You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘friends and family’ tag.

I stood behind the storm door and waved handfuls of dollars to the ten-year-olds wearing aqua T-shirts, touting the message, Children ‘r’ For Us, against the backdrop of the St. Louis Arch, also stenciled in white—evidence of the kids’ week-long camp.

The milky sky seemed to energize their antics, grouped around their lemonade stand and waving down the few passing cars. Whatever their cause, they were solidly behind it.

It took a while before they noticed my opened door, and a black boy took the lead, his smile deepening the closer he came to my porch. Others grinned, hurried to keep up, curious, no doubt, of the amount in my hand. To my surprise, the black boy bowed from the waist, tented his palms, and said, “Namaste.” Other thanks followed. Someone even said, “God bless you.” Smiling eyes knew, somehow, yet, only a few of the kids were known to me.

Over the years, I’d contributed to other lemonade stands set up on the corner upon which my bungalow sits, but never received such gratitude like this afternoon’s. Whatever was going on, the parents of these kids knew what was essential: love, and they taught it well to their children, its surprise shimmering of an Unknown Presence.

Sweet are the memories: fading floral arrangements, cards listing against each other on the dining room table, gift-wrappings torn apart—Whitman’s Sampler and Linden’s light chocolates and slippers—serenades on email and voicemail, phone and Face Time visits, and all the in-between wishes for my eighty-fifth birthday last week. Neighbors even left a variegated assortment of gourds for my front porch to complement the pumpkin and potted Alberta spruce. But most significant was my sister Martha’s two-day visit.

Such affection left me surprised, grateful, but dizzy with exhaustion. I felt like the Velveteen Rabbit, its stuffing reconstituted through hugs, but still grinning.

So what happened through the bestowal of these gifts, unique, powerful, colorful, and aromatic? In my perception, each carried the signature of Higher Power, imprinting love-traces upon my old heart, still in need of healing; its wounds of disbelief still smart: I couldn’t be loved that much, so assails the Mutterer in my depths. A hangover since childhood, I’ve spent years learning otherwise, but its nastiness is still there.

Practicing the Twelve Steps of CPA helps diffuse Muttterer’s assaults—It recoils in the face of unconditional love. Yet, I can only tolerate brief exposures as much as I cherish them.

With the psalmist, I continually cry out: Create, O God, a clean heart within me. On my own, this is impossible.

Available on Amazon

%d bloggers like this: