“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.” Saint Francis Prayer
Faith is invisible. It floats from the sky like feathers.
Contemplating the recent election, I recalled my childhood, sitting on the floor with my mother, my favorite stuffed bear on my lap. Still a young woman, she read to me from a picture book and pointed to a black and white photograph of Rosa Parks.
I was puzzled. The historic figure looked like the nice, ordinary ladies that mother and I would routinely see on the bus or the park. I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. Mother was teaching me about the history of racism and civil rights in this country so that certain words and behaviors would be intolerable. She wanted abhorrence to injustice to stick within her daughter.
I remember the lessons mother taught me,
Give up your seat to nice others—Even if the person’s green like Kermit. We are all equal under the sun.
Do something for someone else. Call grandma.
Each individual is responsible for creating a just world. I was to share my tuna sandwich if another kid was hungry. And not throw my trash on the floor.
Bullies are just small, insecure people. They travel in herds. Like sheep.
Righteous ignorance and stupidity are dangerous. It was important to read books.
Do the right thing. You can’t fool yourself.
The purpose of my education was to build character. That was the true measure of a person.
Faith is invisible. There really was a Santa, even though I always seemed to miss his visit
Now, I am grappling with the darkness in the world. There is so much that can’t be explained to a child. Like a rainbow in New York City.
We love ghost stories. The thing is this. Monsters and vampires remain within us.I remember sitting around a campfire as a child, shuddering “Are there bears in the woods?
Will the marshmallows come out before we incinerate from these flames? This is truly hell…”
Listening to tales about the living dead, my mind wandered. Is that what I have to look forward to? Being a an adult zombie?
Now, to my horror,on Halloween Eve, I sit around the TV, watching CNN with my Yorkshire terrier. We are both stretched out, dry drunks listening to the tropes about Trump and Clinton. I bought low fat ice cream and it sucks. I can’t go out to score something more lethal because the elevator is crammed with kids and their parents who are yelling and screaming, running up and down the service entry stairs.
As a child, I silently walked down Irma Drive in my leopard pajamas, climbed up the steps to ring neighborly doorbells, and shoved my plastic pumpkin under the noses of gracious moms who faked a smile and threw a penny in for Unicef, or worse an apple slice. A tiny bag of M & Ms or a cookie was pay dirt. I ate as much of my most coveted candy before I got home and turned it over to my mother. She was a binger.
The specters are still here. So are the dead.They say boo and I quake.
I always had a thing for pink. The color is soft and fluffy like cotton candy. Girly-girl and romantic. We’re trained to love it from our first little pink shoes to pink nightly. Pink tastes like the fairy icing on my birthday cakes, feels like warm baths with Mr. Bubbles, and smells like a fresh tube of baby doll lipstick. I fondly remember many of the pink things that have made my life beautiful,
My pink tutu and ballet slippers that I wore every day for a full year when I was nine (even though I was a hopeless dancer)
Mother’s pink feather boa (that wasn’t just pulled out on Halloween)
My Barbie car
Magenta silk pumps that made me feel like a vixen
Pink drinks that end with a -tini
Monogramed stationary adorned with pink cupcakes
Matching pink sweetheart nails and toenails
Our pink poodle, Mr. Pierre. Mother spray-painted his tail for her Pink Fink Party. Everything was, what else, Pink!
The color has always made me feel happy. And bold. A “Jane” that was authentic and light. So it made sense that God started to talk to me in the “language of pink.” First, I was handed my pink slip. Then, I saw slips of pink paper everywhere.
For example, one blue day, I found a tiny plastic pink heart in the cracked pavement of a New York City street. Another morning, it was pouring rain. I was late for work and missed the elevator. Standing outside the building getting drenched, I was annoyed having to wait.By the time the next elevator came, it was packed. The dripping crowd pushed their way into the small space with soggy umbrellas, coats, bags, and all.
Staring at the ground. I noticed a pair of smooth pink toe shoes pointed in “first position.” I looked up to see a young ballerina, around five years old. She was dressed from head to toe in a burst of pink— tutu, ballet shoes, tiara, and umbrella. Her mother cooed in the background, “Gemma dear, hold my hand.” I blinked. Gemma is the name of the protagonist in “My Slip Was Pink.” How could that be a coincidence?
I believe that a spiritual force communicated with me in an encouraging way. It seemed to urge me to continue this book, even when I was disheartened, as well as through many hardships. The worst of all was the loss of my mother. Even so, there was “pink” in the challenges and changes. I learned we can find beauty and grace in the language of pink.
Looking back on my life, I understand, my Slip Was ‘Pink.’
How this Jewish girl has always loved Easter. Jelly beans. Chocolate eggs wrapped in multi-colored tinsel. Marshmallow bunnies. Bonnets with birds and flowers. Pink suits and matching pumps. And last, Sunday brunch. Yes, Sunday was the perfect day to rise from the dead. Tuesday or Wednesday, just wouldn’t have been appropriate.
My mother passed away five weeks ago after a long illness. Watching her keen mind diminish from dementia, I almost wanted it to end. Or so I thought. There is no dress rehearsal for grief. No trainer to pump up the misery muscle. No way to outsource heartache. Grief is something that I carry around with me. Like a credit card with my name etched deeply into .its flanks.
Living in the grocery ice cream aisle. And in Bloomingdales.