Writing this post, smack dab in the middle of the mini series of my journey to forgiving my dad, is as random as the call that inspired it, but it’s too good not to tell, and it fits with my previous post, so here goes…
The phone rang last night, in the middle of me working on the blog I posted this morning, about family and the ways we interact… or don’t, and how we never ‘just call’ or ‘just get together’.
Truth be told, I don’t really enjoy chattering on the phone, so that’s part of the problem, and nor does my family. Unless they recognize a number as one of their friends’, my children don’t pay much attention to the phone and seldom answer it. Especially in the evening. So it was a bit odd when my daughter handed me the phone and said it’s for me.
There was a bit of irony and humour in it. The call was my sister Anna, from Mount Joy PA, the Mennonite Deacon’s wife, whom I love, with her cute American accent.
I wondered, at first, if she was maybe calling because she had read my blog and it had triggered some memories, or her memories were different than mine and she had some questions. But that wasn’t it at all.
Anna wanted to know if I wear contacts. That seemed random. I said I did until about seven or eight years ago, before they started to add the handling tint. I’m allergic to metals, and the blue tint is made out of copper, so I can’t wear them any more. Why did she wonder.
Anna giggled, and in her laid back, true phlegmatic style, told me how she had ordered some contacts. They arrived a week ago, but she had not opened them and then one of her daughters got curious, and opened the package. To their shock, and amazement, the package inside had our address on it. “Tim and Trudy (no last name) 15 Coral Gables Crescent…”
“I kept it as a souvenir,” Anna said. “It’s so rare that something like this would happen.”
She thought it looked like the handwriting of a young child. I wondered if God did it. How else, out of the millions of people in the world, and with us living 9 hours apart, would it be her sister’s name and address that lands on a publicly shipped package, in Pennsylvania? And not to mention that it’s the sister who is writing about the family dynamics and consequences of the abuse and violence. And it was ordered through none other than Wal-Mart, a store I mostly avoid.
It is all too wildly wonderful, that she called me, just for a fun moment, on a day when I wrote we never do that. Maybe it is divine providence, God’s fingerprint on our lives, His way of saying ‘family matters’ … ‘you are not forgotten’, and ‘I’m in this story’.
We chatted about life. And health. We must be middle-aged women. Who else gets on the phone and spends the conversation on restless leg syndrome, and energy levels?
I told her to go on iron supplements, and eat lots of broccoli and spinach. Three months and you’ll be a new person. Oh, and there’s a specific brand of iron. It’s easier on the stomach. And I even told her what store to get it from, to avoid the wicked expense of small pharmacy packaging.
Funny how times change, me giving her any advice at all… She was my big sister, the oldest sister at home, and always took care of stuff. When she was about nineteen, and I thirteen, she recruited Tina as her support, and together they pulled me aside for a meeting. They wanted to make sure I knew about menstrual cycle, what to do and where to find the hidden stash of pads in our very Victorian-kind-of-silent home.
I had already educated myself. The old encyclopaedia was fairly detailed, and I had already found ‘the stash’, thank you very much.
When I told them I had educated myself, Anna giggled, Tina grinned. They had just wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be caught off guard and think I’m dying or something. That was all. And with that I was released from the meeting.
I don’t know if I ever thanked them. I should have. Even though I already knew, it made me feel special to know they cared and wanted to protect me. My heart felt light… loved.
Interesting, the timing of her call, drawing me back down memory lane, into the more pleasant memories of childhood and early youth. I’ve often thought of it, how much she played the role of a second mom in the house. How safe I felt with her.
Truly God was with me. And to receive that call yesterday was a reminder that no little detail of my life escapes Him. I am loved. Even this event was written in a story about me, before I was ever born, just as the darkest day was recorded. (Psalm 139:16) It all creates a beautiful collage, a work of art that shows the glory and goodness of God. And that thought thrills me.
Note: There was a strong response to my post on Family Dynamics, and specifically the inability to bond. Typically I respond only privately to the messages sent to me privately but because of nature of the struggle in those messages, I will further address this in my next post.