A WORD ABOUT ALL WATERS GATHERING
ALL WATERS GATHERING
Author is available For Book Signings and Readings, Panel Discussions and Seminars.
Important Lessons This Story Teaches:
o To Show Love and Respect for Our Elders:
o To Embrace The Wisdom Seniors Provide
o To Heed The Power of Words
SENIORS ARE TO BE CHERISHED AND HONORED!
AWG IS A CALL TO EMBRACE THE POWER OF WISDOM WE GAIN FROM SENIOR CITIZENS!
o How Does Someone Forgive Another?
o What Does It Take To Actually Forgive Someone?
o What Are The Healing Benefits Of Forgiveness?
READERS CAN DETECT HINTS THROUGHOUT AWG ON HOW TO FORGIVE!
ALL WATERS GATHERING
(Fiction excerpt from the published novel forthcoming January 2004)
Debra Quakerneck started her day as she did any other ever since her husband, Anthony, was gone. However, that day was going to be different – even though Debra didn’t know it.
She met a woman, Mieke (Mee-kă) Adams. Mieke shared an elongated morning with Debra and told her stories of her teen years and the lessons she was taught through the spoken word. Although her story begins with her at the age of only fifteen, she's embarked on a similar path as Debra.
Mieke visited an elderly woman as well, Anneke (Anne-kă) Sanford. Anne tried to warn her of the dangers of youth. Having spent years in Japan during her own young adult years, studying eastern religions and practices, her lessons sculpted her mind into the insightful character she' d become in her maturity. Armed with foresight, Anne shared her own experiences and lessons with Mieke to convey warnings to her. These were Anne's words:
"I cut school, drank, hung out at the juke-joint, and had a lot of men friends. She wanted to help me, and she tried, but I didn't make it easy for her. I knew it all, and she was just some crazy old lady. I was a young, wild country girl with dreams of moving up North with some of the fellas."
When Mieke wasn't focusing on the woman's belongings, she returned to worrying about being there alone. Her hands shook and her stomach quivered with an uncomfortable tickle. She wondered if she would make it out the house alive and (if she did) would her spoils be worth it.
"But what I learned is she saw things I didn't. She saw what my friends were really like, and I saw what I wanted them to be."
Mieke tried to follow what she was saying, but couldn't relate to any of it; therefore, her attention drifted again, fantasizing about David.
"She told me some folks were good at hiding. Young'uns are easy prey. They believe everything folks tell them and do what they're told. They too busy trying to do and don't take time to get on the sideline and just watch. They can't see behind the mask. You get what I'm saying to you, Mieke?"
"How'd you know my name!"
She laughed. "The boy at the shop told me. Oh, I'm sorry. My name is Anneke." She then spoke as if to someone else, "We have similar rhythms in our names, don't we?" She smiled and said to Mieke, "You can call me Anne."
"It's nice to meet you, Anne."
"Nice to meet you too, dear. Think about what I said. Sometimes, if you sit on the sideline and look, you'll see things happen before they do, and you'll see faces of those you know change into things you ain't never seen before." The woman struggled to stand then held the mask towards her.
Mieke stood and shook her hands at it. "Oh, Ma'am I can't-"
"Take it. You earned it, remember? Ain't nothing wrong with earning what you deserve. Everybody earns what they deserve, and young'uns ain't no different." She held Mieke's hand and said, "There was a man, sitting on a dirt road, who started to glow with a bright, beautiful light. Passing by, an old man saw this and asked if he was a god or a demon. The glowing man answered, 'Neither'. The confused man then asked if he was a magician or witch doctor. The glowing man said, 'Neither'. Plainly, the old man asked, 'What are you, then?' The glowing man replied, 'I am awake.'" With determination, she pushed the mask in Mieke's hesitant hands and showed her to the door.
Debra’s life took a drastic turn at a traffic light, by the end of that first meeting with Miko. She thrown back into the sea of insecurity -- what was once normal had become abnormal. She was even lonelier than she had already been!
Or so she thought.
Mieke supported Debra with loving tales that had helped her throughout her troubles.
"Dreams can be powerful tools, Debra."
"I know this one really got to me."
"I can imagine what you're going through, and I know what you're doing to yourself. I did it, too."
"When . . . what happened?"
"Well, when I was about eight-years-old, I had a childhood friend, Ruby. It took years before I could talk about her again, because she passed away as a little girl."
"Aw, Miko," she said in a sorrowful tone and lowered her forehead in her palm.
"It was an accident. We were playing in her backyard, climbing a tree -- she didn't want to go up but I kept forcing her. So to show her how easy it was, and to prove she was chicken, I started first."
Mieke stretched her small hand above her and grabbed the thick dark branch rough against her skin. She pulled herself up to the next and continued upwards. From the ground, Ruby called out to her; nevertheless, Mieke continued to climb.
Ruby looked up, shielded her eyes from the intense sunlight, but could still barely see Mieke in the tree. She lifted herself up onto the first branch and with difficulty went onto the next. She yelled out once more she couldn't do it, but Mieke urged her on.
"I didn't know how far she'd gotten. Before I knew it, I heard her scream then a thump. I couldn't turn around right away or I'd fall. It took a while, but I eased backwards, down from the tree. I finally reached the ground and saw her lying still, her eyes closed."
Debra's trembling hand was wet with tears and she said, "Miko, how did you deal with that? I'm a grown woman, and I can't handle it."
"It wasn't easy. Her mother blamed me, of course, and hated my mother and me for years. We didn't have enough money to move, so we had to deal with seeing her at the store or passing by. Guilt ate us both up even though it was an accident. It wasn't until I was in my twenties when Ruby's mother finally forgave me."
"She, just, forgave you?"
"I don't know when she actually did, but it didn't happen that easy. First, I had to gather enough courage to want to face her and apologize. That was the hardest part -- and forgiving myself. I had to keep telling myself it was an accident, and it wasn't anybody's fault. When I finally believed it, I was able to take the next step in locating her to tell her how sorry I was. The search lasted almost two years, but I found her, terribly ill and living in a healthcare facility back in her former hometown. One day, I visited her and do you know she recognized me right away?"
Debra sniffled. "Really?"
"All those years had gone by, but when I walked up to her she smiled and started crying. She held out her arms, and I grabbed her tight and told her how sorry I was. She said she'd forgiven me a long time ago." Miko chuckled then exclaimed, "I couldn't believe it! I felt guilty for so long: the nightmares, waking up drenched in sweat, being afraid to go to sleep at night, thinking I would see Ruby's ghost float outside my window. I suffered with my fears and regrets a long time, and the woman had already set aside her contempt. I felt like I had been breathing through a tube ever since the accident, and now I was holding on my own. I was alive again! If I were you, I'd go and talk to the mother-"
"Oh, I don't think I can do that now."
"No matter how hard it's going to be, and it is going to be tough, let her know how sorry you are."
"I know she hates me-"
"That may be true, and she's going to say some harsh things, but in the end she'll remember you showed remorse. That's all you can accomplish, and that's your goal -- show her how much you're hurting, too."
Debra sighed heavily and said, "I'll keep it in mind."
"Do more than that, Debra. Act on it, because the longer you wait the longer it'll take her to appreciate your sentiments."
Not only did Debra learn how to forgive, love unconditionally, and become strong through her weaknesses but she overcame her loneliness with the discovery of family – and herself. Her rewards were two-fold!
A.E.H. Veenman is available for interviews, conferences, readings and seminars. Author is also interested in participating in volunteer reading programs.
Please visit www.exobia.com for more information.