I dreamt of being in a line, waiting in the wings, backstage, in heaven.
God stood at the front of the line, giving assignments
and sending each person through the door on a personal mission.
It felt like jumping from an airplane into life...
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Sung’s arms hung limp
at her sides, her face showing sleepless nights, her eyes dull and blank. Around her scurried others (Friends?
Relatives?)—a thin man, vibrant young woman with a little one tied on her back,
small children with gleeful smiles—as they unloaded my trunk.
“Many foods!” exclaimed the vibrant one, adjusting the sling
as the baby peered over her shoulder. She lifted and swung the twenty-five
pounds of rice easily, gracefully, disappearing into the doorway of the
apartment.Sung still stood.I smiled, met her eyes, andplaced two chickens in her hands. She looked
at them, looked at me, turned woodenly toward the door.
Her husband lay miles away, pierced with tubes and lines
attached to blinking, beeping machines, wrapped and bound. The accident had
come with great force and greater loss: a disabled bus braking ahead, an
attempted merge, blind spot, sideswipe, loss of control-- three dead, two
injured. One moment in the black of night
changed everything. And Sung stood bewildered in a foreign land with few who
spoke her language, her three small children clamoring around her numb legs.
Another took the chickens from her and Sung suddenly
enveloped me in a hug. Tight, real, aching, like a hug from one of my own
children. My heart ached. Where was her own mother? Back in the refugee camps?
Did she know yet? I wanted to tell her everything
was going to be okay, but the only phrase I knew with anything close to that
meaning was kaun deh: “it is good.”
And this? This was not good.
The others did quick work, emptying the trunk of collard and
turnip greens, cabbage, onions and garlic, mangoes and limes and tart apples. Cartons
of eggs were met with oohs and the children squealed at the sight of grapes.The thin man’s face lit with happiness in
recognition (Chiles! he cried) at the bag of red and green cayennes from my
garden. Sung warmed when I handed her the box filled with containers of fresh,
spicy, homemade vegetable soup.
Thank you, she said. Jesu
payt. And I was wrapped in another hug. She held on, made a small sound,
held on a little longer.
Jesu payt. It
sounds almost like “Jesus paid.” Yes, indeed He did. Kaun
God bless you, I said. Yes, she replied. Yes. I got in my
car to go back to my world, where I never have to worry about where my next
meal will come from and where my medical bills are covered and where I
understand what the doctor is saying and where, if I really wanted to, I could
drive four hours to my mother’s house. And Sung stood on the sidewalk, her hand
frozen in mid-air.
$10 plus $1.50 shipping. (Paperback, 64 pages) ABOUT THE BOOK:Do you ever wonder about the history behind our Christmas traditions? Twenty-five Days of Christmas is a book of daily readings. It will help you discover the treasures hidden in the traditions, with history, insights and suggestions to aid you in restoring the spiritual emphasis to the beautiful, meaningful seaon of Advent.
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