Monday, November 22, 2010

A Wannabe Burglar and a Mother’s Grace

We all have our stories. Stories we love to tell from our life’s book. Some stories grow old, or maybe our lesson is learned, so we no longer need to retell them. Those are closed chapters.

Others always seem fresh. They bring up certain welcome thoughts or feelings no matter how many times or years in the telling.

My new friend Robyn told me one of her stories last week. I will share it here in her words, as I remember them.

My daughter was home, not feeling well one day. She was on my bed upstairs. Sometimes snuggling into momma’s bed is the best thing for healing.

She was sleeping, so I left to run a few errands. When I returned, the window was broken out of the back door. Electricity surged through me. Someone broke into my home with my daughter asleep upstairs. I need to get to her NOW.

As I started heading up the stairs, a young man, arms full of our laptops and such, was coming down. I started to speak, mind crazed, to this man between me and my daughter. “What are you doing”… I demanded. Then, “put that stuff down on the table.” He did. ‘Do you have a weapon,” I asked. He had kept one hand out of sight.

“No,” he said.

“Let me see your hands.”

The hand he’d kept hidden was wrapped in one of my bathroom towels and was bleeding heavily. I was insane with a need to get up to my daughter. “Lemme see your hand,” I said. He held it out to me. “We need to get this cleaned up. You sit down. I’m going up to get some things to clean these wounds.”

“What would your mother think,” I said, almost under my breath as I headed toward the stairs.

My daughter was not in my room. I looked out the front window and saw that her car was gone. She must have gotten up and left before the young burglar showed up. I sat on the edge of my bed, somewhere between breaking down and punching something.

After I pulled myself together, I got the peroxide and bandages.

He was still sitting at the table (I figured he would have made a run for it but …)

As I cleaned his wounds, he started to cry. “My mother would be so disappointed if she knew,” he said. Then he reached into his pocket and returned heirloom rings and jewelry that had been in my family for several generations. “What can I do to make it up to you,” he asked.

“Well, you can fix the door,” I said.

We went to the hardware store, got a new pane of glass and some trim. He fixed the window. When he went to leave, I handed him $20. “I don’t know what your situation is, but twenty dollars should help you for a day or two. Take it.” He took the money and left.

Every year, on Mother’s Day, I get a card from him. I have gotten them for 18 years now.

I was speechless after hearing Robyn’s story. I’m glad she hasn’t worn tired of telling it. I wonder what the story would sound like from the wannabe burglar, and if he still tells it.

Dawnya Clarine
Soul Appeal

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Puddle Party

I voted today.

My polling place is an elementary school.

I showed up a few minutes before 8 AM, early, so I waited in my car, reading and watching kids walking down the sidewalks to school.

It has been raining in Sandpoint. Of course it’s been raining in Sandpoint. It’s fall. It’s always raining in Sandpoint. There was a good supply of puddles in the uneven sidewalks. That’s another given in Sandpoint, potholes and uneven sidewalks makes for lots of puddles.

Anyway, I watched the kids negotiating the puddle directly in front of my car.

The first two girls, probably 7 years old, stopped and carefully skirted around the puddle. It was just in the way. They had boots on, but didn’t want to get them wet I guess.

The next second-grade pedestrian was attired in high-top Converse All-Stars and Pippy Longstocking-style hosiery. She stopped, gazed into the puddle, skimmed the surface with her high top and then proceeded to stomp both feet in the puddle, before sprinting to the door. My kind of kid.

Then came a pair of blond elementary-goers to the puddle. Both bent at the waist, looked at their reflections in the puddle, burst into giggles, and jumped cleanly over the pool. Must have been a good two feet across, and they were flying!

There was a constant stream of kids taking their turns at that puddle for the 20 minutes I sat there.

It occurred to me that every kid that came along saw that puddle in their own unique way. Some didn’t see it at all, they only saw themselves, and that was ok too.

What a perfect place to participate in the democratic process - freedom at work, and the future of it all out exercising their simple right to see things as they want to.

I’m glad I live where I can vote. Where children can look into their very own puddle and dream whatever they want.