The Recluse (Part XI)

“Thank you for taking me to church with you, Maria. I enjoyed it very much.” Estelle opens the car door to step out onto the sidewalk in front of her house and Maria gets out of the car too. “You are very welcome, Estelle. We love your company and I so appreciate what you are doing for Alisha.” As if on cue, Alisha jumps out of the car behind Estelle and gives her an unexpected hug. “Thank you for coming to hear me sing Ms. Williams!” Estelle gasps at the surprising embrace but then accepts it and returns the favor. Maria hugs her in turn and Estelle feels an old ache momentarily fade. It’s been a very long time since she’s felt a human embrace. “I will see both of you soon.” Estelle bends to peer into the car where Tony sits behind the wheel, “Thank you, Mr. Hernandez. Have a wonderful afternoon.” Tony nods in ascent and then looks straight ahead, “Come along Maria…Alisha. We need to get going.” Mother and daughter get back into the car as Estelle walks toward her front door.

Estelle opens the door and is enveloped in the isolation she’s sheltered in for such a long time. The emptiness feels safe and familiar but also, frightening and all consuming. She looks around at the immaculate, perfectly decorated house and has a sudden urge to dirty it up and make it look like someone actually, lives here. Determined but not really understanding the force impelling her to action, Estelle defiantly strides into the living room, looks at the portrait of her mother, and begins tossing expensive, artfully placed cushions from the sofa and chairs willy-nilly and even on the floor. Then she kicks off her shoes, lets down her hair and carelessly, flops down on the beautiful blue sofa. She stretches out as for a nap then reaches for a perfect rose pillow to support her head as she stares into the painted eyes of her deceased mother.

Those eyes leave Estelle feeling frozen. “How many times did I reach for you, Emma? How many times did I need a mother and even though I could see you and touch you, my mother was never there?” In a flash, Estelle understood herself as having always been an orphan on the emotional level. In fact, she’d been forced to be a mother to Emma from the time she was a small child. “Was I a good mom, Emma?” Estelle yells at the portrait as tears begin to spill. Then she remembered what the preacher said in church that morning about somehow, being able to have a parent-child relationship with God because of Jesus’ death on the cross. The idea of having such a relationship is very appealing to Estelle but it doesn’t make sense to her. She also, remembers the words of Jesus and the validation she felt upon reading them. “Emma! Do you know or care how much pain your drinking and constant neediness caused me? Do you know how hard Dad and I worked to keep your drinking secret and how much life we lost trying to protect you? Were you ever aware of what people said to me or what our neighbors thought?” With tears streaming, Estelle counted all she’d lost to Emma’s drinking and the black hole that drinking was used to anesthetize. Much of her childhood was consumed in that hole and even more of her adult years after her father passed. “Even now Emma, you steal my life from me because you never had a life! You never became a whole person! You used me to live for you and I’ve never lived for me either…” Estelle fiercely wipes the tears from her eyes, “I’m going to find a way to be more than the arms and legs of Emma Williams! I want to be a whole woman and live my life!” Estelle moves a few more objects out of place, gives Emma’s portrait a hard stare, and leaves the room.

It’s anger that gives Estelle the energy to move despite these new inner revelations. It is also, anger that numbs and gives her the fortitude to fight her excruciating, emotional pain. In the sanctuary of the only bedroom she’s ever known, she removes her church clothes and puts on her favorite pair of yoga pants and a big t-shirt. Then she goes to the bathroom to wash her face and pull herself together. When she catches her eye in the mirror, she gives herself a hard stare much like the one she unleashed on the portrait of Emma. “I-want-more!” she states firmly just below the tone of a shout.

In the kitchen, Estelle makes a sandwich as she recalls the words she heard in church that morning and remembers the warmth of friendship she’d enjoyed with Maria and Alisha. “Relationship. That’s exactly what’s missing in my life.” Estelle counts the relationships she was never able to enjoy, the school-chums that couldn’t come over to play or for sleep-overs; then later, the young men who could never find room in her life because her life belonged to her mother. “Now, I’m left alone and I don’t know how to connect to others because I never learned.” This truth comes down cold and hard but also, clarifies the solution. “I need to learn how to relate to people.”

Estelle takes her sandwich and a glass of milk with her as she goes into her office for her lap-top. Thinking she will lay down on her bed and catch up on some reading, she starts to enter her bedroom but then suddenly turns and decides to use Emma’s room instead. Pushing decorations aside, she puts her things down and rips open the bed. The frilly comforter lands on the floor where it stays and Estelle builds a comfy seat for herself from the pillows. She opens the curtains to let the sunlight in and then settles in bed to finish eating, not caring about the crumbs spilling all over the expensive satin sheets.

