--A note for the reader by Alynn McNeil
When the writer asked me to write a post, I wasn't sure what I'd talk about. I'm not that interesting, but I've lived in a lot of interesting places. The people I've met are more than interesting, and I've done some things that border on downright mad.
Like sleeping under bridges. It's not that bad, really. Father and I always told Tarin that we were "going camping," and he had enough excitement to spur an army into battle. He'd always help Father get a fire going, and we'd tell stories until it was dark enough to sleep. Then I'd look at Father and see the lines by his eyes, his vacant stare into the fire, and try to say something to make him feel the same excitement that Tarin did.
"Da, maybe in this town, they'll have a smithy that you can work in," I remember saying once. "And maybe they'll have a house with a big bed and a window! And maybe we'll have neighbors that will let me work in their garden! I'll ask for some vegetables from it, and I'll make good soup like Mother used to! I promise."
Father smiled at me, but his eyes were still empty and sad. I hated it when he smiled like that. I wanted to hug him and make the sadness go away, like I could do for Tarin. I believe I was ten at the time, and I didn't know that adults were far more complicated than children.
"Go to sleep, Lynder," Father told me. I can still hear his voice saying it, and sometimes I just close my eyes and listen. "Sleep, and maybe God will give you a dream where you have a garden, and a bed to yourself. Pray, and it might come true."
I prayed. I prayed for a home, for a job for Father, for a garden and a new pillow and a family. It took some time, but I have a garden now. I have my own bed and a feather pillow, and most importantly I have a home and a family.
The only thing I couldn't get by praying was a smile that Father meant. I couldn't get him a job, or a home, but God did. I like to imagine him in heaven, making shoes for Jesus' horse. He'll do such a good job that Jesus will smile at him. Maybe Jesus' smile will do something mine can't; maybe Father will smile back, and mean it.
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.