God-believer or not, you have to admit this story is cool. If you’ve been following our hero (me), you will know that I have been going through difficult life transitions in recent years, having lost my mother and my brother and now preparing to separate for good from my growing-up house.
So I’m over at the empty house the other day, looking behind doors, toeing the dust piles in the corners and opening closets for the twentieth time, looking for . . . what? At some level, I think I’m looking for my brother or my childhood or some cosmic connection to all I’ve lost.
Being a God-person, I pray: “God, I know this is silly, but can you just give me something — anything? Some comfort. Something to show me I’m not alone here.”
Then I chuckle at my “oh ye of little faith” moment. I know God’s with me; “fear not” and all that stuff. Isn’t that enough?
I decide to go up to the attic for the last time in my life. I didn’t go up there before I paid the professionals to clear out the house — too many childhood toys and games and rock collections and moldy stuffed animals that I do not need in my rapidly dwindling fifties. Better I not even see them.
I stoop but bang my head on the eaves anyway, as I always have. The little crescent window where my mother showed me my first baby birds when I was five is now so crammed with old nesting material that almost no light gets in.
Marauding squirrels have apparently broken through the barrier of concrete blocks and old license plates I erected several years ago, and there’s Pepto-Bismol-pink insulation scattered everywhere. Otherwise, the attic is empty.
“Anything?” I say to God again. “A scrap of paper?” (For real. I said that.)
And then I see a scrap of paper. It’s peeking out from under a tuft of insulation. I don’t want to pick it up because I don’t want to be disappointed, but I do anyway.
It’s folded about two inches square, a delicate tatter with a faded floral print. I open it carefully, and here’s what I read:
“To a very dear little daughter — hoping that this Eastertide marks the beginning of the happiness her sweet unselfishness should bring her — Mom”
Might I remind you that this is Easter week.
The writing is my grandmother’s. My mother saved this precious piece of paper her whole life.
And now it is made even more precious, as the Easter message of sacrificial love, joy, and freedom passes on to another generation.