Archive for the ‘Story’ Category

Looking for a home (in town part 4)

by on Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

In town part 1

In town part 2

In town part 3

Today I was complaining to Hector about being homeless. I spent most of the morning walking around town looking for a place to live. Each place I found was either too expensive or I wouldn’t want to live there.

As we ate a late lunch Hector said, “What’s wrong with you Annay? You’re so blessed and you’re sitting here complaining.”

We talked for a while and then he asked me, “Annay, when was the last time you did something for someone else, for someone in need?”

“I’m Keeping you company, and you seem needy to me.”

“I’m being serious.” He stared at me with those deep blue eyes of his. “God made us to help others and if you’re not, then something is missing in your life”

I sat there silently for a while. I don’t really like it when Hector starts to get preachy – on the other hand I’ve learned that he’s usually right.

“I’m really busy right now,” I finally said, “I’m trying to find a place to live and a job.

“How about last week?”

“I was packing and getting ready for my birthday.”

“The week before that?”

“Collecting herbs for Master and finishing my project. ”

“And the week before that?”

“I was on a trip to White Water.”

“What is going to keep you from helping someone next week?”

Again we sat in silence.

“Life is just complicated. Don’t I have to take care of my self first?”

“No,” was all he said.

“No?” I asked lamely.

“No. You make choices every day. You only have so much time, so many resources. You have to choose how to use them. You made time to eat with me. You can choose to make time to help someone else.”

“I guess,” I said. “How about as soon as I get settled into my new place. I promise you can remind me.”

“How about right now?”

“Now? I’ve got to find someplace to live.” I protested.

“Will one hour make any difference? How many places have you looked at? How many more can you stand to look at today? Come on. I’ve got some friends I want you to meet.”

Hector started to get up and I didn’t know what to do so I got up too. He turned around and walked out of the inn and I found myself following him. We walked along the promenade and then headed into the lower part of town. We stopped outside of a little market.

“Do you have a silver piece?” he asked me.

“Sure.”

“Get it out.”

I did as Hector said.

“Good. Now we’re going to go in and buy some treats for my friends.”

“But why would I want to spend my money to buy your friends some treats?”

“Trust me. When we’re done, if you don’t think it was a good way to spend a silver piece, I give you one back.”

I shrugged in defeat – whatever.

We walked into the store and Hector walked to a table that held fresh fruit.

“There are ten kids that I visit once a week. I bring them treats and we sit and talk. Jenny likes apples” Hector picked out a big red one. “Jimmy doesn’t like apples, his teeth aren’t very good, so I’ll get him a pear or a roll. Why don’t you get treats for five of the kids and I’ll get treats for the other five.”

“Sure,” I said and started look around the store.

“Don’t you want to know their names and what they like?”

“No. I think I can figure this out on my own. They’re kids right? I was a kid once. I’m sure I can pick something.”

Hector shook his head and I tried to ignore it. I looked around and decided to get five oranges and five sweet rolls. I gave the storeowner my silver piece and he gave me a few copper pieces in return.

Hector took a bit longer to finish his shopping and then we left. We finished walking down the hill into the lower town and then along the outer wall. The houses her were much smaller than the ones in the old town, and made of wood instead of stone. But some of them looked nice.

As we were walking along I noticed a “For Let” sign on one of the doors. I stopped to read the details, but Hector grabbed my arm and pulled me down the street.

“We don’t have time to stop – we’ll be late.”

“But that apartment looks nice. I want to see how much they want.”

“You can do that later. Right now there are ten kids waiting for us.”

I sighed, but followed Hector. We kept walking and as we did the quality of the houses we were passing kept getting lower. We finally stopped by a small open square between some stone buildings. Ten kids were play tag – running and screaming and kicking up dust. As soon as the next child was tagged the game abruptly ended and they all came running over to Hector and me.

Each one in turned gave Hector a big hug. They all seemed glad to see him. After all the hugging was done, Hector pulled out the bag he had brought from, the market.

“Children. This is my good friend Annay. I hope you will treat her as nicely as you treat me.”

