Maria didn’t walk on the beaches as much nowadays because she had to drive to the back hills after work to get home. However, the beach was the place – vast, changing, and unchanging - where she heard Amira’s voice the most clearly. Today, she was walking.
“You sense that Farkas wishes you no harm and that Verloren does,” said Amira, “so you are willing to pray for Farkas but not for Verloren.” Amira was a gentle but direct corrector. “At this point, that is unacceptable.” Maria wondered who it was ‘unacceptable’ to and what ‘point’ she was at.
“I see,” said Maria who was not sure she really wanted to see it at all.
“You can turn every ugly and damaging drama into a genuine blessing by seeing it differently. No one is suffering on purpose. We learn to give up the pleasure we feel in self-righteously blaming others. Healing happens when we see things differently. The question is; do you want suffering or peace? It’s that simple.”
“Hmm,” said Maria. “That’s a fairly obvious choice but let me think about it some more!”
“As you wish,” said the ever patient Amira. “Remember, you are not trying to abide the darkness. You are choosing to sit where it is sunny and warm.”
Lucy had not spoken to Lenny about Maria’s leaving home or Verloren’s comments about Maria being a different person since the accident. Both were too raw and she didn’t want to give them any more power than they already had. This evening, it was time.
“Maria decided to walk on the beach after work today,” she told her husband casually.
“How is she going?” asked Lenny.
“She loves living at Charlie’s.”
“That’s good. We want her to be happy.”
The thought of Maria’s happiness opened the door for Lucy. “Verloren said that people wonder if Maria is the same person since the accident.” She felt silly saying it but it felt worse not saying it. “What if she isn’t really our daughter?”
Lenny stopped reading the paper. He looked up at the woman he married when he was seventeen and said without hesitating, “If we have a daughter with the angels and a daughter who lives near us, works happily with her mother every day, and loves us both then we are very lucky. We would then have two daughters, Lucy, not none.”
Lucy looked at her husband of thirty-five years. She felt very blessed; about everything.
The following weekend, Maria overheard her mother saying to Verloren as she was leaving, “My daughter decided, a while back, that she is too old to live at home anymore but daughters never really leave their mothers.” Verloren stopped walking and looked at Lucy. Lucy’s voice was even and forgiving. She didn’t hold anything against Verloren. She saw the whole thing as an opportunity for her own growth and she was genuinely happy with her own little victory over herself. “She will always be my daughter, no matter where she lives, because I will always love her and it is the love that makes her my daughter.”