Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge. -Eckhart Tolle
I realized this morning that the timeline of these “The Afternoon Knows” blogs is definitely not sequential, but are definitely ordered in my mind according to specifics.
Specific memories of specific events and the specific time they happened.
April 15, 2013 at 2:03 p.m.
The day unfolded quite normally. Remember, “The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”
As my little black notebook (which is MY LIFE) shows, the day was filled to the brim: take mom to the doctor, call administrator of local assisted living residence, attend an online training for the online college course I teach, visit the Assisted Living Residence with momma (for the first time), and draft a letter to the Veteran Administration Office to begin the process of getting my mom a pension called, “VA AIDS & ASSISTANCE.” Through a series of very fortunate events, this pension was brought to my brother’s attention and then to my attention, by two Assisted Living Administrators. Because my momma is a retired veteran (she was one of the first women marines, Parris Island 1949), and was married to a Marine, both who served during a war (The Korean War), she was qualified to receive this pension, which would give her the necessary funds to actually transition to an assisted living facility. At the time, she was in dire pain because the screw from her initial hip repair (December 2012), had bore a hole through the wing of her hip. She couldn’t take one step without excruciating pain. We weren’t quite sure what to do (which is a whole other story), but I knew one thing: we needed a plan because it was becoming obvious that she was going to need daily care.
So at 2:00 pm on an ordinary Monday afternoon in April (which actually was the day of the Boston bombings, so sadly, not so ordinary), Momma and I sat on a lovely bench in the foyer of Emily Green Shores, waiting to meet with the Administrator. That moment, for me, was quite possibly one of the most difficult moments of my life. Never in a million years did I ever imagine being in such a place. My grandmother, Josephine, a strong Bohemian woman whose family immigrated from Czechoslovakia (now, the Czech Republic) in 1902, lived to be a hearty 95 years old. I never fathomed that my momma would experience anything different.
I felt faint, actually, and very anxious. How can this be happening? Torn between my own emotional state and that of my momma’s, I sat. We sat.
Suddenly, at 2:03pm, my phone rang.
“Washington” and a strange number showed up.
I didn’t recognize the number and was going to let it go to voice mail, but then thought it might be one of my momma’s doctors, so I answered it.
“Hello, is this the mother of Candace Rose Rardon?” a man’s gruff voice spoke.
Immediately, my heart became even more anxious. Knowing Candace was off on a Japanese pilgrimage some thousands of miles away, my thoughts raced. No need to record them, I bet you know exactly what I thought.
“Yes,” I hesitantly spoke. “It is.”
“Well, this is so and so from the New York Travel Fest and Candace Rose has won our story contest and a trip to Prague for two!” he said.
“What!!?” I screamed, as my loud voice alarmed the elderly men and women sitting in the foyer with my momma and me. Oops!
“Yes, her story has been selected. I’ve left her several emails and need her to reply by tomorrow night at midnight or we will be forced to give the prize to the runner-up.”
“Oh, no..that’s not happening,” I said. “I’ll get a message to her somehow.”
The next few hours were a blur. Momma and I had our interview with the Administrator. I tried to stay focused on this monumental decision, but all I could think about was Candace answering that email.
You see, the prize was two roundtrip tickets to Prague…my maternal lineage…, two nights in a 5-star right (located in the heart of Prague City Center), a special tour, and more.
All I could think about was getting on a plane, watching endless movies, staying in a 5-star, and doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING but rest, eat, sleep, and BE WITH MY DAUGHTER.
That moment personified where life has taken me…sandwiched between my momma and my family.
The rest of the day was one big PRAYER to Jesus (and any other saint in my cloud of witnesses, Hebrews 12:1) that Candace Rose would get to a WiFi spot where she could check her email. I tweeted. I facebooked. I emailed. I did it all again.
I even became so desperate that I tried to call hostels all along the temple circuit, asking Japanese caretakers if they had “tall, blonde American” staying at their hostel.
One particular caretaker responded with, “No, no American, only 4 Italian,” in very, very broken English.
At approximately 10:30 pm, I surrendered. Breathing one final prayer, I left it in God’s hands.
“Lord, please make Candace check her email. Amen.”
At 3 am, I woke up. I rushed to my computer to see if Candace had responded.
“MOM, WE’RE GOING TO PRAGUE!”
Once again, I screamed. Only this time, not out loud. I screamed and twirled and whirled right there in my living room.
You see, the afternoon knows we all need rest. We all need something to look forward to. We all need a little light when the darkness falls.
It doesn’t always come when we expect it. Never in a million years would I have anticipated heading to Prague, CZ. It is something my daughter and I have talked about for years. She has traced her lineage and even created a beautiful scrapbook for my momma with her findings. It is now a family treasure.
After a very long arduous journey this past year, where I’ve come to know my momma in a whole new way, my daughter and I are now heading to trace our lineage together. I’m not sure what the afternoons in the Czech Republic, the Land of Stories, has in store, but I am heading out in a few hours to see. If you’d like to follow my journey…our journey…I’d love to have you along. I’ll definitely be posting once or twice (unless I get so rested, I decide to just sip hot black CZ tea and do nothing), and will be tweeting, facebooking, and instagramming, for sure!
May I offer a prayer before I go?
God in Heaven,
You see absolutely everything.
It astounds me that you care so deeply for your children.
Yes, there are times when you feel so far away.
Yes, there are times when you feel so close.
Right now I pray that you send a great big hug to my dear friends,
so they will know and feel and experience your presence, just like I did
that day in April. Your timing is perfect.
Help each one of us trust YOU, because YOU are trustworthy.
Help us open our hearts, our minds, our eyes and our ears, so that we don’t miss
what you have for us. In Jesus’s name. Amen.