With that one of the little girls walked over to me. She curtsied, holding the edges of her old and tattered skirt. “I’m pleased to meet you, Annay. My name is Mary.”

I was a little taken aback; even I wasn’t that polite. I stood there a few moments and then I felt Hector’s elbow in my side. “I’m pleased to meet you too. Mary is a very pretty name.”

Mary smiled and threw her arms around me and squeezed me tight. I didn’t know what to do, but finally I put my hands around her too. Mary released me and looked up into my eyes. “You smell pretty.” She turned and ran back to the clump of kids.

Hector turned to me and smiled. I smiled back.

“Who wants a treat?” Hector called out. The kids gathered around him. “I brought treats for some of you, Annay brought them for the rest.” Hector started handing out treats and sending the other kids over to me.

Mary was the first to run over to me. As she did I noticed how skinny she was. She stopped in front of me a curtsied again. I reached into my bag and pulled out one of the oranges and one of the rolls. Mary took the orange and started to turn around.

“Mary, they’re both for you.”

Mary smiled at me. “Oh, thank you so much, but I can’t have any nuts – they make me sick. Thank you for the orange.” She skipped off.

I gave the other four children their orange and sweet roll, but the whole time I was really watching Mary. She sat on a barrel and struggle to get the orange’s peal off.

When all of the kids were off eating their treats, Hector walked over to me. “Here.” He handed me his bag and then nodded towards Mary. I looked in the bag and saw that it had a couple pieces of jerky in it. I looked up at Hector and he just nodded.

I slowly walked over to Mary and sat down in the dirt next to her.

“I have something else for you.” I opened the bag to show her its contents.

Mary smiled a big toothy smiled and reached in and took the two pieces of jerky. She then held one out to me. “You eat one. They’re so good” She held it there until I took it and then she started chewing on her own piece.

I sat there with Mary for ten minutes. We ate our jerky and I helped her finish peeling her orange. We talked about nothing and it felt great.

Later, as Hector and I walked back, I asked him, “Why did you give me the jerky?”

“Because I knew Mary would like it, and because I knew you would enjoy giving it to her, and because it was the right thing to do.”

“What do you mean the right thing to do?”

“You and I came down here together. We had a common mission – to meet some kids and make their day a little better. To do that we had to take care of each other and help each other to help them.”

“Even when I acted like a jerk in the store?”

“Especially then. I knew that I was bringing you into something you didn’t have any experience with. It would not have been very loving of me to let you just fail.”

“You wanted us to work together and I wanted to do it by myself.”

“True enough. Your desire to be an individual, to be in charge of what you were doing, kept you from being part of a community. I was letting God be in charge, so I was looking out for you.”

“And before, when I didn’t even want to help?”

“You were focused on yourself, on what you needed and wanted. You couldn’t even think about helping someone else because you felt insecure about your own situation. I felt that way too, the first time I met these kids. I had just been robbed and wanted my coin purse back, but God had other plans.”

“And why did you make me spend my own silver piece? These are your friends?”

“Two reasons. I wanted you to feel like this mattered to you personally. Sure, you gave up some time, but you gave your money too. If you had just come down and watched me interact with the kids it wouldn’t have meant anything to you. It was in giving that you could really experience the joy. What was the difference between giving the kids the oranges and giving Mary the piece of jerky?”

“The oranges weren’t special. I just grabbed them because they were the first things that seem good enough. The jerky was special to Mary. It wasn’t just a treat, it was a gift that said she is special enough to get a special gift.”

“The other reason was that I wanted you to see that your possessions can either be something that keeps you from helping others or the means to help them. You didn’t want to spend your silver piece, right?”

“Right.”

“But now that you did, are you glad? Would you have rather spent my silver piece to buy treats?”

“No. I’m glad I did. I just wish I would have listened to you and picked special gifts.”

“So, do you want you sliver piece back?”

I threw my arms around him as we walked, which made him quite uncomfortable.

“Do you still want to look at that apartment,” Hector asked as he pointed up the street.

