She swallows her pride, put her feelings aside.
I want to relate an event which happened nearly 10 years ago. I was 9 at that time, still a small child back then. It happened in a village in Alibaug a place in Maharashtra in India during the summer holidays.
We (my mom and me) were at the beach for quite some time when we decided to go back. Normally, after walking for about 10 minutes, we would reach the hotel.
My mom asked her friend where our sandals were (we were still at the beach). Her friend pointed in some direction, and my mom then went there. However, soon mom realised we were lost.
We were now in a quite a big jungle. And since it was noon, the ground was quite hot and my mom had to carry me. I was scared. I didn’t understand then, our plight, mom was in a big jungle with her 9-year-old kid and completely lost.
I was scared and didn’t know what to do. So I began to pray. As a child, the only prayer I knew was “Our Father” and “God Our Protector” (Psalms 92). I don’t remember which of the two I prayed, but I do remember my mother telling me that as soon I had finished praying, a woman stood before my mother. The woman gave mom her chappal (slippers) and told my mom that she had crossed an entire village and currently was in a different village. That woman safely took us back to the hotel we were staying at.
My parents told me it was that kind woman who helped mom back then. However, I know it was Master Yahuwah (LORD) who helped us.
I never thought I would be writing about a trip to the convenient store, but this trip was like no other. It seemed like a typical November day, two years ago, as I walked out of Walgreens. It was just a month after my grandmother had passed away and I spent my days running useless errands hoping to fill the void in my heart and distract me from the pain.
As I attempted to walk out of the store, I was frustrated by everything that was going on around me which was a very common feeling during this time. I was angry because I couldn’t even remember what I went there to buy so I ended up spending over $20 on nonsense just to waste time and money, both of which I didn’t have.
I was mad and confused at everyone. Especially, the young girl walking through the store holding her grandmother’s hand. The little girl was begging her grandmother for ice cream just like I use to when I was little, before I was old enough to know that there are bigger problems than a lack of sugar. There is heartache and pain in this world. Before I was old enough to understand that one day my grandmother wouldn’t be here with me. “Here is $20 my sweetie,” the woman said, “Keep it for later and well get you some Mr. Softy.”
As I carried on, I remembered all of the times my cousins and I would play outside of my grandma’s house, waiting patiently to hear the sounds of the Mr. Softy truck. The minute we heard it, no matter how far it may have been, we would run inside smothering my grandma with hugs and kisses while begging for some money. No matter how many times she would say, “Remember kids, no ice cream today,” everyday we would ask and every time she would always end up giving each of us exactly $20. Obviously, we all know that ice cream doesn’t cost this much, but that was my grandma, always giving more than she ever had to give.
Who knew that I, an 18 year old, could be jealous of a three-year-old little girl wearing pink slippers and a Dora the Explorer backpack,
but I was, because at the end of the day she had something I didn’t have anymore. A grandmother by her side.
I had to force myself to ignore the little girl who others kept calling “cute” and “adorable” when I simply thought she was nothing but obnoxious. She was just too happy for me and that was unacceptable, at this time, in my world.
I continued to the register to pay for my things, none of which I even remembered picking until I placed them on the counter. It was than that my anger quickly shifted from the little girl who seemed to have everything to the cashier who didn’t have anything, not even my change. She had to bring my things to another register which just felt like a waste of time. Everything felt like a waste of my time. When the cashier gave me my change I didn’t say thank you. I didn’t say have a good day. I simply took my change and left.
Feeling exhausted and hopeless, I began walking to my car. Every step seemed draining, and every step was another to survive. As I looked up into the sky I thought about how my grandmother had left me, and my anger began to return. I was outraged by the loss, and my belief in God was beginning to diminish. I couldn’t understand why these things happened. So as I stood in a public parking lot a million questions formed in my mind. Why did this happen to me? Aren’t we supposed to get signs from the people that pass on? Why did I not feel her presence anymore? Is there a heaven?
