I look at this picture and see what could have been and was not.
A child forgotten, left alone, scared and afraid.
My Dad passed away in the Spring. I was 8 years old. My Mom went back to work full time….my brother, 5 years older than me, was dealing with his own life and sorrow. My grandmother lived with us….mainly to help with cooking and cleaning. She had her own life….her friends, her clubs….and I was alone.
I couldn’t wait for that summer to be over. Not allowed outside with no adult supervision, life consisted of looking out the living room window to see the world.
Fall finally arrived….back to school…back to life.
Time passes quickly, and summer is here again. I am staring through the looking glass of the world….my living room window….once more.
A lonely child……
But, one day there is something stirring in the home across the street. I see very young children outside with their mother. I watch them through the living room looking glass every day and wish I could be with them…..be like them.
An evening….a knock on the door….dinner interrupted…who could this be? Who would have the audacity to interrupt the sacred dinner hour?
Mother arises from the table…not too happily…..to answer. It is the lady I have been watching for quite some time now.
My body trembles….perhaps I’ve been watching too much….perhaps she is going to tell my mother about the watching….perhaps I’ll be in some sort of trouble yet again.
She says she has seen me watching through the window. She is wondering–could I come to her home during the day and help with her three young children? She is very busy, has too much to do….could really use the help.
Hold my breath……..
Mother says yes, I could do this……..
And, from that day–all through that summer–I went to Mrs. Robertson’s home in the morning and stayed with her all day.
She taught me many things…how to knit, how to sew, how to hold and soothe a crying baby. She gave me insight into this life by just talking with me about her day….explaining every thing she did.
When I would arrive, there always some project for us to work on together…..a dress to finish for one of her girls, a piece of knitting that just needed ‘a few more rows’ and could I do this?
Yes, I did help her with her housework and childcare. At that young age, I thought that I was the ‘helper’.
And yet….looking back at those times after living through this life….I know that she was the ‘helper’.
The lonely little girl watching the world through the living room looking glass was no longer. Instead, a vibrant, alive child arose in me….a child who felt purpose to her life.
Are you lonely? Are you afraid? Are you depressed?
Perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself is to help someone else. The blessings that you pour out on a person in need will flow back to you in ways greater than you can imagine.
Thank you, Mrs. Robertson……
The most important life-giving lesson you taught me was how to love…….