Tuesday, June 28, 2011

the finale of The Glimmering

     She smiled again, her eyes roaming eagerly around the room. And then they lit on something, and she drew in her breath.
    "Oh....even those? Are those free?" she asked hesitantly. I followed her longing gaze to the red shoes across the room.
    "The employment office, well, they finally found me a part-time job, a very good one. It's a real chance for me, for all three of us. And I get to start tomorrow, but I was worried sick about.....about what I would wear."
    I nodded, my heart pounding so I could barely breathe.
    "We have two or three lovely dresses that have that shade of red in them," I told her excitedly. "I was just admiring them earlier, and I bet they'll fit you. Also, we've got a great children's section."
    When the girls and I wrapped her packages an hour later and offered her a ride home, I noticed a very strange thing. Something I'll probably never fully understand if I live to be a hundred.
    I put the pretty, red shoes in the top of the last sack, and as I folded it closed on them, I thought....Well, don't think I'm crazy, I thought  I saw them glimmering.
    The girls were exhausted that night and went to bed early. I tucked Susan in and listened to her prayers, then went into Kathy's room.
    On her dresser was a large and rare rock, full of pieces of glistening quartz. The light from her lamp reflected off it and sent sparkles in a thousand directions.
    "Oh, Kathy, it's beautiful! Where'd you find it?" I breathed, touching the exquisite thing carefully.
    "In the road today, Mommy."
    "But I thought there was only a feed sack...." I began, then stopped as tears started behind my eyes. There had been a dirty, old feed sack out there, and there had been a treasure, too, hidden, possibly, under it.
    The trick was to look past the dinginess, beyond it to the treasure. Past the everyday to the glimmer. Past the despair, to the sparkle of hope.
    "Honey, can I ask you something?" I whispered, searching her eyes. "How do you know when something is glimmering?"
    And my little dreamer, my little girl who had never bothered to learn differently, looked at me as though I had asked a stupid question.
    "Just about everything glimmers, Mommy, if you look."    :)

from Jeanne -
This entire story reminds me of a saying by Einstein.

     There are two ways to live your life: One is as though nothing is a miracle, and the other is as though everything is a miracle.
     Choose Miracles!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Glimmering continued.....

I crossed the room and looked at them closely. Glimmering? Although I didn't pretend to know the precise definition of this personal word of Kathy's, I had to agree with Susan. I could see no glimmer or magic to these shoes though they were pretty.
"Girls, you can help me straighten the folded piles. And when we have a customer, you can help me package up their things for them, okay?"
Kathy jumped up and down in delight. Susan only nodded, looking slightly bored.
The afternoon seemed to drag on forever. We had one or two people come in every 15 minutes or so, who would select things which we would wrap for them. I found myself feeling more and more resentment towards Emma.
This had been a wasted afternoon. As far as I could tell, no one had desperately needed the clothes they came to find today. Our being closed for the day would have caused very little inconvenience for anyone. Those who dropped by could have come back next week.
   And then at about 4 o'clock a young woman came in, holding a little girl about Kathy's age by the hand while a little boy held onto her skirt, sucking his thumb. I tried not to stare though I was, I have to admit I was shocked at her appearance.
    The people who had wandered in and out of the clothes closet all afternoon had been less fortunate than my family, certainly. They had worn clothes that had seen better days and were, in many cases, rather threadbare.
But this young woman, who didn't look to be much out of her teens, was wearing skimpy sandals though it was it was a brisk, cold day. She had a thin sweater over a flimsy, summer dress, nearly worn through in places. Her children were dressed more warmly, in layers, but they wore more patches than material.
     The little girl was so thin it broke my heart to see standing in the same room with my well - fed, healthy girls. And the little boy's nose ran. He coughed hoarsely and constantly.
"May I....may I help you?" I offered, swallowing to keep down the lump that was growing in my throat.
    She gave me a thin, shy smile.
    "Well, I...I heard about this place from the lady downtown at the employment office. She said...well, she said things here were free."
Her voice had trickled to a whisper, and I rushed to cover her embarrassment, to try to make her feel welcome.
    "Yes, of course, they are, and you're welcome to take your time and browse. If I can help you find anything, just, please, ask me."

to be continued

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Glimmering continued.....

