there are two more african-americans from my past about whom i wish to write. like those about whom i've written in the past few posts, i have no idea what their last names were. the first i knew as "josephine;" i'll write about "mary" next post. josephine had known me from my infancy. i believe she had helped my mother when we first moved to the small town in which i was raised, the town in which my father's lumber mill was located. we moved there when i was about a year old.
my father had a fenced play yard built for me at the mill, and i am told i spent part of many days playing there. the employees of the mill would stop to talk to me as they passed my play yard, so many of these employees knew me. often as i got older, former employees of the mill (which had closed) would greet me by name and talk with me as i went to the small shopping area of town with my mother on saturdays. i had no idea who these adults, many of whom were black, were, but i enjoyed adults taking an interest in me and looked forward to these quick conversations.
one of those who frequently visited with me was josephine. josephine had sparkling white teeth, and her constant smile illuminated her face. she had dark brown eyes that seemed to dance as she spoke. i loved seeing josephine and sensed that i held a special place in her heart. i was very surprised during the end of my senior year in high school when josephine showed up at the back door of our home carrying a folded bundle of cloth. she explained to my mother and me that this was a graduation gift for me, and as we unfolded the bundle, we discovered a beautiful pieced quilt-top. this piece of work had probably taken josephine many hours to make. as a senior in high school i didn't know how to appreciate such a gift, but i could tell from my mother's reaction that it was a precious gift. i carried that quilt-top with me through several moves over the years, but along the way it got lost. i can still see it in my mind's eye, and i regret that i never had it made into a quilt.
josephine never played a big role in my life, but for some reason i was someone she loved deeply. perhaps, she never had children of her own or had lost a son, and i took that child's place in her heart. i often think of josephine and can still see her tall slender body and her beautiful face with its animated smile and dancing eyes. i can hear her lilting voice. how precious that memory is to me and how wonderful it is to remember the joy that filled my heart each time i saw josephine.
my prayer for myself and you today is that we remember that we never know how we may touch another's heart, as josephine and i touched each other's hearts. on the deepest level, we are all connected, vibrating as we do with the pulse of creation, and so we are all each other's brothers and sisters, parents and children, and our love for one another is the greatest gift we can give.