Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hawa, My Gratitude Reminder

     Yesterday on the way to the grocery store, it was hard for me to make a right at the four way stop because of the woman who was jogging slowly in the street. Our eyes met and I thought to myself for a second about how dangerous it was for her to be so close to my car. I knew her ! She was the little girl who used to walk past my car when I was the carpool mom at middle school. There was something different about her back then. The other kids would walk in droves, talking over each other, yelling, some cussed and some flirted, all this to my observing eyes.This girl seldom had a friend. She was so black, like a crayola black. Her walk was purposeful as if she treasured the way each step felt to her feet and when she walked past my car, she wasn't afraid to look me in the eyes and smile. I looked forward to our daily exchange and wondered who was the white lady in the red station wagon that gave her a ride. Sometimes I felt mad at the woman because she was always on a cell phone laughing and from my view, it didn't seem like she paid any attention to the girl.
     I usually wore my old paint clothes to pick up my kids because I was a faux painter while they were in school. My nails were dirty and sometimes paint was still on my face in spots. This embarrassed me and I probably spent way too much time dwelling on the negative. It was my most complaining day when I found out about the black girl. Her name was Hawa. She was living in the United States with a foster family. The muddled story was that when she was nine years old, she was playing outside with her friends while her mother washed clothes in the river. All of a sudden, they were brutally attacked by men who ambushed them with machetes, slashing their tiny bodies into pieces. Hawa pretended to be dead so the men left but she was alone in the outdoors next to her friends and mother for a week before anyone rescued her.
     Nobody talked about this at school. All of her fingers were gone on both hands. She was made to fit in, become a student at Mission Valley middle school and on my complainiest day is when she told her classmates in a delicate whisper, "I am so thankful to have a thumb! It lets me hold my paint brush because some day, I am going to be an artist!"
     Needless to say, I learned to keep my mouth shut about stupid things that do not matter.

             ....Loving what is, ends suffering~ Dov Fishman

     I heard she's married and has small children of her own. Probably a very good artist too, the kind of artist who knows gratitude.


  1. Amazing story...thanks for sharing!!!

  2. Oh Sandy I remember her! What a perfect story for gratitude. God bless her.