"Jane, two people have canceled out on me today, people that said they'd work in the church clothes closet. I'm having such a hard time getting people to help there. We're always open from 1 to 5 on Wednesdays, and I'm afraid if we're not open today, somebody might be left in the lurch. I'd just hate that."
I felt my level of irritation rising. This was what turned some people off about Emma. She was always thinking that is we didn't do enough to help the sick, the less fortunate, the homeless in our town, something awful was going to happen.
Like her comment just now - somebody might be left in a lurch. So what if someone wasn't able to find clothing for her family this week at our church's free clothes closet? Would the world come to a screeching halt? Would it really make any difference at all in the long run?
Besides, how much good did Emma's clothes-closet, food-pantry, and sleeping hall projects really accomplish anyway? When push came to shove, weren't they like a finger in the dike of poverty and hopelessness? Wasn't it childishly naive to think you could do anybody and real, lasting good that way?
"Oh, Emma, I don't know....." I began, groping in my mind for a decent excuse. But for the life of me, I couldn't come up with one on the spur of the moment. I finished with a resigned sigh. "Oh, all right. But I'll have to bring the girls with me. When do you want us?
A few minutes before 1 o'clock, I found myself unlocking the door to the large room that housed Emma's clothes closet. My girls peeked eagerly around me.
"Wow, stuff here sure is old," Susan observed with a wrinkle of her nose.
"Well, of course, things are a little old Susan. Everything here was donated by someone, and everything has been used before. But I think all the clothing is in good condition and certainly clean with lots of wear left in it."
Kathy, meanwhile, darted happily from the coat racks to the dress corner to the children's section, oohing and aahing over everything she came across.
"Mommy, Mommy! Look at these! Magic slippers just like Dorothy wore in Oz!"
Kathy held up a pair of red pumps from the shoe racks, her eyes round as bright quarters.
"My, how pretty," I agreed sincerely. The shoes hardly looked worn and were, indeed, of very expensive soft leather.
Susan rolled her eyes. "Kathy, grow up. There's no such place as Oz and no such thing as magic slippers. Those are just some dumb, old shoes somebody rich got tired of or something."
"But they're glimmering!" Kathy insisted.

to be continued......

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Glimmering by Vicki Grove

Years and years ago, 1987 to be exact, I was sitting in a waiting room somewhere and picked up a magazine to read during "my wait". I liked this article enough to copy it and save it all these years and would now like to share it with you.

"Look, Susie, something's out there! Maybe treasure, maybe diamonds or something!"
Hearing Kathy's words and smiling to myself, I opened the kitchen door and looked out to see my two girls as I knew I'd find them. Kathy was dancing up and down with excitement, and her older sister, Susan, was standing nearby, shaking her head in mild exasperation, beginning her usual admonishment.
"Kathy, grow up. There's no treasure on our old dirt road. There never has been, there never will be. Some feed sack or something just blew off a truck." "But it's shining!" "It's not shining, silly. The wind is just catching it and blowing it a little. It's just a dirty, old feed sack." "But it's glimmering!"
This was so typical, Kathy, ever the dreamer, and Susan, ever the realist. Stifling my growing amusement, I leaned further out the door to call them.
"Why don't you two take a walk down the road and see what it is, just to settle things?" I suggested.
"Why do that? It's just an old feed .." "Susan," I interrupted, "please? Just humor your sister and your mother."
With an elaborate sigh, Susan shrugged her shoulders and began plodding purposefully down the road with her sister fairly dancing and skipping at her heels, barely tethered to the earth.
I watched them move away, filled with love and wonder that two children of mine could be so different.
The phone broke my revery, pulling me back inside the house. "Hello, Jane? Hi, it's Emma. Did I catch you at a bad time?" "Oh, hi Emma. No. No, not at all, " I said watching the girls through the window now. They had reached the mysterious object in the road which, evidently, was, as Susan had vehemently predicted, a dirty, old feed sack. I saw Susan pick it up gingerly and then trow it into the ditch.
 "I was here in the kitchen, planning lunch and watching the kids play out back. What can I do for you?"
"Funny you should ask that." Emma said, and something about the tone of her voice put me on guard. Emma volunteered for several projects around the community and worked hard at recruiting other workers. I felt my shoulders tighten and wished I hadn't told her so blithely that I wasn't doing anything.

to be continued.....