‘m at a coffee shop. Today has been hard. My husband and I have been fighting. It’s always the same old stuff. And just as it seems to be sorted out, the problem appears again like an angry Jesus rising from the tomb to remind us that He is eternal and ever present. Those are our problems. They die, they resurrect, they come back to shine a light on our shortcomings and to remind us that we still have work to do.
I’m at the coffee shop eating a vegan blueberry muffin and drinking tea. I want to write, but I don’t know what about. There is a huge, brown man sitting next to me. He has a gold tooth and thickly framed black glasses with the lenses popped out. He is waving his fingers like magic wands and mumbling to himself in a strange language that I nearly understand. He is an impoverished sorcerer who needs a place to be. It is cold outside and I am not sure that he has a proper home.
I don’t want to talk to him. I want to write. I want to read my book or stew in my own grief and sadness. I want to think of my mangy, alley cat heart and wonder how many lives it could possibly have left. I want to think of its ability to break into pieces time and again, then cobble itself back together with push pins and crude stitching like Frankenstein’s monster. I want to remind myself that when it is full and healed, it is glorious. I do not want to talk to this strange, brown man casting spells in the chair beside me. But, I do.
I ask him, “Are you speaking Tongan?” He says yes. “I have a son in Tonga,” I tell him, “and hearing that language reminds me of him.” (He’s been gone a long time and I miss him every day— especially days like these.) He smiles at me and I realize he does not have one gold tooth, but many. It is common in Tonga and my baby boy (who is 20) just had his capped in gold. I feel my heart start to open slowly—just a crack—just enough to let a trickle of light peek through. I hear my soul telling me it is a gift that I sat next to this man who interrupted my writing with his strange incantations. The man begins to tell me a story.
He tells me that one day on his island, he was praying the rosary and he looked up and saw Jesus walking down the street. He says at first he was afraid, but quickly realized it was a sign. Jesus was there to tell him that he was correct to be praying the rosary and that he would live a long life and be a chosen one at the Second Coming. My ears pricked up. I want to hear more. But that is all he says. He closes his eyes and goes back to his quiet chanting and I move to another seat.
I have had many experiences like this in my life—times when I am at my lowest and I am sent something funny, something strange, something out of place. These are the moments when I remember that I am not really alone. That I am watched over. We all are. Perhaps the experience is not profound. Perhaps it is not life changing. Perhaps Jesus will relay no direct message to me through the coffee house Tongan. But it helped my heart to lighten ever so slightly. I hear my guides and angels telling me during these moments: “We are here. We know what you are going through. You are not alone.”
Humans have such a deep proclivity for loneliness. It is almost debilitating at times. We can feel so disconnected and so unseen, like quiet planets floating through space observing each other from afar, but never really knowing if anyone out there is quite like them.
My youngest daughter is a little planet unto herself. She has a big personality, big energy, and often it feels like we all just orbit around her. She is fearless, so she gets hurt a lot. When she is hurt she will hide under our heavy wooden dining table, crying that she wants Mama. Often, even while I am holding her she will continue to cry that she wants Mama. I understand her deeply during these moments. It is not me she wants. She wants understanding. She wants comfort. Not from me, but from something infinitely larger. Something that will come and reconnect the pieces inside of her that have been broken. I cannot do that for her. It is internal work and must be done by going within herself and finding her peace.
I think the Tongan found his peace through his vision of Jesus. Today I found mine through this coffee shop enchanter who was sent to tell me that my heartbreaks matter, even the petty ones. He came to tell me that Something out there is very aware that a small thing like an islander with a gold tooth would be deeply meaningful and healing for me. I thank my guides and go home to talk to my husband.
Life is like this so much of the time. If we look for the graces, for the helpers, for the healing…we will always find them. But we have to believe they are there, or more often than not, we will miss them altogether.