Since the day Naomi slept in the Garden, by Paula Rose Michelson

Reflective Questions

1. Have you ever fallen asleep and awakened to a new reality?
2.  Have you ever pledged yourself to a cause higher than yourself, to a spouse in marriage, a child, or a person in need and found your wants, plans and desires diminished by that commitment?
3.  Have you done so willingly or did the situation you faced require you to choose something you had not ever considered before.

The Text

                Since the day she slept in the garden after Madre Vida’s death, she had kept her secrets. Now as she sat in the garden, watching Justine and Bobby with their children, and Maria with her husband and two stepsons, she was at peace. Only in America could women from such different places become amigas, she thought as she watched Carl and Miguel, Maria’s stepsons, throw their football back and forth. Justine’s youngest, Roberto, came over to sit in her lap. But before he did, he demanded, “Tía, tell me about the time you loved me the most!”
                Naomi smiled at him. “Roberto, I have always loved you.”
                “But, Tía, remember it was right here on your patio!” Roberto stomped his foot for emphasis. “My mother has a picture of it taken on my third birthday when I was still a little boy.”
                “I remember that birthday. I was sitting on this very chair and you came up to me, lifted your arms, and hurled yourself into mine. I caught you and said, ‘My, what a fine bebé you are, my Roberto.’ But that was a long time ago.” She tousled his curly hair. “Now you are a big boy, six years old.”
                “Sí, I am un hombre.”
                “I can see that you are!”
                “Look, Tía!” Julie twirled around the patio on her toes like a ballerina. “Look at what I can do.”
                “Every Sunday the same old stuff.” Alex picked up his mother’s car keys and headed for the door.
                “Alex, these comments of yours are not necessary,” Justine called after him. “Apologize at once!”
                Alex held his head high while his eyes glared with all the machismo pride he could muster. “Sorry, Tía, it’s not your fault you have so many bambinos around.”
                “I give up!” Justine looked at Carl and Miguel to see if they heard Alex’s comments. “What is a mother to do? He is too old to spank, taller than me by a head, and running wild as can be.”
                “Now calm yourself,” Naomi chided. “He is a man. It is hard for him to be around the little ones all day long. Relax, Carlos and Maria’s boys are too far away to hear what he said. Besides, Alex is a good person. Do not worry, he will be—”
                “I know,” Justine and Maria interrupted, “a blessing.”
                “A blessing—who wants to be a blessing?” Alex stormed out of the casa.
                Maria and Justine looked at Naomi.
                “Let’s pray,” Maria suggested. The two of them bowed their heads and prayed. Naomi stood and cleared the table. What a blessing to have this family, she thought, as she did every Sunday, truly a gift from God. If the others had realized she was not praying with them, they would not have thought it odd. For they knew it was her inner strength and capabilities that placed her in the position Tía had trained her to fill. They, as all who lived in the barrio, were aware of Naomi’s ceaseless efforts to enlarge her ability to assist those in need, not just at immigration, but also within their community.
                Many had heard her say, when giving someone a hand without making it feel like a handout, “Today I help you. Mañana you will help someone else.” Usually those in need would hear this and stare at her as if she were crazy. She would smile, pull out the little green book from the oversized black purse she had inherited from Madre Vida, open it, and have the person sign a pledge that he or she would do just what they said when the time came. Once they had done as she asked, Naomi
would put the book in her purse, look the person in the eye, and ask, “Comprendes?” Then she would wait until they said, “Si, comprendo.
                Those who watched her do this with the most down and out reprobates laughed behind her back. Yet over the years, stories had come back to her, some in letters, and some as one hears news through the network of the niñas, who were married or in business. Each time a story would reach her ears, she would smile and remind herself, You will be a blessing! A curse can become a blessing. Her smile would light up her inner most being, and she would think about all that happened to bringher to this place and tell her heart, What a blessing it is that Madre Vida chose me and gave me this life of purpose. Then that unexplainable feeling would cross her mind once more, and she would wonder if God had not brought her to immigration, into Tía’s care and to Casa de Vida for such a time as this.

Scripture and Authors Question
Psalm 65:4 says, Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple.

Do you know that you, like Naomi, have been chosen? do you know that your sins cab be forgiven? If you doubt me, a reading of Psalm 65: 3 will convince you, for it says, When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions.

Our sins will be forgiven when we ask Messiah Yeshua to forgive them for he is the only sacrifice that a righteous and Holy God can accept. If you haven’t yet claimed him as you Kippur, do so today!

Until we meet again, may Messiah’s blessings be yours.

Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing Book One

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