Posts Tagged ‘Mother Teresa quote’

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. (Mother Teresa)

My grandson’s miniature cars speed across rug or kitchen floor and carry his imagination. I saw those possibilities for less than a few seconds as I waited in line at a local discount store.

As the couple behind me and I chatted, the man making his purchase, a one-dollar toy car, raised his voice. “It’s how much?”

I watched his dark cheeks tighten.

The cashier repeated the price in a barely audible voice.

I pulled out my wallet. Even if I had spoken before reaching into my purse, I would have been too late. I guess he expected the item to be further discounted. My mind-reading skills are rusty.

He ranted about how nobody likes him. Everybody hates him. Why doesn’t the store just call the police?

Nevertheless, he pulled out the dollar and more change than necessary to pay the tax.

I’ve been thinking about this slender, angry man and praying for him ever since. One dollar and a few coins couldn’t have saved him. He needed far more. An earlier justice probably. Love, when he was ready to recognize it.

He walked out. How easy such a simple event could have led to violence.

The cashier in the next lane hugged her fellow worker.

“That poor man isn’t well. You know it wasn’t you,” I added. And she nodded.

Yet, one tiny car travels somewhere. The only gift he could afford? I don’t know. No story is ever complete. May a blessing appear. Somewhere.

Since then Christmas hasn’t come and gone; it has come and begun. The day has nothing to do with a belief system. Presents. Parties. Enough lights to blind traffic. The ability to be peace transcends any religious border. Let it happen. Please.


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If we have no compassion it is because we have forgotten we belong to one another.
(Mother Teresa)


The Neighborhood, Delicatessen, and a Baby Squirrel


I hold my delicatessen number as if it had first-class boarding-pass value.

No neat queue waits for meat and cheese sliced as if

a thousandth-of-a-millimeter difference per slice mattered.

Customers stand scattered.

The woman with the number before mine

buys one slice of bologna. I wonder if that is all she can afford.

Her cart holds one marked-down loaf of generic white bread.


My thoughts wander to a neighbor.

Yesterday he asked my husband for a small loan.

This man performs chores for sub-adequate fees.

I want to contact him, give him a small job,

call the score even, then give him a tip.


I know the cashier. She rescued a baby squirrel after a predator

snapped off his mother’s head. I ask how he is.

Died on Monday, she answers. She continues to scan my purchases.

I tell her she did her best.


And we agree we can’t save the world

yet can’t stop trying.

I notice her silent tears but don’t mention them.

A neighbor’s phone number

is pegged on my home corkboard. Earlier, when I called

to offer him a gift, some loaves of bread,

more than what we needed,

his number had been disconnected. I nod.

We can’t stop trying.


originally published in For A Better World 2015


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Love as if never getting tired. (Mother Teresa)

My energy level isn’t where it belongs—I choose a get up at 4:30AM, write, start-crockpot-soup and-then-marathon-until-10:00 PM regimen. At mid-afternoon I would crawl into bed and call it a day if I could. Four-year-old Dakota comes to my side. Jay and I are babysitting. I would be fatigued even if my schedule were as blank as copy paper sealed inside the original packaging.

“Play with me,” Dakota says.

He’s wearing his ubiquitous tool belt. I suggest we find something suitable to repair with a plastic wrench. But his pretend mind and mine aren’t in sync yet. Eventually I pick up my iPad. We find scenes from “Home Alone II.” Then he discovers a game where Santa’s beard is decorated—or mangled—in a barber shop. I help him find a razor in the set of game tools. Santa will be bald this year, with green fuzz. We laugh. Dakota’s dark eyes light up brighter than our tree’s.

The world as he recognizes it during each moment, is all that exists.

We are not officially his grandparents. Perhaps, someday, his mommy and my son will marry. In the meantime, I painted him in as the fourth cool snow-person grandchild on our seasonal wall hanging. I bought it several years ago and added the details.

Dakota is two years younger than our youngest granddaughter. The only boy. He creates an even number to our children’s group. The two older girls have already made future family plans for the fuller set, far beyond a reasonable expectation, including home-away-from-home rooms in our house. I don’t care. The girls’ enthusiasm is both encouraging and beautiful.

When Grandpa Jay arrives home Dakota meets him at the door. Jay has achieved rock-star status in this little guy’s eyes. And all Jay needed to do was take him to the YMCA to shoot baskets. My husband wore out long before Mr. Dakota did.

Later Jay fights sleep at our son’s house and Dakota reaches into the refrigerator for two tubes of yogurt—one for each of us.

“Want to see my room?” he asks.

Really I’d rather ask Jay to move over. I won’t. My neck is begging for a hot compress. I feel twice my age, a feminine form of Methuselah reincarnated.

Instead I answer, “Sure.” Mother Teresa did not leave the words “as if” out of her statement about love. Real life limits remain.

The rewards, however, continue.

4 grandkids

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