Monday, May 28, 2012

Prayers and Angels

On March 20, 2003, my youngest son and his Marine unit crossed the central desert of Iraq on their way to Bagdad.  The war had just begun.

He was twenty-one years old at the time.  At home on that day, his high school friends worried about college classes, making it to work on time, and what to plan for Saturday night.

I had spent every moment since his deployment in January, praying for his safety, though I acknowleded that God’s will would be done.  Because of the seriousness of war, I, and many others, prayed that God would cover my precious son with His angels, so that he would have the strength and courage to face whatever happened.

My son came home that year in September, and he shared many miraculous escapes from death. The most amazing happened on March 20th.

As they crossed the desert, a huge sandstorm blew in.  It was so blinding that they “circled the wagons,” silenced their radios, and waited for it to abate.  They were defenseless in the storm. They occasionally saw flashes of light up ahead, but lightening sometimes accompanies these sandstorms. 

The next day the Air Force told them that a huge contingent of Iraqi army had crossed the desert during the storm. What they had seen were explosions and gun fire. Had the smaller Marine unit continued on their route, they would have crossed paths.  They would have been among the first casualties of the war.  The Air Force said the sandstorm had saved their lives.

Between you and me, God sent His angels to stir up the sandstorm.  They had saved the Marines’ lives in answer to our prayers.   

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Forgive and Forget

While reading Facebook statuses one day, one of my friends advised others to “forgive and forget.”

That saying just irks me. Those who truly believe this have never had to put it to practice or never had to do it more than once. It becomes useless and laughable otherwise.

Back when I was married before, we often sought marital counseling.  Every professional advised me to not only forgive my husband for his transgression, but I also needed to erase what he had done from my memory in order to truly move forward in our reconciliation.

I argued he shouldn’t have transgressed in the first place, and he was lucky I was trying to move past what he had done, but it would be virtually and clinically impossible to forget.

The men (yes, they were all men) admonished me that one couldn’t happen without the other.  In true forgiveness, you erase the hurt, you don’t keep referring to it, and you don’t dwell on it – ever. That makes sense if you are dealing with someone who is truly repentant.

In my case, it didn’t matter how many times I forgave my husband, he never gave me enough time between transgressions to forget any of them. 

I finally decided I had had enough professional advice and thought it out for myself.

Forgive and forget? Okay.

I forgave the counselors for not knowing diddley about real life and then charging me for it.  I forgave my husband for using this as an opportunity to excuse his lack of morals. And I forgave myself for falling for all this mumbo jumbo.

Then I said “forget this” to the marriage and went on with my life.  I had better things to do than to waste it on someone who didn’t deserve to be in it. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Detention Hall

One by one, they trickle in.  Each one sent here for different infractions. No one says a word.  They each keep to themselves.

One young female scrapes her chair in defiance.  She throws her notebook on the table and grunts as she drops her weight onto the seat.  She looks about the room daring anyone to make eye contact, daring anyone to say anything.

A male yanks the classroom door open and saunters in.  He is followed by a female half his size. She struggles with a backpack, but he doesn’t notice or doesn’t care.  He walks over to two empty chairs and plops down.  She perches in the seat next to him. He snarls something at her and she nods.  He snarls again and she places a hand on his arm and attempts a smile. He glares at everyone in the room.

The instructor adjusts an overhead.  She moves stacks of folders from one place to another. The students are confined here for twelve hours and then they will be gone, nothing more. She goes over the agenda, and the only time she directs her eyes at anything is when she uses a laser pointer on the overhead presentation.

Her cavalier attitude causes one person to snicker and another to make a face. Two or three students look at each other for the first time and smile.  The coldness in the room starts to melt.  

The sixteen adults are newly-diagnosed diabetics and are here to learn about their disease and how to manage it. They are frightened and seek some compassion.  So what if they can’t have a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down, but what about a little tenderness?

The young woman with the attitude is embarrassed to be diabetic. She hasn’t told her family; only her husband knows. The big man with the little wife cries like a baby.  He's afraid. Some of the students are angry at themselves. Most want to blame someone, anyone, for their condition.

Besides the physiological aspect of this disease, all want to discuss why they feel this way.  They want someone to care.

Monday, May 7, 2012


A striking, raven-haired beauty steps out of a yellow taxi cab. I have been playing in the yard, but I stop what I am doing and gravitate toward her. A breeze blows her long, curly hair into her face and she shakes it out of the way with a toss of her head.  She cradles a small bundle in her arms.  I am curious why it is wrapped in a blanket when it is so hot outside, and I want a peek at this thing.  I watch my mama as she walks past me, a crowd follows in her wake and I follow too.

I am three years old and this is the earliest memory I have of my mother, the day she brought my baby sister home from the hospital. Mama was twenty-five then; she is 84 now, and she is still the most striking woman I know.  She still amazes me; I still follow in her wake.  

*   *   *

 A son needs advice.  My carne guisada gets raves. My grandson asks for a song or a story to go with our play.

None of these actions are mine; I learned them from my grandmother.   

Ene lived with us during all my childhood.  She raised me while my mother worked, so her words pour out of my mouth; her actions guide mine; how I interact with others are her influence.  I imitate her and take the credit, but there are days I wish she were here to give me even more guidance.

On those days, I talk to the air knowing she hears me. I wait and I listen. What I wouldn’t do to have her with me once again.  I miss her.

Happy Mother’s Day, ladies.