Suddenly, a woman driving right by my side rolled down her window and distracted my unanswered thoughts. “Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me,” she said loudly. Thinking she was going to ask for my parking spot, I simply pointed to my car. The thought of having to verbalize where my car was seemed like too much to bear. “No, excuse me,” she said again.
At this point, I felt I had no choice but to see what this annoying lady wanted. As I got closer though I was startled-was this my grandmother’s nurse, Adu, who lived with her during her final months? I soon realized that she wasn’t, although the resemblance was uncanny. Then, I realized that this Adu look a like was searching for something in her bag. Surprisingly, I was overcome by a sense a relief that lead me to be patient the entire time the lady was searching. Others would be nervous by a stranger reaching in their bag unanimously, but I wasn’t. Under a clutter of makeup, money, pens, and other belongings, she finally reached to the very bottom of her bag and handed me a three page booklet. “It looks like you need this,” she said calmly with a warm smile on her face.
I looked down at the mysterious and obviously used pamphlet and on the front cover in big bold letters read “What Hope for Dead Loved Ones?”
It took me only a few seconds to comprehend the exchange with this woman, but by the time I looked up, she was gone.
I walked slowly into my car gripping the tiny little book that was given to me with fear that it would fly away in the wind. I didn’t know what it was exactly, but I knew that if my grandmother had anything to do with this that I didn’t want to let it go.
I felt a sense of relaxation as I opened the first page. It explained how people pass on, but their spirit remains with us. This was the first time since my grandma had passed that I felt her with me, just like I had wanted. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but I did
know that I finally felt happiness from the surprising change in events.
I couldn’t, and still can’t, believe what had happened to me on that day. I don’t remember the specific details that you usually hear about like what the person was wearing, the time of day, or even the weather, but it doesn’t matter. It was a random day in November when my life turned back around and I began to feel hope again. It was real. It was a miracle. And, I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.
A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away.
As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb sobbing.
He asked her what was wrong and she replied, “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother. But I only have seventy-five cents, and a rose costs two dollars.”
The man smiled and said, “Come on in with me. I’ll buy you a rose.”
He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother’s flowers.
As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride home. She said, “Yes, please! You can take me to my mother.”
She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.
The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to his mother’s house.
A great Japanese warrior named Nobunaga decided to attack the enemy although he had only one-tenth the number of men the opposition commanded. He knew that he would win, but his soldiers were in doubt.
On the way he stopped at a Shinto shrine and told his men: “After I visit the shrine I will toss a coin. If heads comes, we will win; if tails, we will lose. Destiny holds us in her hand.”
Nobunaga entered the shrine and offered a silent prayer. He came forth and tossed a coin. Heads appeared. His soldiers were so eager to fight that they won their battle easily.
“No one can change the hand of destiny,” his attendant told him after the battle.
“Indeed not,” said Nobunaga, showing a coin which had been doubled, with heads facing either way.
A CHILD went up to a lark and said: “Good lark, have you any young ones?”
“Yes, child, I have,” said the mother lark, “and they are very pretty ones, indeed.” Then she pointed to the little birds and said: “This is Fair Wing, that is Tiny Bill, and that other is Bright Eyes.”
“At home, we are three,” said the child, “myself and two sisters. Mother says that we are pretty children, and she loves us.”
To this the little larks replied: “Oh, yes, our mother is fond of us, too.”
“Good mother lark,” said the child, “will you let Tiny Bill go home with me and play?”
Before the mother lark could reply, Bright Eyes said: “Yes, if you will send your little sister to play with us in our nest.”
“Oh, she will be so sorry to leave home,” said the child; “she could not come away from our mother.”
“Tiny Bill will be so sorry to leave our nest,” answered Bright Eyes, “and he will not go away from our mother.”
Then the child ran away to her mother, saying: “Ah, every one is fond of home!”
A mother sat there with her little child. She was so downcast, so afraid that it should die! It was so pale, the small eyes had closed themselves, and it drew its breath so softly, now and then, with a deep respiration, as if it sighed; and the mother looked still more sorrowfully on the little creature.
