This five-piece puzzle that we have called ourselves has shown strength and faith in the face of great sadness and loss. Last year, my father-in-law was a significant member of our family, this year, that all changed.
But instead of falling apart, our family persevered. We nearly curled inward, it would have been understandable. But we all have done the opposite. We chose hope. Not always, not perfectly. Yet we risked rejection and kept our hearts open. I am proud of us.
As a junior in college, I attended l’universite de Caen in Normandy, France. Founded in 1432, the university was destroyed in 1944. Most of the town was also decimated, in fact, the home where I lived still had bullet holes in the stone wall from a fire fight during the Invasion.
At the entrance to the school, a sculpture entitled “The Phoenix” welcomed all. Many days I strolled past this statue but never really appreciated its beauty or significance until now.
The morning before Thanksgiving, my family gathered together. An impromptu gluten-free brunch of pupusas (a popular Salvadoran dish) and pão de queijo (a delicious Brazilian cheese bread) filled the kitchen with warmth and flavor.
Around the table, I saw people I never expected to be here. One person, in fact, I didn’t even know existed until about three months ago.
– A handsome borrowed Brazilian son
– A Salvadorena future daughter-in-love
– A gluten-free future daughter-in-love
– a Soldier preparing to be deployed a few days later
– a ministry-minded middle and
– an orange hair, freckle face olive shoot.
We bowed our heads to pray and I tried not to cry. Happy tears filled my eyes.
How did I get so blessed?
Look at this food!
Behold these people!
I scarcely could take it in as the Hubs led us in prayer. The Lord gives and He takes away. There weren’t five of us. There now were EIGHT.
In a way, that breakfast was a symbol of our phoenix, our human sculpture of grace and resilience.
Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, deception and greed have not defeated us. What Satan intended for evil, the Lord has used for good. Though we do not forget and still grieve, our family has created new connections and love.
Across the miles, continents and cultures, hearts still remain strong.