“If I want to know who Jesus is, I guess I need to read the Bible.” Estelle doesn’t own a Bible but quickly finds one online. Not knowing where to start, she decides to begin in Matthew, the book from which they’d read that morning. Estelle reads all of the Gospels and is transfixed by the person of Jesus described in those pages. “Such an ancient story that touches my heart in a way I don’t understand.” Estelle whispers to herself but also, to God. “He suffered so much but He stayed true to You and You were always there for Him. What a wonderful relationship. God, I don’t know what I have to do exactly. I don’t really understand but I want that relationship. I want You to be my Father too. I am all alone and I need You!”

Estelle closes her lap-top, pushes it to the other side of the bed, then sinks down off the pillows, and drifts off to sleep. Before long, she is wandering from room to room in her house-dream. She is a little girl to whom the house of her childhood though small, appears very large. The house is cold, empty, and Estelle lost, meanders circling from one silent room to the other, calling for first her mother and then her dad. There is no answer. The house is filled by an arctic wind and then goes black. Little Estelle shivers in the dark fearing she’ll also, disappear in the void; when suddenly, a bright light appears!

To be continued.

For previous posts in this series go to https://joyindestructible.com/the-recluse-series/ where posts are listed in ascending order.

Early Spring Wind

The spring wind roars over the ever-grey high desert that waits for just the right amount of warmth and moisture to bloom. By gale forces the desert floor is being swept clean to prepare for a new season of life. As long as there is snow on the mountain peaks there will be wind in the warmer valleys below. This old cycle highlights the relationship between the alpine mountains of Colorado and the high desert plateau of New Mexico. This is early spring in the divide between winter-time- grey and the new green that is beginning to fill the river valleys as life-giving snow-pack in the Rockies begins to melt. The rest of the desert remains subdued until the summer monsoon. All animal life of the Northwest Plateau depends on the strength of the Rocky Mountain winter and the snow-pack that fills the rivers and streams.

I am involved in an old romance with New Mexico sunny days beneath a rapidly changing vault of blue sky. I am still enchanted with rosy sun rises and peachy sunsets. I am blessed to watch the Bald Eagle soar over the river, hear the Night-Hawks speak, and be entertained by the bickering drama of the Magpie. As I write, the deer who allow me to share their ancient home-land are just outside my window nibbling on the newly sprouted lilies they believe I planted as tribute to them. They huddle close to the house seeking shelter from the wind, knowing there’s no one here who will harm them. This is home.

I love the Cedar and sage covered hills, the Elm and Cottonwood filled valleys. The ever-changing landscape that undulates from masculine, rugged mesas and cliffs to soft, round mountains and hills that still excite my artistic eye. The utter silence of the desert is the most beautiful sound in the world. Alone in those silent places, it is impossible not to hear God speak. Left with no place to run or hide from self, in the desert one must make peace. This is my Father’s world and in it I’ve been given a place.

Here I am Lord at the foot of your mountains, the source of life giving waters. Here you have hidden me, in the cleft of the Rock, in the midst of a dry thirsty land. Make me ever mindful of your blessings. Help me trust you more, even as the gritty wind roars. As you prepare the desert, prepare my heart for a new season of life.

History

While winter still lingers,

In the reminder of icy Rocky Mountain peaks,

White memory fingers,

Warm to melt with acceptance, in truth leaks,

Flow, new life bringers;

Yesterday nourishes today; is dead but speaks!

Into eternity, it lingers!

 

Past hold; pain let go in transformative tweaks;

Learn to value blunders;

Less painful repetitions, useful for future peeks,

As winter again wanders,

In gales of cold death threatening wind shrieks!

Spreading fear as cancers!

Fools forget, to the wise the past forever speaks.

 

The Recluse (Part VIIII)

Estelle’s eyes open as the sun peeks over the horizon sending a beam of light to warm her face. As she stirs, Caravana also, rises from his nesting place in the crook of her knees and stretches arching his back. Estelle lifts herself on one elbow and reaches to stroke her faithful companion as she has for so many years. Her old Tom is getting up in cat-years and she wonders how much longer he will remain with her. Then she remembers what day it is and feels an unfamiliar surge of happiness as she realizes that Alisha will be coming for their art-time together. She looks at the clock and then jumps out of bed to get ready. As she dresses, her thoughts are focused on the lesson she’s planned for today and hopes Alisha will enjoy learning about texture. It is one of Estelle’s favorite aspects of creating drawings and paintings, as she is a deep thinker who loves to lose herself in intricate details. She is excited about sharing this love with little Alisha, who has become so dear to her.

