The wind blew softly through the trees, whispering its invitation to come and follow its carefree flight. Still in a daze, Teresa closed the window and slowly pulled on her cardigan and boots. She tiptoed softly to the door. As the door closed softly behind her, the warmth of the early afternoon sun showered her with memories of her native Philippines. She woodenly trudged up to the top of the hill, pausing momentarily to look at the view. The lush green grass of the Scottish meadow stretched as far as the eye could see. The lake shimmered in the distance. Slowly she dropped to her knees, “Oh Father, Your beauty is laid out before me, yet I feel nothingness. Help me, Father.”
She glanced nervously back at the cottage nestled between the trees. Dorothy should sleep for another few hours. Her last conversation with her had raked over her tender heart like the thorn bush that grew all round the cottage. The fact that her mother-in-law suffered from dementia did nothing to diminish the pain of the humiliation of being spoken to and treated like an incompetent and distasteful child. She had thought she had dealt with the prejudice she had felt since her marriage to a Scotsman. She and Charles had talked about this inevitability so many times, but why did it still hurt so much? She put her hands in her pockets and felt the letter she had quickly pushed in when Dorothy had walked in. She unfolded it and smoothed the creases carefully.
The last paragraph blurred as her eyes filled with tears…”Tessa, my darling, just one more night before I leave for home. I cannot wait to see you and hold you in my arms once more. You are an angel for insisting on staying with Mother while Maire is sick even though you will be subject to hostility. God brought this Scripture to me and I wanted to share it with you…
”But now the Lord who created you, O Israel (or Teresa), says, “Don’t be afraid, for I have ransomed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up---the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God….” Isaiah 43:1-3.
Did he have some sixth sense of what would befall him? The terrorist bomb had not only shattered brick and mortar in Manila, but had sent shards of glass hurtling across time and space to pierce thousands of innocent hearts, waiting for their loved ones to come through that front door, month after month. “Father, show me that You are still real, I can’t see through this fog.”
Suddenly, a butterfly alighted on her shoulders and startled her. Before she had time to react, the sweet voice of a small child whispered from behind her, “Look, Lady, he must be your angel too. He headed straight for you. My mommy told me before she died that God would always send angels to watch over me, and, lady, doesn’t that butterfly look like an angel with those shiny wings?”
“Thank you, Lord.” Streaks of hope and peace and joy penetrated the darkness of her despair. As she looked into the innocent gray eyes of this child sent by her Father, she found herself once again marveling at the beauty of God’s creation.
Side by side they sat for a long time, holding hands, sharing conversation like kindred spirits. As they talked, old wounds healed in the Presence of unconditional love. By the time she got back to the cottage that evening, the dread had disappeared. “I am yours and You are my God and I will ever praise You.” As she looked at the butterfly taking flight, its wings shimmering in the sunlight, she knew that hope that her spirit would one day soar freely.