My friend Margareta DIDN'T die! She came pretty close to it last November ( The Last Mile ), but she pulled herself back from the brink with the loving care of her son Loarne, who took leave from his Friary to watch over her, encouraging her to eat, drink, move around, take her meds, and do everything else necessary to ensure a miracle.
So, Margareta and I embarked upon a longer journey.
Margareta tells her story over and over. An authoritarian father who was disappointed in her, a sister who criticises everything she does. Even to this day, nothing Margareta does is good enough, she isn't clever enough, articulate enough ... On and on. I listen, I nod sympathetically, I make the right noises. Until yesterday, that is, when something in me woke up.
"Margareta, you have to stop this!"
I hold her hand and remind her of the wonderful things she has made with her hands, the beautiful home she has created that she shares so gererously with others, her kindness, steadfastness, intellect ...
I tell her how loved and appreciated she is, and I watch her shake her head in disbelief.
Is it possible to stop her carrying the disapproval of her father around, or to shut her ears to the critical voice of her sister? I don't know, but I'm not going to stop trying.
Oddly enough, when leading bible studies, Margareta would strive to make her students aware of who they really are. So much more than a finite creature in a decaying body. She looked at me, aghast when I told her to stop her ears to the lies from the past, start listening to a new song, and sing it to herself.