Estelle is sitting on her back patio enjoying a breakfast of yogurt and nuts when the doorbell rings. She doesn’t stop to consider that the usual feelings of dread that generally accompany that chime have been replaced with joyful anticipation. Instead, she simply reacts to it by setting her bowl down and walking briskly to the front door. She pauses for a moment to smooth her hair and straighten her mint-green summer dress before opening the door. Before she is able to say anything, an exuberant Alisha rushes in chattering like a brook in early spring. “Good morning, Ms. Williams! I’m here! Did you miss me? Look…Momma and I made Biscochitos again and I brought some for desert!” Alisha hands Estelle a plate covered with a clean dish towel. The cookies were still warm and smelled wonderful. It was tempting to have them for breakfast but Estelle thought about Alisha and didn’t want to teach her such decadence. “Thank you, sweetheart! I’ll put them in the kitchen and we will enjoy them after our lunch. Follow me. It’s such a lovely morning that I thought I’d have you help me weed my flower beds today.” A month ago, such a suggestion would have caused Alisha’s nose to curl but she loved spending time with Ms. Williams and her attitude toward chores was changing. “I’ve never pulled weeds before. How do I tell which are the weeds and which are the flowers?” Estelle puts on her favorite gardening hat while handing another, with a pair of gloves to Alisha. “Well actually, a weed is only a plant growing where a human being doesn’t want it to grow…so, a gardener must learn to identify the wanted plants and remove the unwanted plants. In my garden, I sometimes allow plants to grow that others call weeds.” Estelle and Alisha laugh together at this very eccentric remark, as Estelle leads the way to the back fence where the older woman and little girl lose themselves in identifying plants by their leaves and blossoms. Each nurtures the other while accomplishing the task of nurturing Estelle’s flower garden.

Lunch passes in a pleasant blur and as Alisha clears the dishes, Estelle gathers the art supplies for the project she’s planned. Their new relationship has established a flowing rhythm and Alisha seldom has to be reminded to help. She’s also, found a new source of accomplishment in completing tasks on her own rather than manipulating someone else into doing them for her.

“What are we going to do today, Ms. Williams?” Estelle finishes laying out large sheets of paper, oil pastels, charcoal, colored pencils, and markers. “We’re going to learn about texture. The most important thing about being an artist is learning how to see. We’ve learned a lot about the outer or contour lines that form shapes. Now, we’re going to learn about the inner lines that bring those shapes to life.” Alisha is amazed by Estelle and listens eagerly. “Here are crayons and charcoal. First, I want you to take a piece of paper and one of either, and then we will go around the garden and take rubbings.” Soon Alisha is caught up in examining the patterns of bark, leaves, rocks, bricks and seeing all of them in a way she’s never noticed before. After forty minutes or so, Estelle calls her back to the patio. “Now Alisha, we’re going to draw the rubbings we’ve found on another piece of paper and use these textures to create a finished work. Let’s divide our papers into measured squares and then fill them with colorful textures to create a quilt effect. I think your mother will love it.” A dream-like warmth envelopes teacher and student as both lose themselves in creativity. Alisha has learned and is learning so many new things in these happy hours and delights in the wonder of nature as it translates itself through her onto her paper. She watches Estelle’s expert hands closely and strives to imitate every move. Her teacher in turn feels an almost, overwhelming relief as knowledge and experience kept too long to herself flows outward into the mind and heart of another. Sharing her art in this way gives her a new passion for her art.

