My Aunt P. and Uncle R. are special people. They met when Aunt P. was riding her bike and was hit by a car. Uncle R. was the “Good Samaritan” who stopped to help her. That’s been pretty much the shape of their relationship since then: they help each other, and they help other people. When they realized that they couldn’t have children of their own, they became foster parents. I’m not sure if they were ever given the choice of the ages of the kids they were to care for, but they took in the teenagers: the kids who’ve been bounced around in the system. The ones with a lifetime of abuse, neglect, and the scars – both physical & emotional – to show for it. They took them in, and loved them as if they were their own. As time went by, they became “grandparents” and cared for some of their grandchildren. Their house was always full. There was always someone home, even if it was just the dogs or the sheep they keep. So, it seemed only natural when the last of the “kids” left, that they should take in someone else. That’s when Levi came to stay, and then Pedro. My mom describes them as folks who “just need a little help”. I’m not sure of the extent of their disabilities, but Pedro seems to me to need a bit more than “just a little”. But to my aunt and uncle, it doesn’t seem to be anything but a joy to help him, and as Aunt P. says with a smile “he’s such a Love!”
This brings me to Easter Sunday at my parents’ house.
I was having a conversation with Aunt P. & she mentioned to me that the other day she was driving along & suddenly felt sad. Deeply and profoundly sad that she never was able to have any children of her own. She said that’s when she felt that God was speaking to her, and He said “I gave you Pedro.” In an instant, she felt better. Joyful. Grateful. Happy.
Now, normally, I try to stay away from the topic of God. Belief or disbelief in God is a deeply personal thing. It brings people together, but it is also something that polarizes. As for me, belief in God is something that I try very hard not to struggle with. A strange way to phrase it, I know. You see, I have a memory. As a child, I thought it was an actual memory of a time before I was born. I was with God. I was without form, but I was me. God told me I was going to be born, and where, and my job (for lack of a better word) was to not forget Him (again, I lack a better word). He told me I might fail. I promised that I wouldn’t. A promise to God is a serious thing, and I felt that everything depended on me succeeding – Succeeding in believing. Now that I’m older, the rational part of my brain ( and I do actually pride myself in being rational, despite all my little quirks and obsessions) tells me it was very likely a memory of a dream. This makes me sad. It makes me feel sick inside, so I try very hard not to allow myself to debate His existence. I try very hard to keep any belief – or doubt – I have to myself. I call myself an Agnostic Theist: I choose to believe in God, but allow that there is the possibility that I am wrong. And that makes me sad, too, that I should even allow for such a thing.
When I am at peace, I marvel at the universe and the beauty of this world and feel – actually feel – God’s presence in something as simple as a flower, or in the air itself. I feel lighter – actually, for a brief moment, I feel like light; and I am so grateful to have been put here on this beautiful planet. It’s wonderful. Then “reality” pushes in, and it has its way of fighting light with reason. I shouldn’t have to look for signs, and I don’t feel that I have the right to ask for them, but I wish for them and I try to keep those wishes from God. (As silly as I know that is). I think that’s why I – and humanity in general- love a good ghost story. I will swear up and down to my kids that there’s no such thing as a ghost, but I will listen in earnest to any of you with a tale of the supernatural to tell. I want you to have a real life ghost story, not because I want you to have been frightened out of your mind; but because it means that we really are more than flesh and blood. It’s a sign – or at least more than a hope that there is more. It means that I really am feeling God in the wind that blows through my hair; and I really was standing in blissful innocence next to Him before I was born; and He really did send my Aunt a man-child named Pedro, and in her moment of sorrow tell her so.
Tonight, when I pray I will quiet my mind, let my soul dance with the stars, and with a heart full of love and apology embrace what I believe is the light of God.