Thursday, June 12, 2008


I woke up the the morning of the 11th anxious to check my email in hopes of getting a response from Monique confirming our meeting spot and time. To my dismay there was an "internal error" with the server, so I crossed my fingers and hoped that what we had discussed would work out okay. At 2:15 Viomind and I ventured through Oxford hoping to stumble upon the "Castle complex" so we could meet up with her. We didn't know what this was, but saw Castle Road labeled neatly on our Xeroxed map. Off we went.

I rounded a corner and saw a beautiful, middle-aged women with auburn hair sporting a teal, v-neck, cotton dress and white pumps. For some reason I immediately pegged her as my lunch date; something about her just sparked. I had seen a picture of her once before. . . I think. As soon as her eyes met mine she ran towards me with her arms outstretched and pulled me in for a close hug. The entire time I was in her presence felt like a constant embrace.

We settled on a little Italian place for lunch and spent the next two hours there in rapt attention, listening to her stories and basking in her warmth. When we sat down she turned to me and looked my eyes and said, "I'm so happy to meet you. Your parents are so proud. I've heard so many stories." I replied with a, "Well they probably just told you the stories they have to be proud of. There are loads of others that could speak for the contrary." And what she said next made me strangely emotional and gave me insight into Monique's love and character. She said that we can focus on the proud parts and let the not-proud parts be, because they're what knock off the roughness and make us become gleaming. I want to gleam. Oh I want to gleam so badly.

After introductions and icebreakers I asked her about her past, her story, and a lifetime of wonder unfolded. She explained how she grew up in South Africa as a strict Calvinist; being taught to fear God, to feel wholly unworthy and vile and wicked, to think that humankind is innately evil. But something in her was felt unsettled. She always saw the light, the goodness in others. She saw the sunshine of souls and the beauty of humanity. As a 20-year-old young lady she was contacted by the Mormon Missionaries and their message coincided with her beliefs about the innately divine beings we are. She was baptized and a few years later served a mission. It was during these few years that she met my dad and began a dear friendship.

Her life took a series of sideways turns and plunges, she was humiliated, disowned by her family and ultimately was forced to leave her tribe. After the death of her dad, then her mum, a hysterectomy and other events, she wound up in India dressed in saris and starving. She lived there 3 months as a transient worker who stayed with the Hare Krishna people in these hostels of sorts where she knew morality was upheld and she could be safe. She left India weak, ill and smitten by a man she knew she could never love.

The stories she told us were simply incredible. She lead the sort of life that people lead in movies, but the best part of talking to her were the golden pieces of wisdom tidily packaged and perfectly delivered. I got pretty emotional a few times while I listened to her speak and as soon as we parted I wanted to sprint to my journal and start vigorously transcribing my thoughts into its pages.

She told us a lot about love, that you learn the most about love after the trappings of romance fall away. The things that really make you understand love is after you are no longer enamored by the things on which you share common ground. It's not the reasons why you're the same or the points that you agree on that makes your love beautiful, rather, it's in celebrating how different you are, the ways that you form two halves to create the whole. That is truly beautiful.

Age concerned her and she thought a lot about it. She said that you don't realize you've aged until you meet up with someone from your past and you notice how old (or young) they look. It absolutely boggled her mind that little Richard had a daughter as big as me. But she also noted that there is wisdom to be gleaned from age, that it gives you perspective and a chance to size up your smooth and rough patches.

The thing that impressed me most about her was the mantra she lived by: to live with an open, loving heart. I truly believe that she does because I felt of her love for me after basking in her glow for but a few minutes. She says that she strives to fill each day with kindness and understanding. What a good example this woman is. Truly Christlike in her interactions with others and exuding that light that is so innately a part of us. She touched me and I hope that too can touch others so like ripples on a lake we can all lift and built and touch one another in an attempt to reach the Divine.


Crosland's said...
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Crosland's said...

That is a pretty fantastic story and I can't wait to hear more about it. Any pictures of you and her?? You know with your face?

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