“Do you like church Alisha?” Estelle suddenly asks. “Well…you know, it’s just something we always do. Mom and Dad care a lot about me going. I like the other children and my Sunday School teacher. I don’t like listening to the preaching very much but Momma says that’s because I haven’t made my choice yet.” Estelle’s curiosity was peaked. She’d never heard anything about a choice and thought people were taught certain traditions in church and their choices about belief were made for them. “What choice, Alisha?” “Oh…you know about Jesus. Whether I want to follow Him. Who I really think He is. Right now, I just listen to what the grown-ups say. Sometimes, I think I believe in Him and sometimes, I think I don’t. Do you believe in Jesus Ms. Williams?” Estelle was caught off guard by this question. She didn’t want to answer in a way that would undermine Alisha’s training but believing in Jesus wasn’t something she’d ever given much thought to. “I’ve never gone to church, Alisha. I don’t know if I really know who Jesus was or is or….” “That’s okay, Ms. Williams. If you’d like you can come with us and see what it’s like. Momma says everyone has to make their choice. I don’t know how you can do that if you don’t know about Jesus.” Go to church? Now, that was an unexpected proposition. “Well…I can’t invite myself, Alisha. I don’t want to impose on your parents.” Alisha quickly reassures her mentor, “Oh Ms. Williams, I’d love to have you come! The children’s choir will be singing next Sunday and you can watch me. Please come? Momma would love it!” Now, Estelle felt she had no escape and there was something irresistible pushing her toward acceptance but out of a habit of erecting barriers she replies, “Well, if your mother invites me, I’ll go.” Alisha’s smile brightened, “She’ll call you tomorrow!”

Neither Estelle nor Alisha notice the storm clouds building until large, cold, drops of rain begin beating down. They rush to gather their art work and move inside. Estelle also, feels a bit rushed as if her life is moving rapidly in an unknown direction but she mostly, just feels happy. The two of them put the unfinished artwork away to be completed when they meet again. Estelle gives Alisha her umbrella and watches until she enters her front door. She sighs contentedly, as this saffron day comes to a close. Caravana weaves in an out of her ankles, enjoying his mistress’s new state of mind. Estelle picks him up for a cuddle then carries him to her office where she immerses herself in work.

To be continued.

For previous posts in this series go to https://joyindestructible.com/the-recluse-series/ . Posts are listed in ascending order.

 

My Consequence and My Pardon

I am a sinner saved by grace and in this present world, I will never be anything else. That doesn’t mean that the grace I’ve received is a cloak for evil. My profession of faith isn’t a ticket to sin without punishment. What I do avoid by my acceptance of Christ is what the Bible describes as the “second death”. I believe in Judgment Day and on that Day the pardon I’ve received through faith in Jesus will keep me safe from the final death of spirit and soul that I and all human beings deserve. Jesus didn’t die to make me a moral person. Jesus died to give me and anyone else who will accept it, eternal life. Jesus died in order to reunite God and man. Faith in Jesus isn’t a matter of morality. It is a matter of life or death. However, I am changed by having Jesus at the center of my life and my desire to sin is diminished by my greater desire to please God. The gift of eternal life is a morally transforming gift.

As a sinner saved by grace, I still suffer the consequences when I sin. Those consequences are natural and inescapable. No one is able to break God’s Law and avoid what those wrong actions create even if they escape human punishment. I have been sick for the better part of forty years now, due to a serious sin I committed against myself as a teenager. I have changed my life since then and there are those who love me and think that God is being very unfair toward me in allowing me to suffer for a mistake I made as a child. I know that if God hadn’t intervened in my life, I never would have been able to change my life, and I would most likely be dead, forever separated from God. My illness is simply the natural consequence attached to my sin and part of my cross to bear. Others doubt my faith or think I suffer needlessly because my faith is weak but my faith doesn’t come from me. It too is a gift from God and the consequences I endure prove the durability of my precious gift. Without Christ, I would be a physically broken bitter old woman. With Christ, I am a physically broken joyful old woman. All that should have embittered me has taught me empathy and opened many doors into the lives of others that enable me to share God’s love and comfort with my fellow, suffering sinners. The consequence of my foolish actions keeps me humble and in a position that allows God to work through me more effectively. I endure because I know ultimately, my healing is coming. Because Jesus died for me, I will physically die only once, and I will rise again to live with Him in a better world.

As a sinner saved by grace, I also suffer as a result of the sins of others. In fact, some of those sins are what drove me, as a child, to use drugs. However, I am still accountable for my actions as those who hurt me are accountable for theirs. The sin I committed against myself hurt me, hurt the people who loved me, hurt the people who love me now, and most of all hurt my Heavenly Father. My sin put Jesus on the cross and His physical sacrifice made it possible for me to be granted forgiveness from God. In the same way, I a sinner must forgive those who sinned against me. That doesn’t mean they will accept my forgiveness by taking responsibility for their actions. I can’t do their part of restoring our relationship. I can’t force what even God doesn’t force upon others. It does mean that I pardon them just as in Christ I am pardoned. I am unable to do this on my own but because Jesus lives in me by faith, the Holy Spirit enables me to do what is humanly impossible.

