It’s been a tremendously busy week, Readers, the sort of week that affords little time for writing. Here are three quick snapshots:
Two of my three kids had four day weekends with the MLK holiday. Much was accomplished and we even found some time to take in a movie. (The film was Green Hornet and there is considerable dispute as to whether it was (a) lousy (me), (b) campy and cute (my daughter), or (c) awesome (my boys). At the end of last weekend, which didn’t officially come until Wednesday, I was exhausted. I wrote a bleeding, emotional piece, and then thought better of posting it. Readers, your responses have been consistently compassionate and kind, but I was already feeling perfectly pitiful, as I said to a friend, “like the only thing I do exceedingly well is let people down.”
“Awwww,” my friend said sympathetically.
“Girl,” another friend said, “you keep twenty balls in the air for every one you drop.”
Yeah, but I still drop some. (Annie cliché #237: I can be pretty hard on myself.)
My dishwasher died over the holiday weekend. It died and it’s a German model which required a part that took several days to arrive. That’s a lot of dish-doing and some thinking about dishwashers. My parents got one for the first time when I was probably ten and though it was purchased for my mother, I was the one who benefited the most. I was the primary dish-doer, being the junior female in the home. I have always detested dish-doing. My college roommates hated me for it and in the early years of my marriage I used to joke that our purchase of a dishwasher saved the relationship. (Obviously it didn’t.) I was overjoyed when our current machine began to hum happily again yesterday.
I spent quite a bit of time this week with my dear friend who has recently lost her husband, helping to prepare her for a big move today. She had a lousy day on Wednesday, hassling with a Fios technician who apparently doesn’t like his job very much. He was a jerk until she—for the very first time—tearfully played the “my husband just passed away” card. It wasn’t intentional. Under the strain, she simply melted down, right in the middle of the street, begging the Fios jerk for help. To the installer, she became no longer just another pain-in-the-behind customer, but a wounded human being. He apologized and his compassion drove him to make sure she wouldn’t be isolated by ten days without phone and internet service.
Next day, I joined a brigade of moms to move my friend’s kitchen to her new house so that when she spends her first night there tonight, she’ll be able to feed herself and her children, even if it happens to be beside towers of taped-up cardboard cartons.
I was loading things from her counter top into a basket, things like mugs with smiling photographs of her two beautiful children. I found a tooth her son had lost that hadn’t migrated to the tooth box yet. My friend was telling me that her engagement ring had disappeared. She was devastated and feared that someone had stolen it during her moving sale the previous weekend. The stone had been loose and needed remounting, and she had been afraid of losing it. She put it into her jewelry box for safe-keeping and it disappeared.
“I have looked everywhere,” she said, “I guess I’m going to have to file a police report.”
“Good God,” I thought, “please give this poor woman a break.” I handed her a glass jar of chocolate calcium chews, calcium chews that she obviously had not been taking. My heart ached for her, for the loss of her husband, for the loss of her engagement ring, the symbol of their hopeful young love lost. She unscrewed the lid and reached into the jar and withdrew her hand. In it was the ring.
My friend has no idea how the ring got into that jar. A friend who witnessed this miracle said later, “I bet HE put it there.” Whether it was her departed husband, or God, I know not, but there is a part of me that believes both had a hand in it. I pray right now that what almost became the symbol of the loss of any hope for happiness, becomes instead the symbol of hope’s renewal. I think HE would want it that way.
Hope has been crowned. Let’s hope her reign is a long one.