I let go of him, which was probably his plan and ran up to the door. The sign was still there. As I read it, Hector knocked on the door of the adjoining house. A woman came to the door.

“Mrs. Jenkens, I think my friend might be interested in your apartment. This is Annay.”

Mrs. Jenkens walked over and greeted me. She told me the apartment was still available but that it was too dark to show it. She told me I could come down first thing in the morning to see it.

I can’t wait and I feel so good. I might have some place to live tomorrow and I was able to find the time to make some kids’ lives a little happier today. I wonder if Hector planned the whole thing.

One of life’s lessons

by on Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

emma_fariy

Today was a magical day. Master sent Julie and me off into the woods to discover “one of life’s lessons.” We weren’t sure what he meant, but jumped at the chance to be away from the dingy tower for the day. Master gave us a map to follow and has us pack a lunch before we left.

We walked for the better part of the morning up into the foothills. As we walked, the forest became denser. The trees became bigger, both in height and width. The underbrush became heaver as well, and instead of just walking we had to find animal trails to follow. As we walked we started to notice that instead of getting darker as it had been, it started to get lighter as we continued.

The trees were still getting bigger and closer together, but the braches seemed to be getting thinner and more sunlight filtered through. The underbrush started to thin as well and patches of grass gathered in the patches of full sunlight between the trees. I asked Julie about this, since I had never seen a forest like this. Julie wasn’t much help, only saying that God liked to hide surprises where we could find them if we looked.

We studied our map and decided that we couldn’t tell where on the map we were; the map might be useful on our way back to town. We continued to walk, but we decided to walk towards the larger patches of grass and light. It turns out this was a good choice, or should I say the right choice. After another twenty minutes of walking we walked through a wall of trees and into a huge meadow.

The meadow was completely surrounded by trees, some small, some large. The trees formed a wall, with only a foot or so between the tree trunks and only two or three openings that a traveler would call a path. In the center of the meadow was the largest maple tree I’d ever seen. It was at least twice as big as the largest maple tree on the promenade. At that moment, I felt very small. I was wondering if that was the “life lesson” I was suppose to discover – that I’m not very big, or important, in the big scheme of things.

That’s when I noticed that there was movement in the trees around the meadow. Julie and I looked at each other; our eyes and bodies communicated the question, “forward or run away?” We both smiled and ran into the meadow, scanning the trees for any indication of what was causing the movement. As we slowed we saw that the trees all around us were weaving their branches together, turning what I had called a wall, into a true barrier. After a few minutes there were no gaps in the trees, and no paths out of the meadow.

We looked at each other and shrugged. Since there was no way out, we continued to walk towards the maple tree in the center. The sun felt good on us as we walked. We couldn’t help but smile. As we approached the maple tree, we stopped. We were both hungry and decided that it would be nice sitting in the warm sunlight while we ate. We sat there in the middle of the meadow and ate our lunches.

When we finished we continued towards the maple tree in the center of the meadow. We felt somehow drawn towards it. We approached its trunk and looked around. Neither of us saw anything noteworthy, but we were both feeling tired. I don’t know if I sat down first or if Julie did, but we found ourselves both sitting down, leaning against the huge trunk of the tree.

I remember closing my eyes, feeling like I couldn’t keep them open. I slipped into a dream. In the dream I was still in the meadow. Julie had gotten up and was dancing. I could hear music coming from all around. I got up and started to dance too. The music felt like it was flowing into my body, causing me to move. It felt like I was flowing, being one with the music. I remember looking over at Julie and seeing this stupid smile on her face and then I realized that I probably had the same smile on my face. Then I just started laughing as I danced around the maple tree.

As we danced, flashes of color moved with us. At first I wasn’t sure if the color was that of leaves or butterflies, but as we continued to dance the colors became more distinct. I could make out small wings fluttering, and forms of little people. It was at this point I realized that we had entered a fairy glen. From what little I knew of faries, I was privileged indeed to be here.

