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February 05, 2009 4:28 PM
The Little Girl in the Park
There was this little girl sitting by herself in the park. Everyone passed by her and never stopped to see why she looked so sad. Dressed in a worn pink dress, barefoot and dirty, the girl just sat and watched the people go by.
She never tried to speak, she never said a word. Many people passed but no one would stop. The next day I decided to go back to the park in curiosity to see if the little girl would still be there. Yes, she was there, right in the very spot as she was yesterday, and still with the sad look in her eyes.
Today I was to make my own move and walk over to the little girl. For as we all know, a park full of strange people is not a place for young children to play alone. As I got closer I could see the back of the little girl's dress was obscenely shaped. I figured that was the reason people just passed by and made no effort to help.
Deformities are a low blow to our society and, heaven forbid if you make a step toward assisting someone who is different. As I got closer, the little girl lowered her eyes slightly to avoid my intent stare. As I approached her, I could see the obscene shape of her back more clearly. She was grotesquely shaped in a humped-over form. I smiled to let her know it was OK, I was there to help, to talk. I sat down beside her and opened with a simple Hello.
The little girl acted shocked, and stammered a "hi," after a long stare into my eyes. I smiled and she shyly smiled back. We talked until darkness fell and the park was completely empty. I asked the girl why she was so sad. The little girl looked at me and with a sad face said, "Because I'm different."
I immediately said, "That you are!" and smiled. The little girl acted even sadder and said, "I know."
"Little girl," I said, "you remind me of an angel, sweet and innocent. She looked at me and smiled. Slowly she got to her feet and said, "Really?"
"Yes, you're like a little Guardian Angel sent to watch over all those people walking by."
She nodded her head yes, and smiled. With that she spread her wings and said, "I am. I'm your Guardian Angel," with a twinkle in her eye. I was speechless, sure I was seeing things. She said, "For once you thought of someone other than yourself. My job here is done.
" I got to my feet and said, "Wait. So why did no one stop to help an angel?" She looked at me and smiled, "You're the only one that could see me," and then she was gone. And with that, my life was changed dramatically.
So, when you think you're all you have, remember, your angel is always watching over you.
Sometimes we wonder, "What did I do to deserve this?" or "Why did God have to do this to me?" Here is a wonderful explanation! A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.
Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, "Absolutely Mom, I love your cake."
"Here, have some cooking oil," her Mother offers. "Yuck" says her daughter.
"How about a couple raw eggs?" "Gross, Mom!"
"Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?" "Mom, those are all yucky!"
To which the mother replies: "Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!
God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!
God is crazy about you. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning.
Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart.
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.
Nothing takes the place of your presence. Letters are nice. Phone calls are special, but being there in the flesh sends a message.
After Albert Einstein's wife died, his sister Maja, moved in to assist with the household affairs. For fourteen years she cared for him, allowing his valuable research to continue. In 1950 she suffered a stroke and lapsed into a coma. Thereafter, Einstein spent two hours every afternoon reading aloud to her from Plato. She gave no sign of understanding his words, but he read anyway. If she understood anything by his gesture, she understood this--he believed that she was worth his time.
How many people will you hug today? How many times will you share a smile, a kind word, or a pat on the back? How many times today will you demonstrate--by your words and your actions--that you are a caring person?
When you feel happy and secure, you may find it easy to share kind words and heartfelt hugs. But when you're discouraged or tired, it may seem difficult to encourage anyone (including yourself.)
'Love is a fruit in season and within reach of every hand'.
A mother becomes a true grandmother the day she stops noticing the terrible things her children do because she is so enchanted with the wonderful things her grandchildren do.
A grandmother is a lady who has no children of her own, so she likes other people's little girls. A grandfather is a man grandmother. He goes for walks with boys, and they talk about fishing and tractors and stuff like that.
Grandma's don't have to do anything except be there. They are old, so they shouldn't play hard or run. It is enough if they drive us to the market where the pretend horse is and have lots of dimes already. Or if they take us for walks, they slow down past things like pretty leaves of caterpillars. They should never "Hurry up."
