Friday, July 7, 2017

Wopila, Maggie

It came as unexpected gift;
a blessing wholly undeserved.
Acrylic, canvas and talent 
capturing spirit and the hint of a smile, 
the twinkle of an eye.

I remember,
with a child's heart,
the rare occasions when a smile would break open -
delight overcoming her awkwardness about less than perfect teeth.

I remember being enveloped by soft brown arms,
resting my blonde curly head on her ample bosom;
not individual breasts but a shelf of comfort;
refuge from the latest injustice inflicted on my tender heart
by careless parents and siblings.

I knew then the old spiritual our church choir sang on Sundays
was wrong -
the bosom of Abraham had nothing to compare to the bosom of Mary.
O rocka my soul!

For a child longing to be part of something bigger than the brokenness she knew,
her embrace was home.

Her face was the first glimpse I ever had of God.

I tried to calculate the odds that led to the paintings creation:
a chance meeting years ago
between a New Jersey born and bred social worker
and a beautiful artist from the Inner Hebrides of Scotland;
a meeting at a barbeque on a Lakota reservation
in a forgotten corner of the plains in South Dakota,
just north of the Nebraska Sandhills.

I quickly stopped the calculations,
not because I'm bad at New Math (although I am),
but because there can honestly be no other explanation 
beyond the timelessness of Gods grace.

My heart filled to overflowing with gratitude for the presence of her in my life - 
the 'her' encompassing both artist and subject.

I marvel at the realization that 
while I only had my great grandmother in my life for a decade - 
much of which I was pre-verbal and inarticulate -
she silently shaped my world
and my soul
with unconditional love
in ways unequaled by anyone else.

I wonder if she knew how much I loved her in return.
I do know that one day -
maybe years from now,
maybe sooner -
when I leave this world to join the ancestors on the other side,
she'll be there waiting for me;
with a twinkle in her eyes 
and a hint of a smile;
ready for the delight in the reunion
to overcome any of our perceived imperfections.

I also know that in her embrace
I'll be home again.

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