I haven’t written anything in almost a week. Thankfully we aren’t compelled to turn over our work to anyone for evaluation. Whatever class this is, well, I’d be flunking.
To catch up:
The book that Belle gave me to read, well, I had a lot of trouble understanding it. Oh, the words were clear enough but the concepts seemed to contradict each other. My husband would have understood each of them clearly and could probably explain how they interact, but I’m lost in the jumble.
Lost. Yes, there’s truth to that concept.
I’ve been talking with people I’ve met and to be honest, am astounded at the range of individuals I’ve found. A couple are like Harry, my husband; they discuss matters of faith and concepts as if they were talking about last night’s football game. Then there are others, far more in number, who simply accept this life we’ve been given. I want to call them sheep, but I’ve got a fairly thick pelt growing myself.
Belle hasn’t appeared in over three days. She had helped me find something to do, some work that seemed to use my varied talents. That was, well, three weeks and a couple of days ago. She checked on me frequently at first, then once or twice a day, then every couple of days, and then she stopped dropping by regularly after helping me find work. The last couple of times I saw her, she looked a little peaked, like she was coming down with a cold. Zoes don’t get sick, but just in case I heated up some canned chicken and rice soup on the hotplate I’d sneaked into my room. She had a bowl, said it helped, and then left. That was the last time she was here.
In between sips of soup we talked about non-important things, like how I felt now, what I believed God wanted me to do, and that kind of stuff. No, not non-important. I told her about feeling rootless, without connection to this life; of course, in my before life I never felt like I belonged anyway. That did bring a tiny lift to the corners of her lips, but not like the smiles she used to beam, the kind that lighten the air around you. She put down her spoon and told me she’d felt the same way a little before she died and that she had lifted the concern to God.
“It was like a wound that’s in the process of healing, Sarah,” she explained. “You know, that time when it itches and you know the injury isn’t far from being gone.”
“Yeah, as a kid I was always stumbling and scraping the heck outta my knees. I had scabs on them all the time.”
“Exactly. We have to deal with things that happen—let our wounds heal. If we don’t, we bleed constantly.” As she spoke, the light that surrounded her, the light that seemed dim and in need of chicken soup, brightened. It was as if helping me helped her.
“Oh, I remember bleeding.” I used to cut myself until I found that alcohol dulled the pain. She seemed to see it in my eyes so I looked away, ashamed with myself. The shame wasn’t overwhelming anymore somehow, strangely.
“Giving your troubles, the things that worry or bother you, up to God doesn’t make them heal instantly. That takes a little time.”
“At the risk of being a pest, how long does it take?” I missed Harry, I missed my dogs. Heck, I think I even missed waking up in the morning with a huge head.
She laughed, that tinkling laugh. The light of her seemed to detach and flow into me, like she’d breathed it into me. Things were a little clearer suddenly. The idea that I missed having a hangover seemed silly, and I laughed as well.
“It won’t be long now,” she said as she shoved the bowl away.
“What won’t be long? You mean, the stuff that gets my goat won’t seem as essential pretty soon?”
“A little like that. Something will come to you that will make you happy. I mean, happier. You have been a little happy here, haven’t you Sarah?”
“You mean I’ll win the lottery or something?”
Her laughter pealed again, a pleasant tinkle of wind chimes in my ears.
“Not a lottery, not exactly. Although I suppose having the love of God is like winning a lottery. Anyway, someone will come soon who will make your life brighter, easier.”
Harry. Harry had to be near, near enough for me to find. Yep, that would be the jackpot. But I couldn’t be too eager, couldn’t show it anyway.
“Want some more soup?” I took the bowl and turned away, hiding a smile.
“Don’t hide, Sarah.” She must have read my mind, but then again, she always did. “Being transparent to God is a good thing.” She seemed to hear something, a signal or a sound, and stood up from the table. “I have to go now.”
I walked her to the door, finally smiling at her instead of away from her.
“Yes, that’s good! You are becoming less of a cipher and more transparent. You are beautiful, Sarah, truly beautiful.”
“Oh really? I hadn’t noticed.” I blushed red like a beet. I never had felt beautiful, but maybe it was time.
“Yep, that’s our Sarah, serving sarcasm with every smile.” She began to fade, the lines around her growing vague. “Remember, someone is coming to help you.”
She was gone, like a light bulb turned off. But I didn’t feel like I was in the dark, at least not as much.
Back to reality.
OK, so I’m working in a tailor shop part time, then part time in a flower shop. Neither is taxing and the procedures aren’t difficult at all; in a word, I’m kind of bored. And when I’m bored, I think about things that worry or concern me.
Harry concerns me, and I wonder if he’s the person who is coming. I thought he’d be waiting for me when I passed through the Pearly Gates, but since there weren’t any gates, I’m confused. One of the people working at the flower shop looked up the other day right into the face of his wife; she’d been looking for him and somehow wandered into the florist’s shop. They were both so incredibly happy they almost glowed like Zoes. He didn’t come in for a few days, then bounced in one morning to quit his job. Seems like they were going to open some sort of gift shop in the next town together.
I know I’m supposed to be happy for them, but I’m not. I’m not angry, either; I’m envious.