Usually they are fat, but not too fat to tie kids' shoes. They wear glasses, and they can take their teeth and gums off. It is better if they don't typewrite or play cards except with us. They don't have to be smart, only answer questions like why dogs chase cats or how come God isn't married.
They don't talk baby talk like visitors do, because it is hard to understand. When they read to us they don't skip words or mind if it is the same story again.
Everybody should try to have one, especially if you don't have television, because grandma's are the only grown-ups who have got time.
Shannon's daughter, Miriam had a cold and was having trouble sleeping, so one night Shannon had the distinct pleasure of rocking her--for a long, long time--to sleep. They sat there in baby Miriam's dark room the rocking chair creaking slightly, slow breaths a little raspy from her cold. Her head was nuzzled to mom's neck, and her right hand softly gripped the fabric of Shannon's shirt.
Miriam's hand. It's a plump little thing, crimpled, smooth, and creamy white. Shannon always been fascinnated by children's hands, but tonight as she looked at Miriam's, she was overwhelmed with happiness, and a little sadness, to think of where those hands will travel. Tonight they're flawless little hands, untested by life's challenges and inexperienced in its joys. But where will those little hands go tomorrow, and the next day and the next?
One day soon those little hands will let go of mom's as she takes her first step.
They'll grasp a pencil as she clumsily but surely learns to write.
They'll grip bicycle handlebars with a mix of joy and horror as mom runs behind her holding on, almost ready to go.
In her teenage years those hands will wipe away many adolescent tears and slam many doors, Shannon plays her cards right, they'll reach out for hers every now and then.
They'll pack her belongings as she leaves home. And they'll open the front door again as she comes to visit.
How Shannon prayed those precious hands spend more time spread open in joy, rather clench in anguish. But wherever they travel, Shannon hopes they're often clasped in prayer. She hopes they're helpful hands, and merciful ones.
They'll wear diamond from a handsome young man, and they'll loosely hold her father's tuxedoe arm, eager to reach out for her future at the end of the aisle.
Those hands will grasp the bedsheets in pain as she fights to deliver her child, and they'll tremble in joy when she holds him or her for the first time. They'll feel many little foreheads, apply many band-aids, and hold open many books. And then, one night, she'll rock that baby to sleep, and she'll stare in bittersweet wonder at those little hands.
Nora's family was separated and placed into foster care when she was five years old. They grew up living in separate homes never knowing each other. As Nora grew older, the only memory that remained of her family was of a tall slender woman always being there to comfort her. In her mind, this woman was her mother. She believed that someday she would return and life would be normal again. She was in Nora's prayers throughout her childhood.
On Thanksgiving Day, which was Nora's forty-fifth birthday, there wasn't much to celebrate. Her son was moving to another state, and she was feeling not only older but also sad to losing the closeness of the only family she knew. A card arrived in the mail with a return name address of someone she didn't recognize. Opening it, she found a Thanksgiving wish with a short note reading, 'I was thinking of you on your birthday, Mom.' The memories of the tall, slender woman flashed through her mind. Nora's feelings felt like a roller coaster going from anger to extreeme happiness in moments. If this was my mother, why had she abandoned us? Why didn't she ever come to get me? Why would she be writing now, after all these years? At that same time she wanted to hear her mother's voice and feel her warmth.
For two weeks, the card lay on the table tearing at her heart. Finally, summing up the courage to call information, Nora got her mother's number. Holding her breath and trying to calm her heart, she dialed. On the fifth ring, she felt relief that no one was answering. Then, just as she was about to hang up, a voice from the past said, "Hello". Unsure of what to say Nora asked to whom she was speaking. It turned out to be her older sister who was cleaning their mother's apartment. Two weeks after sending the card, Nora's mom died.
As they talked, reaquainting themselves, Nora asked what her mom looked like. Her sister was surprised that Nora didn't remember. She told Nora Mom was very short, stocky lady. Then who was the tall, slender woman I remember?
As they continued their conversation, their family and their life began returning to her.
Her older sister was seven when their mother left them. Four years , she was the one caring for them, keeping them safe, cooking their meals, and drying their tears. She was the one holding Nora at night when nightmares woke her, singing her songs, wiping her tears when she was scared. It was her sister who told her to run and lock herself in the bathroom as she tried to keep foster care from taking them away.