This is what the cross means personally, to me. I know it sounds very foolish to most but that is the power and the ultimate wisdom of the cross of Christ. True foolishness is to reject the free gift of eternal life by denying the price Jesus paid to obtain it and then offer it freely to all who will believe. True foolishness is to deny the fallen state of mankind and our need for God. We can never be Him and will only die trying. My prayer during this time of year when the world considers the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is that eyes and hearts will be opened to realize the need for salvation found only, at the foot of the cross of Christ. Please, accept your pardon today.

 

 

Eternal Spring

I wonder if I will ever be too old to notice the first day of spring…

The first glint of butterfly wing or the special song new birds sing.

Carpets of purple verbena woven with soft grass for hungry deer,

Wonder of long gently warm days; far removed from winter fear.

This season that comes as promised by the power of resurrection!

Experience of nature bending all thoughts to a spiritual reflection…

It’s no coincidence that Jesus died to rise again giving me new life!

This sermon nature preaches each spring cuts my heart like a knife!

By His wounds I am healed, daily revived by His resurrection power!

He bled for me, died for me, lives for me and reminds with a flower…

That I belong to Him and even though I be dead by His call I will rise!

I am merely a form moved by His Spirit eternal without any demise…

Though I crumble my soul is kept in Memory until new eternal spring!

 

Midnight Halls

All night long, I walk the vast halls of worry, that deep circular labyrinth within my mind.

This is my vain, desperate attempt to find a way to prevent more pain.

The thoughts kept at bay during the busyness of daylight, band together against me at midnight.

Each breach of faith brings a surge of hot pain from the belly into my throat to startle me wide awake!

Helplessly, I pray and ask God yet again, to take this years-old heartache away…

But somehow and for some reason I can’t comprehend, He’s left that choice in the hands of another.

I search for hope even though those I love most and want to protect seem doomed to disaster.

Trusting God is the only way to escape anxiety’s trap of despair but I can’t pull trust out of thin air!

Father, what I need most I just don’t have! It just isn’t there! It isn’t in me!

Please Father, give me the security I must have to close my eyes in this dreadful world and sleep.

Let your peace over-ride my lucidity; help me look above and beyond the past-current-future threat…

Keep my dear ones safe, change their tumultuous hearts, don’t take them too far from me…

Hear this mother’s worry-prayer, though it be long, often repeated, and worn out…

Father, carry me by your Spirit’s tranquility and free me from midnight’s halls of worry!

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Cleaning

Sometimes…life rushes by too fast to catch in a word.

Feeling sands shift thoughts, concepts of mind blurred…

So, I took my micro-view tight ideas outside for a walk!

Far from the cacophony of voices and opinionated talk;

Immersed myself, tried to wrap my mind around silence…

I heard myself think… I ventured onward by persistence:

Wind’s breath stirs dry branches limbered by rising sap,

Clapping to celebrate the end of winter’s cold long nap!

I wait for color to reclaim the grey dessert sage in blue;

Not wanting to go back I tarry long, gathering each hue;

Spring-cleaning of mind and reorganizing heart’s closet,

Letting go the old and making room for new life deposit.

 

First Day’s Warming Joy

On that special day when the earth first turns warm,

And the sap rises in old grey branches, pushing death aside,

Birds sing the songs that call the young and old out of their houses…

As all greet a new season of life!

 

I went outside today, to enjoy a taste of Heavenly delight!

My skin caressed by life awakening sun soothed my winter aches,

Worries of the world lifted; and for a few happy hours melted all away…

How grateful I am for another spring!

 

Tomorrow, the rain is coming they say, to green winter’s grey,

Rain drops sink deep in warmer ground, nourish my future flowers,

Give new birds a shower and a drink; add sparkle to brighten their song…

I will hug today when tomorrow comes.

 

I know I am loved and I am greatly blessed with longest days of sun!

Rays lengthen empowering life to rise again; new life spring from ground!

Truth made known across millennia, a miracle witnessed on time every year…

God is faithful verified by spring witness.

