Saturday, May 31, 2014

Under the Apple Tree

I've been visiting with a woman lately who has lots of troubles.  At first appearances, she seems very troubled, slow, or mentally unstable.  But this week, I'd been asking God to give me compassion...not particularly for this woman, but for my life in general.  And God answered that prayer and pierced my heart with a peek into another heart.

Sally (not her real name) came to visit me and as we talked, she began to cry.  She told me about her younger sister who was born with Down's Syndrome in a day when children with Downs were often institutionalized.  But she took me back to the days before her sister went to live in "that home," as she described it.

Sally loved to create houses for her dolls out of cardboard boxes.  She would take these boxes, her dolls, and her little sister and there they would play for hours under the apple tree.  Sally said her sister never learned to she talked enough for both of them.  They played and played and Sally talked and talked.  They would stay under the apple tree all day...or at least until her mother called them home.  And then they'd repeat the process the next day.

Sally told  me how hard it was (through her tears) when her little sister went to live in "that home."  She lost her best friend...and she didn't even really understand what was happening.  She couldn't comprehend why she couldn't take care of her little sister and play with her every day.  She insisted she could have talked for her sister.  They just wanted to play under the apple tree.

Sally told me she suffers from mental illness and has for most of her life.  I saw in this older woman, who has lots of problems functioning in our world, a little girl full of pain, scars, and grief.  She cried as she told me she never had a friend at school...someone to just love her.  She never received any kind of award or honor like the other kids.  She never felt normal.  It just makes me wonder if her brokenness began when she could no longer take a little sister to play under the apple tree.

Yes...God pierced my heart.

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