Hiding in Plain Sight, by Paula Rose Michelson

Welcome to chapter two, which is aptly titled Hiding in Plain Sight because this is what Naomi’s rash decision to accept the old Tía’s offer, and her fear of being discovered forces her to do. Before you read this posting, I hope that you will remember our heroine planned to find her Uncle and help him raise enough money to bring their family to this land of the free. However, given the horrid circumstance that she encountered, her life is very unlike the one she had envisioned, which leads me to ask you to think about one plan you implemented that did not turn out as you though it would. Now that you have one in mind we can begin.

~~~~~The Text

Naomi’s loneliness was so pervasive that she searched for a way to escape her isolation, thought about the times her mamá had taken her and her sisters to church to light their candles, remembered how they had successfully masqueraded as Catholics, and wished she could do the same. It is better this way, she told herself, her loneliness assuaged by the fact that she did not have to explain to a friend why she had an aversion to all things religious. Yet sometimes, when the church bells rang, she felt closed in by her isolation, and wished her tía would release her from her pledge. Then she would remind herself that if her sponsor thought she was not as she seemed, she would be out on the street, picked up by immigration, and deported. Many nights she lay awake in her room as feelings of guilt overwhelmed her. In the quietness of the casa, she would think about the choices she made that lead her to live a life in the shadows. She wished she could undo the decisions that had forced her into this difficult situation.

She tried to remind herself that her mamá had called it “hiding in plain sight” and taught her at an early age how to blend in. Although she had fled Spain in search of freedoms the Jews did not have there, her lot was very much like theirs. Yet when she remembered the stories of the Jews forced to become Catholic or die during the Inquisition, she breathed a sigh of relief, for she believed that no one in America would do such a heinous thing. As a hidden resident of Spanish Harlem, she knew her omission placed her in daily peril. She feared telling her tía. She feared not telling her tía. She was unable to own who she was. For as long as she could remember, no one had ever stepped from the shadows of their faith into the true light of day. No one had ever spoken of who they were or whose they were.

Naomi was pleased that she did not have to live a life of two faiths, as her tía put no store in “such foolishness,” as she called it. Hiding here was easier. Yet sometimes, when she heard the church bells ring, she would think of her desire to be involved in life outside the casa. If she had spoken with someone, she might have confessed that each time she heard them, her heart leapt for joy. Just as suddenly, the memory of her shameful secret would resurrect itself. Aware that she was not Catholic but Jewish, she would curl into a ball for protection and remember the painful feelings of rejection she had experienced. Tremors would seize her body as she ruminated on the times others had shunned her family on her account. In her mind, the fault was the church’s because it was through her participation in the life of the church that she had heard many things that affected her and left her no alternative but to flee. The words of the nuns followed her across the ocean. “Jesus could never forgive or love a Jew. The Jews killed Him. They are an abomination before God.” Though those who had spoken the words were far away, and she sometimes wondered if she had remembered their words correctly, she assumed they were her adversary, for she did not know that there is one who is unseen who wars against the elect. Although she knew that what the church had taught was a lie, her mind hammered the words at her until she found herself thinking, Jesus could never love me. My people killed him!

~~~~~Author's Definition of Desire

Because Naomi’s desire seems to be important in the opening of this chapter, I believe it necessary to understand what desire is and how it can move or inhibit each of us. For the purpose of this posting, I define desire as: A wish or long for something that seems so needed that an individual believes that they cannot live without that desired thing or person.


Does a desire for something motivate or inhibit you?

If others knew what your hearts desire was/is would they use that information for or against you?

What have you planned, or are you doing to ensure that what you desire will become a reality?

~~~~~~Authors Comments

Although this posting and the questions above may seem like every other that I have posted, let me suggest that at times each of us treats those things that might profoundly impact us as if they were of no import at all. I share this because I have found that the things I do not want to deal with are those very things that, once exposed, give me no rest until I have grappled with them. Just as in the beginning of this chapter, Naomi must grapple with her choice and all making it denies her, each of us must own our reality for only by doing this can make new, and hopefully better plans.

Until we meet again, I pray Gods Shalom (His peace) which transcends all understanding upon you.

Should you wish to order your copy of Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing in book from Amazon.com please hurry because (though more have been ordered) there are only three remaining. Since the novel is available in Kindle if you have that device you can always download your copy at http://www.amazon.com/

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