Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Points of Light in a Dark Time

Sister Anne in "Eddie's Wake," one of the two real theologians in the novel, says to Karl, "God doesn't always keep bad things from happening to us, Karl. Of course God cares about you...and all of us. It's how God takes bad things and makes something good of them that matters, and how God never, ever abandons us."

I have been spending the last week or so trying to think of something positive to write here, at a time when life feels so dark and my spirit cries out for a release from all the tension and stress I am feeling. Maybe you noticed that I edited my last post a few days after I wrote it in an attempt to make things sound better than they are. The truth is, I feel terribly low, and am unable to focus on writing fiction (or much else), which only adds to the sorrows.

My Mom is staying with us for a couple of weeks, confused as to where she really lives or in whose bed she is sleeping (mine) or whose clothes are in "her" closet (mine). My brother is as stable as he gets, separated from me and from Mom by the whole state of Wisconsin, big old Lake Michigan and the U.P. of Michigan; but he needs some kind of support, too. It's not the way I would like to see either of them living their lives. I am not one prone to tears, but they are sure close to the surface these days.

This morning I had an appointment in the Cities, got a late start from home because Mom decided today would be a good day for a shower, something she couldn't handle yesterday. I planned to take US 61 north, but when I got to the turnoff, the road was blocked by a snow truck and several cops. I was forced to turn the opposite way and drive several miles before I could stop or turn around. I learned that a propane tanker had tipped over due to a patch of ice, so I frantically called the clinic to see if I could get a later appointment. "Latoya," the woman who answered the phone, sounded a little gruff at first, then ended the call by saying, "You be safe, now." It took me a while to realize what she had said, to realize what a gift it was.

A walk through Target, not finding the item I needed, but picking up a few other things for the house - and a new scarf - but not dropping a lot of money. A visit with my kindly physician and good friend, whose compassion for my pain reminded me why I drive all those miles to see him. Sharing a church meal with other friends, amazed at how loving they all are to Mom. The promise of coffee with another dear friend tomorrow, someone I've deeply missed for the past three months.

These are all points of light, and they made my day end way better than it began.

I've learned an important lesson: never withhold a small kindness, because you may have no idea how it may turn someone's day around, how it could be the only thing bringing light to a heart that hurts.

I'm thanking God for Latoya tonight and remembering the driver of the propane tanker. I sure hope he's OK.

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