They talked for hours that night, reminiscing about the past. She had found their brother and baby sister, and they make plans to reunite after forty years of separation. Neither one of them wanted the night to end, but as dawn approached they finally gave in. "By the way", Nora asked before hanging up. "how tall are you?"
She answered, "Five-foot-nine, why?"
"Because you were the tall, slender woman who made the difference in my life." She was crying as Nora said, "Good night, I love you."
"Oh, no! Not company!" I groaned, the moment my car rounded the corner and our house came into full view. Usually I'd be thrilled to see four cars lined up in our driveway, but after I spent a weeklong vigil at the hospital with an ill child, my house was a colossal mess. Turning off the car engine, I dragged myself to the front door.
"What are you doing home so soon?" my friend Judie called from the kitchen. "We weren't expecting you for another hour! We thought we'd be long gone before you got home." She walked toward me and gave me a hug, then asked softly, "How are you doing?"
Was this my house? Was I dreaming? Everything looked so clean. Where did these flowers come from?
Suddenly more voices, more hugs. Lorraine, smiling and wiping beads of perspiration from her forehead, came up from the family room where she had just finished ironing a mountain of clean clothes. Regina peeked into the kitchen, having finished vacuuming rugs and polishing and dusting furniture in every room in the house. Joan, still upstairs wrestling with the boys' bunk-bed sheets, called down her "Hello," having already brought order out of chaos in all four bedrooms.
"When did you guys get here?" was my last coherent sentence. My tears came in great heaving waves. "How come . . . how come . . . you did all this?" I cried unashamedly, every ounce of resistance gone.
I had spent the week praying through a health crisis, begging God for a sense of his presence at the hospital. Instead, he laid a mantle of order, beauty and loving care into our home through these four "angels."
"You rest a while, Virelle," Lorraine said firmly. "Here's your dinner for tonightthere are more meals in the freezer." The table was set with flowers and fancy napkins, and a little gift was at my place. A small banquet was arranged, complete with salad and dessert.
"Don't you worry; we're all praying," my friends said. "God has everything under control."
After my friends left, I wandered from room to room, still sobbing from the enormity of their gift of time and work. I found beautiful floral arrangements in every room . . . and little wrapped gifts on each bed. More tears.
In the living room I found a note under a vase filled with peonies. I was to have come home and found it as their only identity: "The Love Squad was here."
By my teenage daughters' standards, her purse was huge. Theirs were tiny things that could barely hold a lipstick and compact; they wore them on their shoulders just under their arm. Grandma's handbag, suspended by thick, black leather straps, hung down on her hip. It was big enough to hold everything you could possibly want.
One day we were all in the car when my daughter Shazara spilled some drink on the back seat. "Mom, do you have any napkins?"
"No," I replied.
Suddenly, Grandma reached for her handbag on the car floor near her feet and opened it wide. Her head almost disappeared inside as she rummaged around, pulling out a handful of napkins.
"There you go, sweetheart," she said as she handed them to Shazara. In my rearview mirror I could see my two daughters sitting there with a huge grins on their faces.
"Mom, there's a thread hanging from my T-shirt," Reece called out. Again opening the jaws of her handbag, Grandma rummaged in the darkness of her purse and retrieved a pair of scissors.
"There you go, love, " she said, handing it to the girls in the backseat. They sat with wide grins on their faces that itched with orneriness.
"Mom, I need a knife and fork!" said Shazara, trying hard to sound serious about her request.
Again Grandma opened her bag and her head disappeared into its depths. She handed Shazara a neatly wrapped plastic knife and fork in a white napkin. "Here you are, Shazara."
I could see the girls' faces, looking quite amazed. Surely they weren't going to ask their Grandma for anything else.
"Oh no, my hands are sticky," Reece complained. "Have you got anything that I can wash my hands with, Grandma?"
Again, she delved into the black handbag. I could see the girls waiting in anticipation to see what Grandma was about to produce from her bag this time.
"Here you go," she said, passing a wet tissue in a sealed packet to Reece.
We all laughed out loud when Reece joked, "For a minute, Grandma, I thought you were going to bring out the kitchen sink!"