curb.

“It must have been difficult,” she said.

My eyebrows raised. “Yes,” I said.

“Well…” she began. “I don’t do sick…” Her voice trailed off.

“No?” I replied.

“Did Jenna help?” she asked.

I shook my head, “She was still away,” I said.

“Oh,” Caroline replied. “Yes. She was in England.”

“Yes,” I said.

“Who helped?” she asked.

“I hired someone from work,” I said.

“Not Paul?” Caroline asked.

“He was away too,” I said.

“But you were okay?” she asked.

“I survived,” I said.

“The girls were going to help you,” Caroline remarked.

I nodded.

“I didn’t tell them,” she said.

My hands splayed out; I shrugged.

“But you’re okay?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said.

Caroline looked at me. I turned my eyes back to the leaves growing on the tree. She puffed her cigarette.

“I’ve got ice cream.” I said.

“I won’t keep you,” Caroline replied. “I just wanted to say hi.”

***

“Unapologetic,” I repeated.

“What did she mean, ‘I don’t do sick’?” Jenna asked.

“Just what she said,” I answered.

Jenna shook her head, “How does she ever expect to keep any friends?”

I shrugged.

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T is for Treachery

t is for treachery“How are you?” Jenna inquired.

“I’m healing,” I said easing myself into an upright chair.

“I wish I had been here,” she said pouring cups of tea. “At least Caroline and the girls were right down the street so you weren’t alone.”

My eyebrows lifted.

“What?” she asked, her voice terse.

“Caroline disappeared as soon as she learned I needed surgery,” I replied.

“What?!” she shrieked. “Something happened to her?”

“No,” I shook my head. “As far as I know she’s fine. Her car is there.”

Jenna’s brow furrowed, “So what happened?”

“I called her from work the day my gynecologist decided she had to open me up,” I said, then sipped the delicate Lapsang Suchong brew.

“Tell me,” Jenna insisted.

“She told me to call her when I had a date and then didn’t answer her phone; didn’t return my messages” I explained.

“Did you stop by?”

“Yes,” I nodded. “But she was always away.” I shrugged. “After a week, I gave up.”

“Oh Mel,” Jenna cried, rushed to my side and hugged my shoulders.

I winced.

“Ooh,” Jenna shied. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“Oh no,” I shook my head. “I just reached up too high.”

“What did you do?” Jenna asked as she returned to her seat.

“What could I do?” I shrugged again, “I filled my spaghetti pot with water and left it on the stove, bought frozen entrees and stuff that was already cooked, and cooked vacuum sealed packets until I could open and close the oven.

“I paid our part-timer to collect me from the hospital and come and buy groceries for me. She was the only person I saw for a week.”

“Caroline didn’t check in at all?” Jenna asked. “Not at all?”

I shook my head.

“What treachery!” Jenna cried. “You’ve done so much for her. I can’t believe she did that.”

“She was afraid I had cancer,” I said shrugging.

“What if you did?!” Jenna demanded. “You’d need her even more.”

“She’s afraid of illness,” I replied.

“That’s no excuse for treachery,” Jenna said.

“No,” I agreed. “But that’s why she did it.”

Jenna traced a pattern in her place mat with the tip of her teaspoon as we sipped our tea.

“You know,” she mused. “You should call and tell her… Oh, I don’t know… Tell her something.”

I shook my head, “No. I’m not going to call her.”

Jenna opened her mouth. I interrupted before she spoke.

“I’ve been Caroline’s friend,” I said. “But she’s never been mine. This…” I stopped for a minute, “treachery — that’s a good word — I don’t need it in my life.”

“No,” Jenna agreed.

“So that’s that,” I said.

“And the girls?”

“Perhaps I’ll see them in the neighbourhood,” I shrugged. “But I can’t ask them to choose between me and their mother.”

My eyes smarted. I blinked a tear away.

“It’s bloody awful,” Jenna said.

“Yes,” I nodded.