We dance for what felt like forever. Time lost all meaning as we experienced the music, the movements, the simply being. My past disappeared and my future didn’t seem to matter. I forgot my life and just danced. And when the dancing ended, that felt right too. The motion slowed and we fell down on the soft grass, the fairies joining us. We all lay there, sprawled in the grass, as clouds drifted overhead.

Again time seemed to stop, or speed ahead. The time of dancing faded into a pleasant memory. The thought of what would come next didn’t even cross our minds. We were just laying on the grass – looking up at the clouds drifting by, the canopy of the trees forming a stained-glass window above us. Small birds darted between the branches and leaves, doing their own dance for us to watch. My heart was at peace, my mind was at rest, my soul felt right with God.

And somehow the time of just being and laying ended and we all knew that it was time to talk and share, to tell the stories of our hearts, and to become one with each other. There was no fear in this place. We took turns talking and listening. I asked questions and the fairies around me talked and listened and asked questions, too. It was so freeing, not holding anything back, and not having to judge myself before I spoke. It was so refreshing listening to a fairy talk about soaring through the woods or gathering food, and not have to try to listen. Not only did I want to hear what they were saying, I cared about what they were sharing – not because what they were sharing about was so interesting, but because I cared about them, and if it was important for them to share, it was important to me.

We talked until we all said all of the words that we needed to say. I talked about my family, my home, my loss, but I shared it all with a sense of joy, not the sadness that usually accompanied those thoughts. And when I was done I felt free and I felt truly cared for. I felt like, for the first time in my life, someone actually knew who I was, and loved me anyway. I felt complete and didn’t care about anything else. I was loved, and that was all that mattered.

As the talking ended, my senses were filled with an uncountable number of delectable aromas. As each conversation finished, we got up and went to a large table. On the table were set all manner of food, from fresh berries of so many varieties I couldn’t name them all, to all types of baked goods, raw and prepared vegetables, and the juices from a hundred different fruits.

We all stood and ate. We all shared with each other our fondest memories of meals in the past and our fondest thoughts of meals in the future. Each bite was a joy to the senses. Each bite was like the first we had ever taken. Each bite seemed to last forever. We ate forever, but never got full. We enjoyed just being with each other, and sharing God’s abundance with friends that knew us so well.

Then at some point it seemed that the time of eating and sharing had ended and that it was time for us to leave. Julie and I gathered our things together and accompanied by a multitude of fairies walked back to the wall of trees that surrounded the meadow. The trees parted and showed us a path. We bid our new friends goodbye, sharing our heart felt hope for the other’s future and well being.

Julie and I left the fairy glen and walked for several hours before we spoke. “Was that a dream?” Julie asked me.

“I thought so. I remember falling asleep, but I don’t remember waking up. Maybe we’re still asleep.”

We made it all the way back to town in time for dinner, but neither of us was hungry. I still don’t remember waking up, but if I find this in my journal tomorrow then I’ll know that none of it was a dream.

So I’m sitting here, it’s almost 11 at night, and I’m still not hungry, I’m still feeling happy. And I still have this stupid smile on my face. I’m reminded about what Master said this morning, “You’re going to learn one of life’s lessons today.”

What did I learn today?

I need to learn how to read maps better.

I should expect the unexpected.

I’m not very big, or important, in the big scheme of things.

I don’t understand things as well as I might like to think I do.

The passing of time is relative.

Sure, I learned all those things, but I think the lesson that Master was talking about doesn’t have anything to do with these things. I think that today I experience God’s presence. Just being in God’s presence – dancing and lying and talking and eating – I felt the love of God. Now I know, at least a little bit, what it will be like when I am in heaven. Maybe I experienced what life can be like here if I’m willing to love and be loved in the way God loves me. I don’t know if I will ever be able to love like that, not judging, not thinking about myself, and not expecting something out of a relationship.

But I have had a taste of what it could be like, will be like. I don’t have to live in fear – I am loved.

The other funny thing about today is that I feel much closer to Julie than I did before. I feel connected to her. I understand her better. I care about her. I hope she feels the same way about me. I’ll have to ask her about it tomorrow.

Thank you God for a wonderful, awesome day.