 

 

The Recluse (Part VIII)

Silence in isolation is morbidly obese and Estelle feeling overwhelmed and breathless under the pressure grabs Caravana and heads straight to bed. Institutionalized thinking she developed during the long sentence endured in her personal prison drives her to seek out the only escape she can easily access, sleep. Her dreams are usually much livelier, interesting, and socially attached than her real life but just like conscious reality, her dreams also have a course and purpose of their own. Not long after drifting off, Estelle finds herself walking through her familiar house dream, once again. She steps from the room she now sleeps in, through her bedroom window and negotiates the familiar broken-down passage way into that secret, other-house-addition attached by her streaming subconscious. She wanders its halls aimlessly, inspecting each room. She wonders why she leaves these lavish furnishings here in these forgotten rooms and never moves them into the other house. She notices a door so very, familiar from the house of her conscious world but is confused as to why this door and this room are here in her private dream-house. Feeling the rising terror of a nightmare, Estelle walks into Emma’s room, and hears the door slam shut behind her. In vain, she tries to open the door and get out but the door won’t budge. She runs to each of two windows in the room but finds they are false windows and this room is an inner room with no access to the outside. Estelle feels the world begin to spin with the sensation of falling and just before she hits the ground, she wakes up to a concerned Caravana staring into her face.

Depression settles over Emma but because she is a true survivor, she valiantly lifts the invisible, leaden slab-weight off herself and slips out from under it, thereby enabling her to get up to do what she must do to continue living. She walks from her bed to her familiar bedroom window (the only one she’s ever known) and pulls back the curtain to make sure there is a world out there and not just a landscape painted on a brick wall. She hears laughter and looks over toward the Hernandez’ residence and sees the small family hugging, hurrying, talking, carrying Bibles, and piling into their car. “Church again?” Estelle thinks first critically and then curiously, “What does it mean…God?…church? Why do people believe such things and what do they get out of it?” God was never a part of Estelle’s upbringing and none of it made sense to her. The Hernandez family was her first real contact with a sort of people that always seemed otherworldly, distant, and rather threatening to Estelle. Now, a new face of Christianity is emerging and that face belongs to the small somewhat, dysfunctional Hernandez family. As they drive off down the street, Estelle considers what she just saw and compares it to her own experience of family. The William’s family consisted of only three persons, with one daughter but that’s where all resemblance came to an end. It was obvious that Tony loved Maria and Maria loved Tony. Their focus (though too subservient) was on their daughter. Her wellbeing was their upmost concern, even if they didn’t always express it in a way best for Alisha. This little, imperfect family enjoyed a lot of love. Did that love come from their religion? Was there something to this God stuff?

Estelle’s thoughts wash backward into feelings she’d rather not explore but has no power to stop, now. That bond of love was not what held the William’s family together. It was Emma’s need that formed the adhesive of her family. She and her father’s drive to fulfill a self-imposed duty to serve that gaping lack had kept the William’s family together. As to a damaged false idol, Estelle and her dad paid all homage to Emma and found their sad, life’s purpose in trying to satisfy the poverty they called wife and mother, with themselves. Their worship and service were futile because what Emma needed was the personal development of growing to become a complete person. Joe’s love for Emma was a kind of sad penance that Estelle would never understand. He worked himself hard to give her what she demanded, while not even sharing her bed but instead, sleeping in a separate room that resembled a monk’s cell. He tried to give his daughter the things she needed but was emotionally, unavailable. He was too overwhelmed with trying to complete his wife to have anything left for anyone else. He emptied himself out for her and died with nothing. Emma was a non-persona and had nothing to offer anyone, let alone her daughter. Estelle, with no deliberate thought, simply tried to relate to her mother by mirroring Joe’s relationship with Emma. In this moment, the past and the present congeal in Estelle’s mind and heart and she realizes she grew up as an invisible child. Her parents were so lost in themselves that they seldom saw her and never knew their daughter. Even worse, she knows she remains unknown, unattached to others, and is an obscure woman.

Finding it hard to breathe, Estelle opens the window. The day’s last golden rays of sun-light stream in with sparkling, intensity and a sudden gust of strong wind pushes a weakened Estelle down on her knees. With head and hands on the window sill and tears streaming, Estelle without thinking finds herself praying, “God? Oh… God…? God. I need you! I don’t know what to say…or even if you hear me…but I can’t be like this anymore! Please, help me find my way out! Please! Send someone to love me so, I can know what love is before I die!”

The powerful gust of wind now settled into a gentle, caressing breeze is comforting and Estelle lifts her eyes to witness a brilliant gold and peach sunset that she understands as a visual reply to her prayer. Peace settles over her and the painful ache of an unnamed longing she’s always born ebbs away. None of it makes reasonable sense but her heart accepts it all gladly, without question. Caravana rubs against her thigh purring and she knows he understands too.

“Oh, Caravana! I don’t know what’s coming tomorrow but I think everything has changed!”

To be continued.

For previous posts in this series visit my Page entitled “The Recluse Series” at https://joyindestructible.com/the-recluse-series/