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R is for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Caroline stopped scrubbing the sink and asked, “Why are you limping?”

r is for rheumatoid arthritisI leaned against the counter and handed Jenna my bag. “My ankles are swollen,” I replied using my right quadriceps to slightly raise my foot and show her the angry red joint. “They both hurt but I can’t even stand on this one.”

A wince overspread my face as I lowered my toe back to the floor.

“Let me help,” Jenna said.

“You’re too young to have arthritis,” Caroline said as Jenna supported me while I hopped over to a chair.

“What?” I ejaculated and bumped my ankle. “Damn!”

“You’re too young. My mother has arthritis. You’re just a kid.”

I sighed.

“Rheumatoid arthritis attacks young women,” Jenna told her. “Your mother probably has osteoarthritis.”

“Do you hear yourself? Attack! Why would your body attack you?” Caroline lit a cigarette then put the kettle on to make another cup of coffee.

Jenna helped me rest my feet on another chair then replied, “That’s what actually happens with autoimmune diseases. The body attacks itself.”

“It doesn’t make sense that your body would attack you,” Caroline said. “You’re body is made to be whole.”

Lord? I silently pleaded.

“And this is a fallen world,” I replied aloud. “There’s illness and accidents and death.”

Caroline thumbed through a paperback book that no longer had a cover. Looking up at me she said, “Every day you should repeat, ‘My mind and body are in perfect balance. I’m a harmonious being.'”

Jenna’s mouth opened. I shuddered.

“That’s how you’ll heal your body,” Caroline.

I huffed out a loud breath.

“W-W-What good is that?” Jenna sputtered. “She needs a doctor.”

“I’m never sick,” Caroline said.

Another huff escaped. “You had the flu last month?” I said in a shrill voice. “You were so sick, I took care of you and the girls.”

“That’s not sick, sick,” Caroline replied. “Nothing like rheumatoid arthritis.”

Please? I mutely begged my Friend.

“Affirmations are words. Good words,” I said. “But you actually have to do something to reap the benefits.”

“You think you’re so smart,” Caroline said. “I know some things.”

Again, my head shook of it’s own accord.

“What makes you so rigid?” Caroline asked., her nose wrinkled as if she smelled something distasteful.

Another loud sigh escaped.

“Reciting some magic words won’t make this go away,” I said. “Eating better, more dance classes, more sleep, following my doctor’s instructions — those work. Positive thoughts help me feel better but they’re not magic.”

“Then you’ll just be sick,” Caroline retorted.

My head shook again.

“I’ll help you upstairs.” Jenna said.

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Q is for Quixotic

q is for quixotic“She called me quixotic,” I fumed. “Me? Quixotic?”

Before answering, Jenna placed her Spode teapot on the table and added a plate of lemon shortbread.

“At least it’s a nice word,” Jenna said.

Through narrowed eyes I glared at Jenna.

Well it is nice,” she insisted.

“It was an insult. She was calling me strange, a fool.”

“Probably,” Jenna agreed pouring the tea. “You probably seem strange to Caroline.”

“I’m not strange when she needs someone to babysit,” I replied. “Nor when she wants to borrow money, nor when she needs someone to talk to for hours and hours, nor when she expects me to pay rent for space I can’t even use.” I let out a deep sigh.

“Did you tell her yet?” Jenna inquired.

I nodded, “That’s when she called me quixotic. She blew up. Said I had to rent both rooms.”

“B-bloody hell!” Jenna sputtered. “She expects you to go on renting space you can’t use?”

I shrugged. “She needs the money.”

“She ought to have considered that sooner and made the space livable,” Jenna retorted. “You’re not going to continue paying for both rooms?”

I shook my head. “I told her to get a second housemate. She said no. She likes things as they are.”

“Of course she does,” Jenna said. “She’s got a live-in friend, spiritual director, babysitter, and cook who pays rent.”

I chuckled. “I said I would be only be paying for one room after this month.”

“She’s fortunate you gave notice,” Jenna said.

