Spiritual Non-Fiction posted April 4, 2018


Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Treasures are often found just when needed

Unexpected Halos

by Cindy McIntyre

Treasure Hunt Contest Winner 

Grief has been organizing a timeline for me. Indexing, measuring, and marking the contents of time, each memory being recreated as dog-eared pages inside my mind. Mom and Dad were the most significant treasures I have ever known. Eighteen years ago, I endured sitting at my mother's gravesite. Looking down, I witness again, Mother's engraved headstone, and see my father's name, the date of his birth, and then a blank. No longer is that empty space a heavy-hearted mystery. February 2017, will be etched in stone. Where do I go from here? Without them, how does my story go on?

Donating most my father's clothing to Goodwill seemed the appropriate protocol. Passing on his favorite polo shirts in the various approved three shades of blue, green, and brown, could benefit someone. Each article of clothing I touched told a story, which I visited, through memories. Hadn't I recently washed, dried, folded and placed these socks, and pants inside these very dresser drawers? This was their home; where they belonged.

Grabbing the handles of the dresser the urge to slam and open and slam and open the dresser's emptying drawers was strong. Nearby, pilfering through the nightstand, my sisters provide a moment to pause and giggle at Dad's half-eaten tomato sandwich. Then I realize he's gone, having died in his sleep, a foot away, in that king-sized bed, where we found him.

Deep dresser drawers, five in all, were now empty. Even my favorite drawer with the three dividers. It was the perfect drawer when I was young, so I claimed it with a blue crayon and my byline of our last name, followed with my age, "4." Dad said, "We capitalize the 'I' in our last name because we are Irish!" So, I memorized that lesson at the tender age of four. And I vowed I would not forget--putting it all to the test, succeeding. Authorship of that dresser had been set in place. However, the crayon marks have since faded and the entire contents of this magical piece of furniture now vacant. What was I even going to do with this dresser and its matching mirrored top console? Gazing back at me, with no answer--my blank reflection. I had promised to rent my house (where Dad lived) to my niece.

Stored in my garage, sat the furniture. The rain was forecasted for days, and my mood was also stormy. Displaced--both me and that furniture. Although I had not been "kicked-out" of my Dad's home, it resonated in that fashion. This location is where I was expected to show up, every day after work. Where would I go now? Who would be expecting me? When would I find someone who wanted the furniture? The news came to me via a phone call: the mirrored console dresser had broken loose and was cracked. Grief set in again, over the loss of a mirror. Suddenly, it becomes my family's heirloom.

Shattered, the mirror and myself. Along with an overwhelming fear that something else terrible is going to occur. I had to have that furniture for myself. After rearranging my office, it seemed I had enough space to make the two pieces fit perfectly. Unknowingly, friends were watching the weather radar, and on my behalf, arranged a time to pick up the dressers for me--carefully dodging the rain storms.

Once alone, I sat on the floor, next to the tall dresser, allowing myself the chance to grieve the loss of forty-seven years' worth of memories contained in the magical dresser with the deep five drawers and the three dividers. Still, a child at heart, just four-years-old, flustered, orphaned and paralyzed with grief.

Draping a scarf over the corner of the broken mirror, I hide the damage. Two of the large family Bibles, stuffed with loving treasures, found a home on the dresser with the mirrored shelf. Also reflected in the mirror is a gift my dad bought my mom; a white dove musical box which plays the love song, You Light up My Life. Trinket boxes, one containing my father's watch is nearby, and although it no longer keeps time, its value is infinite.

Still, I questioned God and my faith. God had taken away from me, again. What do you want from me, God? What direction are you taking me in on this tailspin of grief? Question after question I begged God to answer me--show me a sign. Give me hope.

I began to dust out and vacuum each of the deep drawers of the dresser. On the top, I displayed my favorite photo, a canvas print of my mom and dad. My mother's photograph, which always evokes, "you look just like your mother," is prominent, as a constant reminder of her faith and love. One by one, I add sentimental items, to the top drawer. I work down to my favorite drawer, the one I proudly authored with my name and age, cognizant of the fact I had placed a claim on this very dresser, since the age of four! Slowly, the overflowing drawers begin bringing fulfillment.

Wedged into the corner of the drawer, in divider number one, a broken snap or button is stuck. Administering all my strength, I attempted to vacuum it out, but it will not budge. Persevering with my fingernails, I dig and dig until I could see it was actually something golden. Funny, no one saw this while emptying out the drawer and it didn't fall out during the move? Or I hadn't noticed it before while helping Dad put away his clothes, over the years. Grabbing the vacuum, once again, I go for it! Zero luck! Sighing, I shout, "Fine, forget it!"

I begin wallowing in self-pity--"Why me, God? Have you figured out a purpose for me, other than more suffering? Can I beg for a little mercy on my soul?" Pacing the floor in circles, I stare at the mess I have created with my mom and dad's belongings in various piles to be sorted. Picking up random items, such as my dad's coffee pot and my mom's bird figurines, I'm wondering where I will locate them or what's next in my life.

Grief-stricken again, I pile myself into the fetal position on the couch and sob. One minute, I have visual images of finding my father's lifeless body, and in the next minute, I calm myself with the fact that he is now with my mother and at peace. I had two parents that loved me. Of course, it was understandable for me to long for them and for me to occasionally slip into moments of childish behaviors, because they are the main characters in the story of my life. They are treasures, worthy of being missed.

"Mother, how many Bibles does one need?" Back in the office, I investigate the answer because I see her personalized Bible, with its bookmark, Praise God, poking out. Her name is inscribed in gold lettering, on the bottom, right-hand side of the maroon leather. Two large family Bibles--both filled with our family's paper treasures are stacked beneath. "Can't you just be calm and have a little faith?" My mother's voice channels through me.

Millimeter by millimeter I tugged on the shiny item, still jammed inside. Triangle of gold? Wiggling and wiggling, back and forth, bits more appear. What button, snap, or tack would be in a shape, such as this? Enough of the "triangle" eventually surfaced, and I gave it a hefty yank. Flying out was a shiny little item. Holding it in the palm of my hand, I was awestruck. Unexpected halos--in my sight was the enchanting face of a tiny, golden angel pin. With praying hands and her eyes shut, she still looked up at me, and with a smile as if to say, "remember me?" Her triangular wing had been buried deep inside that dresser drawer.

Unable to fly, for eighteen years. Yet I had an inkling this Heavenly object, this treasured miracle, was watching over my dad and me--guiding, protecting, and loving us. Since Dad no longer needed her presence here on Earth, she stayed in hiding, just waiting. Awaiting, for eighteen years. Awaiting, for the perfect moment to emerge. Awaiting, for me. God's little messenger, appeared to me, in one of my darkest hours, delivering me the blessings of hope, peace, and faith--all I needed.


Writing Prompt
The rules are easy. In no more than 1,500 words write a story about finding a treasure. One picture allowed.

Treasure Hunt
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What a blessing to find a treasure as I hunted for answers from God!
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© Copyright 2018. Cindy McIntyre All rights reserved.
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