Friday, May 30, 2008

miss hilda.

"i so want to be a part, to have a place, in God's kingdom one day. and i want you to have a place too. and we will laugh. and we will chat. and we will rejoice."

miss hilda said this to me on one of our morning visits back in march. thought it was profound enough to write in my journal then. she said a lot of profound things during our visits. about God. about life. and i learned more from her than i realize. and i will continue to process our moments together. as they have become a part of me. as she has become a part of me.

a couple tuesdays ago i was writing in my journal on the veranda. waiting for amanda to wake up. and sheldon passed by. let me know that miss hilda had passed on. and tears spilled out. and i thanked him for telling me. and i went and woke amanda up with the news. amanda had been blessed with two visits to see miss hilda during her stay. Something had inspired us to venture up there the day before, the day she died. and i was so thankful to have seen her that day. it was a day when margaret and oslyn were there. cleaning. and taking care of things. i felt relieved after our visit. that miss hilda was being cared for. and looking back, i'm thankful that at least there were people loving her on her last day.

that wednesday, we went to a praise service up at miss hilda's. we arrived late. the prayers had been offered. and now it was just lots of old hymns being sung. and it was strange to be in her house. clean. and filled with people gathered to honor her. as there were many days that passed in her life when she wasn't honored.

and this past wednesday, i went to her funeral. the first funeral i've been to in grenada where i actually knew the person. and it was short. and the sermon was general. but the songs made me cry as i considered them from miss hilda's perspective. one of the little hat-wearing church ladies invited me to sing "how great thou art" with her at the graveside. as a final tribute to miss hilda. and amidst sobs and a broken voice, i offered my song. there was a happy hour, as with all grenadian funerals. but there was something that bothered me about it. so much food and drink and extravagance to supposedly honor hilda. but wouldn't it have made more sense to have honored her while she was alive.

when she passed on, miss hilda couldn't walk. and her sight was failing. she had diabetes and a host of other health problems. she was merely sixty-one. but could have easily passed for eighty-one. she depended on the generosity of her neighbors to survive. her family members offered sporadic care. but were often neglectful. especially in offering compassion.

i would pass by miss hilda on my morning walks up to mount plaisir. my visits grew to be longer and more frequent during recent months. as i would stay and help out with whatever she asked. because i didn't know if she'd get tea or a bath or her insulin otherwise. and in return, she offered me wisdom. and love. she said she couldn't pray for herself alone, but must pray for us. she told me God would bless me on my journeys to continue the work he was calling me to do. she spoke of praising God continually. in all circumstances. she believed with all her heart that she would see and walk again. she shared her papaya and cabbage and beans with me. she taught me about generosity. and faith. and trust. and joy.

and i don't know how heaven works. but miss hilda makes me want to believe in heaven. makes me want to believe that she is laughing. and chatting. and rejoicing now. that she is dancing. and singing. and celebrating now. that she has discovered healing. and freedom. and peace.

and i thank God that our paths crossed. thank God for the moments we shared. for the ways our souls connected. and part of my purpose feels gone with miss hilda. but maybe not. maybe my purpose now is to find new ways to live out the things she taught me. to pass on who she was. to continue her story. prayers for openness to new ways to love. to serve. to honor. guide my feet on these journeys. on the paths you are calling me to walk.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

sand beneath our feet. big blue sky above our heads.

abby is that your sister? no. just my friend. she's here on holiday. oh. ok. well, i thought she was your sister.

if i only had a mango for every time i had that conversation in the last couple weeks. then, well, i'd have a whole lot of mangoes.

during the last half of may, i had the irreplaceable gift of having miss amanda carolyn pratt share life with me in grenada. a blessing beyond words.

the days ran together in a wonderful way. a continual flow of beautiful moments. we bathed in the sea. washed in the river. fished from a row boat. admired the sunset. hiked to waterfalls. played with kids. cooked grenadian dishes. ate lots of fruit. went for walks. visited the neighbors. worshiped with tambourines. got avett brothers songs stuck in our heads. rode the crazy buses. embraced the community. experienced everyday grenadian life.

amanda discovered/rediscovered a love for pumpkin. and snow ice. and fry bakes. and children. and swings on the beach. and floating in the sea. the visit was healing for both of our souls. we both admire so much about each other. we both bring out a certain beauty in each other. a beauty we can often forget. and we realized that we're different. with different lives. and choices. and passions. and gifts. and that's ok.

and i'm so thankful for our conversations. for the way amanda sees things. for the perspective and insight she offers. and i wished she could have stayed longer. but she has other adventures ahead of her. other places, other people to share her gifts, her passions, her love with. and i'm so thankful that she would come all this way. to see. to experience. to understand. and i'm so thankful she has become a part of grenada. and grenada has become a part of her.

we didn't take an abundance of pictures. but tended to appreciate the moments for what they were. however, you can check out a few images here if you wish.

and now its back to everyday grenadian life for me. with prayers that i might embrace all of this. appreciate all of this. with fresh eyes. with a renewed spirit. trusting in where i am. discovering who i am. that days run together in a wonderful way. a continual flow of beautiful moments. a continual flow of love.

thanks for the visit, my sister. it meant more than you know. more than words can say.