I nibbled a biscuit and sipped my tea.

“You know,” I said. “Caroline is the quixotic one.”

“I’d call her something else entirely,” Jenna snorted.

I smiled. “She lives in a dream world.” I took a sip of tea then continued, “It never occurred to her that I would stop paying for the whole floor.”

“Why did you wait so long?” Jenna asked.

“I didn’t want her to get a second housemate,” I answered. “The three of them are enough.” I took another sip of tea. “But I don’t care anymore. I need to save money to move.”

“I’d have moved sooner,” Jenna said.

“Yeah,” I nodded. “But money’s been tight and I love the girls. It seemed a good decision at the time.”

“But not now?” Jenna asked.

“No,” I said, “not now.”

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P is for Perfect Pancakes

p is for perfect pancakesCaroline stopped beating the contents of the mixing bowl, blew a lock of hair out of her eyes, and said, “Have some pancakes.” She continued to beat cradling the bowl in the crook of her left elbow and using quick, intent strokes.

Farrah’s eyes met mine. She snickered.

“No thanks,” I answered. “I only have time for a quick bowl of cereal.”

“Why don’t you make us pancakes?” Adhita asked.

“Your mom’s making them,” I said.

“You make perfect pancakes,” Adhita sighed. “Mom, why don’t you make pancakes like Mel?”

“I make good pancakes,” Caroline answered pausing in her labour.

“Mel’s pancakes are like corn muffins or biscuits,” Farrah said. “Yours are tough. The butter doesn’t even melt into them.”

“I make them from a mix, like my mother did,” Caroline said. “I don’t know how to make them from scratch.”

“Even when Mel uses a mix, they’re soft and fluffy,” Adhita replied.

“I make good pancakes,” Caroline insisted. “They’re just like my mother’s. I beat them just as she did.” Caroline continued beating.

“Why aren’t yours tough?” Farrah asked me.

Caroline stopped beating. My brow furrowed. I willed it into smoothness again, took a breath, and said, “I don’t beat the batter. I just stir the liquid into the flour until the dry ingredients disappear.”

“Nonsense,” Caroline said. “You have to beat them or there’ll be lumps. That’s what my mother always said.”

“Lumps are good,” I squeaked. I took a breath and continued at a  lower register, “They make pancakes tender. Beating the batter develops the gluten and makes them tough.”

Caroline lit a cigarette and said, “I don’t know anything about gluten. My mother never said anything about that. They’re delicious pancakes. They’ve always been good enough for you girls. You should be grateful to have a mother who’s makes you breakfast.” She took another drag on her cigarette. “You could be forced to eat cold cereal, like Mel.”

My eyebrows raised. I lowered them before speaking, “They asked. I answered. You needn’t like the answers.”

“I’m not stupid,” Caroline said. “I make perfectly good pancakes.”

My forehead furrowed. I stared into her angry, blue eyes.

She looked away and took another drag of her cigarette, “If you want perfect pancakes so badly, then get Mel to make them. But she can’t, can she?” she asked the girls. “She has no time.”

I took a deep breath, got up, put my bowl in the dishwasher and said, “If I can’t answer simple questions about making pancakes without offending you, there’s something really wrong.”

“I’m not stupid,” Caroline said.

“Why do you keep saying that?” Farrah demanded.

“Mel behaves as if I don’t know how to do anything,” Caroline said.

“I asked Mel how she made perfect pancakes,” Farrah declared. “She answered my questions.”

I shook my head and left the kitchen.

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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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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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A is for Attached

“Do you know why you wanted to be at home watching Doctor Who?” she asked in modulated tones bereft of emotion. “Why when you’re invited to celebrate Christmas with a friend you always feel you’re on the outside? Not part of things?”

Wrinkles channeled my normally calm brow. My fingers traced the rough texture of the chair’s striated, beige and cream upholstery fabric. My head longed to shake itself. I held it still and after a long breath replied, “Because I’m detached.”

