Historical Setting, 562 C.E. Gaul
Colleta welcomes this journey to a farm so near her family and Ezra is always glad to be useful to others in need. They carry an extra bag of things for her family and some fresh rags and supplies for a new baby. They have planned a visit of several days. As I hear Eve’s directions to that farm I realize she had a very long walk for herself alone last night in that ice storm. She is not the frail eight-year-old I remember. And her own chill reminded her to fill a pot with hot coals for setting by Colleta’s feet in the wagon. It’s that thing about turning her pain to empathy for others which is Eve’s gift. Why do I criticize her for her dauntless mercy?
God surely must know this human version of parent She created who would hardly know how to manage relentless love with all its turns and tangles. I struggle to shape my mother/father gift into earthly purpose like order and wisdom. I know I could choose to be a father who rules behind a veil of pretend omnipotence to keep my hurting love smothered in pomp. But I am just not that man. So be it.
Last night I lay under the warm blanket letting myself imagine the sounds I was hearing were a bad dream. If it were only a night terror I would soon wake. Last night I failed to enter into her world and chase the troubles from her door with all the grand splendor of a patriarchal enforcer. If I had only been a harsh papa I would have demanded her safety. I clearly failed my duty as a heart-hiding, “responsible” father turning away that needy fellow at her door. But I was simply terrified for her courage so I hid in my sleeps.
Dear God, who is mother and father to each of us you have burned your own ilk of love onto the heart of your image and we hardly know how to handle it. You answer so simply, “When you love others, do it as you love yourself.” Yes. That’s the lesson I need to tell her! Or, is that the lesson you are telling me?
Thank you for life and children — pain and all.
(Story continues tomorrow)