Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Signs and Wonders
When something is bothering you, either you want someone to talk to or you maybe don't want to talk to anyone at all. Lately something important (well, actually quite a few important things really but one very major thing in particular) has been bothering me. And the only person I could have reasonably discussed this with was my mother. But she has been dead for nearly ten years (well, actually, it will be exactly ten years on the eve of my next birthday that I had to choose to end the life support that she was resolutely against).
I have been wishing for her guidance.
If there was anything I wanted prayer about, any matter of faith that required discussion, anything that needed the wisdom of experience, my mother was the person who would listen intelligently and she was the person to ask in helping to find solutions. Mother was Not an easy-going person but she was absolutely trustworthy and when it came to prayer, she was willing to storm the gates of heaven.
Now, Mother was very concerned about her personal appearance, and she always dressed beautifully no matter what. I've already mentioned her predilection for the beauty parlor--she spent every Friday at the hair salon, Every Friday. Always. She was always perfectly made-up and looking good. Folks at her job called her The Barbie Doll because they admired her perky appearance.
When she was comatose and quite literally at death's door in the ICU, she couldn't stop fussing and fidgeting. The nurses couldn't understand it. But I knew. Mother calmed right down when I put her wig back on her head. If she didn't look good, she could not relax. That was just her way.
After she went through radiation for kidney cancer, her eyelashes were gone forever and that upset Mother very much. That's when she discovered individual glue-on eyelashes. She loved them. And every day for the rest of her life, she sat at her dressing table each morning and glued her eyelashes in place.
The eyelashes were little fly-away things--just little clumps of short hairs, about four or five in a bundle--and fly away is just what they did. No matter whether Mother had removed the eyelashes herself or whether they floated off on their own, those eyelashes wound up everywhere in the house. It wasn't unusual to find them stuck to items that came out of the washing machine or attached to the furniture. Many times I found myself having to pick a clump of eyelashes off Mother's clothing before we went out in public.
But, as I said, Mother is long gone. And I had actually not thought of nor seen any of the fly-away eyelashes in years.....until today.
Today I've been neatening the house and doing laundry, so I decided to change the sheets. When I pulled back the quilt, lo and behold, there was one of Mother's eyelashes. An eyelash clump squarely in the middle of the blanket. Now, let me say that I've only had this blanket for two years; Mother has been gone for ten. Everything in the house has been cleaned, cleared, dusted, and polished many, many times in this past decade. The washing machine has been replaced twice. There is no way, absolutely no way, that one of Mother's eyelashes should turn up in the middle of the bed while I was changing sheets.
And there is something that no one, absolutely no one, ever knew except Mother and me. I've never told a soul. It was a silly little custom we had. If I was feeling worried or sad, my mother would say, "Let's go change your sheets and change your luck. Change has to begin somewhere." And then we'd go change the bed together. This was something so important to me--just a small thing but so important because it was so reassuring. My mother was a person who gave advice freely and who prayed with abandon but was only very, very rarely reassuring. That was just her way.
So today, I feel a sense of that rare old reassurance. Somehow things will work out; everything will be okay. It's surprising how much can rest on an eyelash.
Life is good.
I have a feeling that my mother is still storming heaven.