Even though she only just minutes ago received an unexpected blood
transfusion, she is being discharged from the hospital – out of a coma, off dialysis, body nearly normal in size and it is no matter that her right arm is filled, literally filled, with blood clots that could dislodge at any moment, go to her heart and kill her, because, she has no
insurance. But only after having spent hundreds, maybe hundreds of thousands to save her life. Her mother is a wreck and now I understand partly why the daughter coming home is so terrifying for this mother. It turns out this mother relentlessly beat this daughter, over and over and over, so that the daughter believes, in the way only a child who suffers can, that she deserves every heavy hand that comes her way…..problem is, I am the priest sniffing around, looking for the seed or the root, to pull it out, pinch it, expose it to such harsh light it will die. Finding the seed sprouting from the mother is not so unusual; being caught out is close to a nightmare for the mom.
Next. A lovely, happy, plump, overly made up woman who dearly loves her husband climbs into bed next to him. He was very peacefully sleeping; so weary and tired, he slept through the night not moving one eye lash, a babysleep, deep and permanent. The gray dawn brings the horrific truth and it is a shock that jerks the stomach every time her mind accidentally returns to her own body lying next to his. Her eyes ask, her lips shake, her questions fill all the space. How, how, how could she not know he was completely gone, dead in their bed? How, how could he leave so silently that the emptiness did not scream out to her? What kind of wife, what kind of human is she really that death can lie cheek by jowl with her and she merely slumbers on. The funeral will be either Friday or Saturday.
The email. Long and wordy; from a wounded, dark heart. From a father who had one hell of a midlife crisis, left his workout wife and two beautiful children for the woman who assured him, “they will get over it”. They didn’t. And they haven’t. And now he desperately wants to put it back together again. With every fiber of his being, he remembers each word he ever heard me preach, believing that buried in my message is his hope and my magic. Only, I don’t actually perform miracles, I only point out the edge of the cliff and promise to stay waiting there holding my arm out as far as I can, so maybe just our fingers touch but that at least is touch. And I will hold on for dear life and even pull, if he wants. But I can’t fly and I can’t stop him from going over the side. “Of course I will help you,” I tell him, “What is it you want me to do?” He sobs into his crackberry and has no idea what he wants me to do. I listen and stay close as I can.
This is how love looks; this I have to believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.