“Yes,” she said. And though her voice maintained the empty evenness, she spoke as if she had just revealed a great secret I had not known.

I continued to stroke the roughness under my fingers. Not linen, I mused to my Friend. Polyester and rayon. I returned my attention to Dr. Milton’s face. What does she want me to say? I inquired of Him. I already answered the question? Without speaking, I continued to watch her.

Dr. Milton broke the silence, “It’s alright if you want to be detached. But you need to know that you are. Then you can choose.”

a is for attachedbThe outer corners of my eyes crinkled. My head tilted itself to one side. “I’m deeply attached to God,” the words tumbled out. “That’s who I tell when I find myself amid people I love but have nothing in common with.” I raised my eyebrows and stared into her eyes, “I’m deeply, deeply attached to my Friend, to God.”

“But not to people,” she replied.

“No, not to people.” My eyebrows raised along with the tone of my voice, “I love people. I really do. But we have so little in common.”

“Because you’re detached?”

Was it a question?

“Maybe. But maybe because I’m attached to Someone very different. Someone with who sees into my heart. Someone who knows me and is utterly trustworthy.” My head shook of it’s own accord. “I don’t know what happened to me. I was attached to Marmar, Papa, Grandpère, Ti Eduardo. I was attached. But they’re gone. And the only one left was God. He’s always been with me. How could I not be attached to Him?”

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Quiet – Five Minute Friday

O GOD of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength; By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (The Book of Common Prayer)

Pray For A Quiet MindNearly 18 years ago, I stopped looking for my family. I was banging my head against a brick wall trying to find a relative who wanted me in his or her life. My head ached from the stress of finding just one cousin, one aunt, one uncle, anyone. I heard His Voice ask, ‘Can you be happy without knowing any more?’ And I responded, ‘Yes.’ He is my very best Friend. He condescended to befriend me had remained with me and brought me through hell. I knew I could be happy as long as He is with me. And my head did ache so badly. So I worked to quiet myself and develop confidence. Over and over I prayed the collect for a quiet mind. Years later, occasional chatter appears in my heart but attention to my Friend quiets me.

Fast forward to yesterday when I was reading the biography of the new Bishop for the Personal Ordinariate in the USA of which I’ve been a parishioner for some times. I had heard his name pronounced “Lopes” as in “hopes” but for some reason, that didn’t seem right. He doesn’t seem Brazilian. Yesterday, I learned Bishop Lopes is half Portuguese. His name is pronounced, “Law-pez.” I read more eagerly only to discover a few sentences later that Bishop Lopes’ father had emigrated from Portugal to the “vibrant Portuguese community” in northern California. <Timer Rings>

All at once it struck me. Whenever I’ve been asked, “Why northern California?” I had no response, was left confused — it didn’t seem a reasonable choice. Perhaps my parents had spun a globe and randomly chosen a haven for me. But in one paragraph, their choice suddenly made sense. They sent me to my mother’s people. They may not have known me and when my parents were killed, I wasn’t raised by them. In fact, I didn’t know there was a Portuguese community all around me, our paths didn’t cross. And I’ll probably not know this side of heaven, if they had emergency plans to have me cared for by someone in that community, plans that were thwarted. But I do know that my parents chose a place where there were people like me. I know their choice was an act of love and care.

That knowledge brings a new quiet and a new happiness to my heart. My dearest, dearest Friend has provided me an opportunity to know my parents and myself a bit better. How fortunate I am that when I was lost, He never let me go.

*****************************

On Friday (and occasionally Saturday if Friday is filled with an excess of other activities),100s of bloggers set a timer, write for 5 minutes, and then post the results over at Kate Motaung’s blog, Heading Home. She provides the prompt on Thursday evening. We don’t edit or concern ourselves with whether our writing is flawless or worthy to be seen. We expose our incomplete, unpolished thoughts and words to each other and our readers and tweet them with the hashtag #FMFParty. Join us.

Image source: https://www.pinterest.com/source/overcomeroutreach.com

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