Then a knocking was heard at the door, and in came a poor old man wrapped up as in a large horse-cloth, for it warms one, and he needed it, as it was the cold winter season! Everything out-of doors was covered with ice and snow, and the wind blew so that it cut the face.
As the old man trembled with cold, and the little child slept a moment, the mother went and poured some ale into a pot and set it on the stove, that it might be warm for him; the old man sat and rocked the cradle, and the mother sat down on a chair close by him, and looked at her little sick child that drew its breath so deep, and raised its little hand.
“Do you not think that I shall save him?” said she. “Our Lord will not take him from me!”
And the old man–it was Death himself–he nodded so strangely, it could just as well signify yes as no. And the mother looked down in her lap, and the tears ran down over her cheeks; her head became so heavy–she had not closed her eyes for three days and nights; and now she slept, but only for a minute, when she started up and trembled with cold.
“What is that?” said she, and looked on all sides; but the old man was gone, and her little child was gone–he had taken it with him; and the old clock in the corner burred, and burred, the great leaden weight ran down to the floor, bump! and then the clock also stood still.
But the poor mother ran out of the house and cried aloud for her child.
Out there, in the midst of the snow, there sat a woman in long, black clothes; and she said, “Death has been in thy chamber, and I saw him hasten away with thy little child; he goes faster than the wind, and he never brings back what he takes!”
“Oh, only tell me which way he went!” said the mother. “Tell me the way, and I shall find him!”
“I know it!” said the woman in the black clothes. “But before I tell it, thou must first sing for me all the songs thou hast sung for thy child! I am fond of them. I have heard them before; I am Night; I saw thy tears whilst thou sang’st them!”
“I will sing them all, all!” said the mother. “But do not stop me now–I may overtake him–I may find my child!”
But Night stood still and mute. Then the mother wrung her hands, sang and wept, and there were many songs, but yet many more tears; and then Night said, “Go to the right, into the dark pine forest; thither I saw Death take his way with thy little child!”
The roads crossed each other in the depths of the forest, and she no longer knew whither she should go! then there stood a thorn-bush; there was neither leaf nor flower on it, it was also in the cold winter season, and ice-flakes hung on the branches.
“Hast thou not seen Death go past with my little child?” said the mother.
“Yes,” said the thorn-bush; “but I will not tell thee which way he took, unless thou wilt first warm me up at thy heart. I am freezing to death; I shall become a lump of ice!”
And she pressed the thorn-bush to her breast, so firmly, that it might be thoroughly warmed, and the thorns went right into her flesh, and her blood flowed in large drops, but the thornbush shot forth fresh green leaves, and there came flowers on it in the cold winter night, the heart of the afflicted mother was so warm; and the thorn-bush told her the way she should go.
She then came to a large lake, where there was neither ship nor boat. The lake was not frozen sufficiently to bear her; neither was it open, nor low enough that she could wade through it; and across it she must go if she would find her child! Then she lay down to drink up the lake, and that was an impossibility for a human being, but the afflicted mother thought that a miracle might happen nevertheless.
“Oh, what would I not give to come to my child!” said the weeping mother; and she wept still more, and her eyes sunk down in the depths of the waters, and became two precious pearls; but the water bore her up, as if she sat in a swing, and she flew in the rocking waves to the shore on the opposite side, where there stood a mile-broad, strange house, one knew not if it were a mountain with forests and caverns, or if it were built up; but the poor mother could not see it; she had wept her eyes out.
“Where shall I find Death, who took away my little child?” said she.
“He has not come here yet!” said the old grave woman, who was appointed to look after Death’s great greenhouse! “How have you been able to find the way hither? And who has helped you?”
“Our Lord has helped me,” said she. “He is merciful, and you will also be so! Where shall I find my little child?”
“Nay, I know not,” said the woman, “and you cannot see! Many flowers and trees have withered this night; Death will soon come and plant them over again! You certainly know that every person has his or her life’s tree or flower, just as everyone happens to be settled; they look like other plants, but they have pulsations of the heart. Children’s hearts can also beat; go after yours, perhaps you may know your child’s; but what will you give me if I tell you what you shall do more?”
