Posts Tagged ‘Donna Hedges quote’

Having a place to go—is a home. Having someone to love—is a family. Having both—is a blessing. (Donna Hedges)

A group of eight friends gathers. Our purpose is spiritual; we share our lives as they are, not as we want them to be. S has thirteen children, now grown. At one time she took in a boy who had been abused. S’s family was suburban white with Cherokee ancestry; the little boy was dark as sweet milk chocolate. When a family picture was taken the boy slipped in with the rest of the village-sized group.

However, when friends and extended family saw the photo they raised their eyebrows. “Uh, something we don’t know?” The children saw him as part of the family. The boy hugged S, and called her Mom. His temporary siblings realized how little his skin color mattered. The boy did matter.

In fact, when the time came for the child to move on six years later, S. had tears running down her face. A part of her left with him.

My husband lies in a hospital bed. He is improving, with the progress expected of a patient who has been in bed for a week and a half after surgery. Discharge date could be soon. Maybe not. No way out of walking through the fearful places.

“I live here,” I say to the cafeteria staff when they notice I’ve become a regular. It’s easier to get a sympathetic smile, and then go on.

This experience can’t be explained in a few words anyway. Sure, the doctor and staff can talk about how digestion works, and how long it takes for the body to function again. The experts can’t predict how human spirits will act and interact. Hope comes through other people.

And friends and family have appeared like sun drying flooded waters.

Finally, a chance to breathe arrives. A trip to dinner—my meal is paid. Movie and ice cream—my wallet remains closed. And my sons decide I could use a little time with my grandkids. They are right on!

We go to a local restaurant. A blackboard covers one wall in the back corner. My three girls pretend to be teachers. I am the only pupil. The two older kids take turns. Ella fills the board with dainty designs that become one mass of lines; she covers herself with chalk dust. When I ask her a question she uses the appropriate teacher face. And I know I am honored to be here as Grandma, the student.

I think about S and her family. I don’t know them. I’ve never met the young boy who is certainly a man by now. But, I know that the gifts of things haven’t made the deepest impressions in my life. The present of presence? It makes all the difference in the world.

struggle part of the story

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