My youngest daughter Annie, whom I hope you have already met in my first book, A Bird and the Dragon: Their Love Story: A Memoir, comes about once a month to my home “to get me back on track” as she puts it; a job she has been doing since her father, Sy, died almost four years ago. I also hope you have read the chapter in A Bird and the Dragon entitled “The Shoe Box.” In brief that story is about Kermit, the frog, and how fond I was of him. On the particular visit that started this whole train of thought, Annie produced me with a framed picture of Kermit sitting on a stool in a thoughtful pose. The caption reads “Have you ever just sat and thought…Damn, I’ve been through a lot of shit.” In truth I have been through a lot but I got to thinking, what pulls me out? Immediately the response came, “It’s the bread crumbs on the path.” The origin of the bread crumbs on the path comes from the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. Hansel, in an effort to save him and his sister, drops bread crumbs along their path so that they can find their way back home from the great forest where their father has left them to die.
If I go way back in my life, I have to take you into what will be my second book, Sissy’s Story: Inside a Child’s Long Term Illness and the fight I had with Carol Simpson. If I hadn’t had that horrible fight on the school playground I never would have had the meltdown that showed my mother I was a very sick little girl struggling with the rigors of first grade. It turned out to be rheumatic fever and I’ll leave the rest for you to read, when the book is published. But that fight was really the bread crumbs for my first intersection in life.
Later on in time, I was in seventh grade and still somewhat of a gangly blond with a fear of most everything. We had a substitute teacher one particular day and my classmates virtually made mincemeat of the poor lady. That story will likely be in another book that I’m working on entitled Hunt the Beloved: To Find a Heart. The upshot of that event is that the boy who sat in front of me at the front of the classroom, Ray, was there because he was one of the troublemakers in the class and I was not. In the melee of the substitute teacher’s classroom, Ray asked me to go out with him. My mother actually let me go with him on a double date. It was my first date and my introduction to boy/girl affairs. None of the other girls in the class were dating and it made me feel more grown up and special. More bread crumbs—something that changed my life forever.
In high school I was at a town dance and sitting, as I always sat, with the girls that weren’t dancing. I prayed fiercely that someone would come and ask me to dance. One boy finally did. And then a second boy came, but this boy had a message from someone else (a boy named Tino, also an important person in the manuscript Hunt the Beloved) who wanted to dance with me. I told the second boy to go back to his friend with the instruction that he had to ask me himself. Tino did come and ask me to dance and my life took another right angle turn. When I stepped into Tino’s arms it was as if I were home again. More bread crumbs.
Later, I’m out of college and I’m invited to fill in with a friend of my hometown minister for a dinner date and a Church Maundy Thursday service. The friend was Rev. Harvard Lesser, whom you’ve heard about in A Bird and the Dragon. This time the birds came and ate up most of my bread crumbs; and when my insides were saying something is off, I said, “Oh, No, it’s not,” and married the minister.
The next event was when Rev. Lesser and I were trying to have children. After
surgery and taking on a foster child, I was able to conceive and hold on to the baby. She arrived and I was consumed by a fear that I would lose her and so asked Harvard for another baby. The second baby came fifteen months later and is my faithful Felicia. (I now know from doing past life work that the fear of losing the first baby, Elizabeth, was based on a past life experience and so the second daughter was very much needed.) These strange urges and these unexplainable knowings are part of the bread crumbs of my life.
It has taken a long time for me to recognize that when I’m at a junction in my life I pray for my God, to show me the bread crumbs on the path. Sometimes they are pretty hidden in the grass, sometimes the birds get a few of them, but sometimes they are so clear I don’t have to fear where I’m going.
With age I am quicker to see where the path is leading and sometimes that it looks like a long journey to I don’t know where, but I do know that I always have those breadcrumbs to show me my way home, if I will just ask for them.
How about you? Have you had bread crumb events in your life at junctions when you didn’t know what to do or when your life took an unexpected one hundred and eighty degree turn?