“I have nothing to give,” said the afflicted mother, “but I will go to the world’s end for you!”
“Nay, I have nothing to do there!” said the woman. “But you can give me your long black hair; you know yourself that it is fine, and that I like! You shall have my white hair instead, and that’s always something!”
“Do you demand nothing else?” said she. “That I will gladly give you!” And she gave her her fine black hair, and got the old woman’s snow-white hair instead.
So they went into Death’s great greenhouse, where flowers and trees grew strangely into one another. There stood fine hyacinths under glass bells, and there stood strong-stemmed peonies; there grew water plants, some so fresh, others half sick, the water-snakes lay down on them, and black crabs pinched their stalks. There stood beautiful palm-trees, oaks, and plantains; there stood parsley and flowering thyme: every tree and every flower had its name; each of them was a human life, the human frame still lived–one in China, and another in Greenland–round about in the world. There were large trees in small pots, so that they stood so stunted in growth, and ready to burst the pots; in other places, there was a little dull flower in rich mould, with moss round about it, and it was so petted and nursed. But the distressed mother bent down over all the smallest plants, and heard within them how the human heart beat; and amongst millions she knew her child’s.
“There it is!” cried she, and stretched her hands out over a little blue crocus, that hung quite sickly on one side.
“Don’t touch the flower!” said the old woman. “But place yourself here, and when Death comes–I expect him every moment–do not let him pluck the flower up, but threaten him that you will do the same with the others. Then he will be afraid! He is responsible for them to our Lord, and no one dares to pluck them up before he gives leave.”
All at once an icy cold rushed through the great hall, and the blind mother could feel that it was Death that came. “How hast thou been able to find thy way hither?” he asked. “How couldst thou come quicker than I?” “I am a mother,” said she.
And Death stretched out his long hand towards the fine little flower, but she held her hands fast around his, so tight, and yet afraid that she should touch one of the leaves. Then Death blew on her hands, and she felt that it was colder than the cold wind, and her hands fell down powerless.
“Thou canst not do anything against me!” said Death.
“But our Lord can!” said she.
“I only do His bidding!” said Death. “I am His gardener, I take all His flowers and trees, and plant them out in the great garden of Paradise, in the unknown land; but how they grow there, and how it is there I dare not tell thee.”
“Give me back my child!” said the mother, and she wept and prayed. At once she seized hold of two beautiful flowers close by, with each hand, and cried out to Death, “I will tear all thy flowers off, for I am in despair.”
“Touch them not!” said Death. “Thou say’st that thou art so unhappy, and now thou wilt make another mother equally unhappy.”
“Another mother!” said the poor woman, and directly let go her hold of both the flowers.
“There, thou hast thine eyes,” said Death; “I fished them up from the lake, they shone so bright; I knew not they were thine. Take them again, they are now brighter than before; now look down into the deep well close by; I shall tell thee the names of the two flowers thou wouldst have torn up, and thou wilt see their whole future life–their whole human existence: and see what thou wast about to disturb and destroy.”
And she looked down into the well; and it was a happiness to see how the one became a blessing to the world, to see how much happiness and joy were felt everywhere. And she saw the other’s life, and it was sorrow and distress, horror, and wretchedness.
“Both of them are God’s will!” said Death.
“Which of them is Misfortune’s flower and which is that of Happiness?” asked she.
“That I will not tell thee,” said Death; “but this thou shalt know from me, that the one flower was thy own child! it was thy child’s fate thou saw’st–thy own child’s future life!”
Then the mother screamed with terror, “Which of them was my child? Tell it me! Save the innocent! Save my child from all that misery! Rather take it away! Take it into God’s kingdom! Forget my tears, forget my prayers, and all that I have done!”
“I do not understand thee!” said Death. “Wilt thou have thy child again, or shall I go with it there, where thou dost not know!”
Then the mother wrung her hands, fell on her knees, and prayed to our Lord: “Oh, hear me not when I pray against Thy will, which is the best! hear me not! hear me not!”
And she bowed her head down in her lap, and Death took her child and went with it into the unknown land.