It seems like meeting up with your loved ones is purely accidental around here. True, there are no coincidences here and everything is according to God’s plan, but I often wish God would issue some sort of do-it-yourself instructions on finding your loved ones and fitting in, as well as other subjects that are universally puzzling. We need more information, that’s all.
One phenomenal thing, though. I had applied to work at a place where people can get pets, dogs and such. The job went to someone else, but the director asked me to work freelance, writing various things; I finally learned the style and tone of what he wanted. He didn’t give me a ton of work, in fact few and far between. When I brought in the last assignment he had for me, I steeled myself to go through the kennel and look at the dogs. Maybe I would find one that was just right for me. Sometimes I get a little lonely.
So here I was, walking down what seemed like an endless line of open cages—the dogs are free to wander around—and out of the corner of my eye I saw a big shepherd, just sitting there watching me. Yep, it was Big Ed, the gray sable we had, the one we reluctantly put down when he developed a neurological condition. His legs had stopped working and he frequently fell over, often defecating at the same time; the look in his eyes told me his pride was gone. The same look begged me to let him go, give him rest. In a way, it was both the easiest and the hardest I’d ever made. But that was then and this is now, a whole different reality.
It’s kind of funny. They never fill the cages and they never empty them completely. Dogs just show up, hang around for a while, and all of them seem to find their people eventually. Cats are different and never come into the shelter; they just wander around until they find their people.
Anyway, I stared at him with my mouth open, and he walked up to me, circling me once and stopped right at my left side. He sat down, nuzzled my hand, and waited in a totally dignified and sedate way. I wanted to hunker down and throw my arms around the big lug, but such a public expression would have embarrassed him. Anyway since we found each other he’s been with me every minute; they don’t mind him at either the tailor’s or the florist’s place. He spends most of the day lying in the sun.
I wonder why Big Ed ended up with me; maybe Harry isn’t here? I also wonder what happened to Daisy, and Walter, and that little puppy we had, Beatrice. It’s probably a good thing that I don’t have all of them with me. That would be some parade when we walk to work.
I also wonder what happened to Belle and how I could find her. I don’t know where to start; perhaps there’s a Zoe agency somewhere. No one seems to know how Zoes are chosen, or maybe it’s the Zoe who choses their Bios?
Another puzzle: if God is a loving father, why is He keeping people apart?
If I keep thinking like this, my head might implode. Too many questions and too few answers.
Where is Belle? Where is this person who is coming?
Shoot, I’m late for work.
Okay, I’m back. Big Ed wandered off on our way home and it took a while to find him. Or rather, he found me just when I’d given up on him. Oh, and he brought someone with him.
Beatrice! But she wasn’t a puppy anymore; I knew it was her anyway. She’d been our next-to-last dog. Harry thought I needed another dog; Big Ed was having trouble going up and down steps, and Harry wanted to distract me from Ed’s final days. She had done just that, the little nut. A little black dot stumbling into Big Ed, being goofy. Those couple of weeks she was with us were mostly good, I guess. The last couple of days, when she got so sick and was diagnosed with Parvo, well, those sucked big rocks.
Yep, it was Bea. I’d decided to sit down in the park and wait for Ed to find me, since I didn’t seem to be able to find him. And there he was, sauntering down a path toward me with quiet dignity, followed by a highly distractible little black dog. She saw me, squealed, ran toward me, and promptly stumbled just as she got to me, slamming into my leg. Yep, that was Bea. Full of love and a complete lack of physical grace.
I wondered how I’d manage two dogs, taking them to work and all. She seemed to have some little bit of training now; Ed sedately marched on my left, and she goobered around on my right. Yes, she’d wander a little to sniff a leaf or stare at the sky, but she would soon realize we’d walked on and gallop to catch up. She tried really hard to keep alongside, but sooner or later something would distract her and she’d veer off.
Today was my day at the tailor, and work wasn’t hard, as usual. There’s always an atmosphere of a holiday approaching. In fact, I spent most of the afternoon hemming pants and skirts, special Sunday-go-to-meeting kind of stuff. Oh, no holiday or celebration is scheduled, at least that I know of. It just seems that people are getting into a carnival/celebratory/party frame of mind. Maybe I should see about getting something less flannel and jeans and girlier.
I mentioned my concern about my Zoe to the other seamstress at the shop, and she seemed to be anxious about hers as well. Her Zoe was distracted and appeared to be a little angry, if you can believe a Zoe being angry, about something. I know I should be more concerned, but I’m not.
I’m not overly concerned because what Belle said about giving worry to God seems to be working for me. Actually it’s more Zen than that; at first it seemed to be undoable. Every time I tried to lift my disquiet to God, I felt worse, but then, well, all the pieces seemed to fall into place. Like when I learned to ride a bike: I’d struggled and fallen for weeks, it seemed. Then one day, just as I was about to give up, I hopped on the seat and suddenly was able to balance. Off I went, not falling, just whooshing away. I’d ridden the bike all afternoon on the roads by my grandparents’ place and came back dirty around the edges. Mom wasn’t mad at all and was happy I wasn’t scratched up and bloody as usual.
I’m happier. Not dancing in the streets happy, but happier. Well, I have to admit there’s a part of me worrying about when this happiness is going to end. Still, I’m not as concerned as I usually am. That’s a start, I guess.
This giving it up to God stuff is pretty cool.