It was another stunning Florida ‘winter’ day with the gentle breeze, the dry air, the temperatures in the very low 80’s. María and I walked and shot hoops (we’ve both gotten better at it, go figure?!) a lot. This afternoon, we sat on a porch swing outside A House, where María lives. She wanted me to braid her hair, and then to use lotion to give her a hand massage. Incarnation. It is all about incarnation and how it must have been like for Mary to marvel at the soft skin of her new born child, tending to him as best she could given her circumstances..
My iPad allowed us to use YouTube to listen to the Christmas music that we’ve known from ‘before the beginning, before there was time’–I imagine some of the folks who walked by behind us had to cover their ears because we couldn’t help but sing along. A bit loudly, I’m afraid.
I ran up to Mr. D’s Pizza in the late afternoon–that’s the pizza place that delivered pies to our home when we lived in Fort Lauderdale. Four years later, the man who delivered our pizzas is still there–I ran into him as I was coming in to pick up enough pizza for the staff and residents in A House. Just a little bit later, I sat at one of the dining room tables with my girl, 2 young women in their late teams who are profoundly autistic, and with S, who wears a protective helmet all the time, is about 50 years old I’d guess and has no teeth. She smiles with the innocence of an infant and she melts my heart. Usually she just flat out hollers. Tonight though, she ate her pizza with gusto and then wanted to know if I am married and kiss my husband. I couldn’t understand her but there were plenty of people around her who know her well enough to provide translation services. She beamed when I told her that yes I am married, and yes I kiss my husband.
I could name each of the women who make a home with Maria in A house, and tell little stories about each of them. Spending time at BARC has allowed me to get to know each woman-child, at least a little. I took great delight watching them all enjoy the pizza and then, the cookies I’d bought for them. But too soon, the meal was over and María was in charge of loading the dishwasher. We’d agreed this morning that that’s when I would leave and so I did. Dinner was as lovely as any Christmas meal, and Lord knows, I needed a little Christmas, right this very evening.
Now, it’s time to get cracking on what comes next–3 sermons to write and plenty else. So that’s what I will do but isn’t my María’s picture, shoved into my hand just as I was leaving, amazing? How can you not have the merriest “Chrissmiss” ever with such a gift.