Lemon cake was Patunia’s favourite and Proteas certainly always made her smile. The way that each individual part of the flower is formed to perfection and how it fits in and yet seems too advanced for this world somehow.
She greeted her friend with glee. Lia was handing out small gifts to all her friends, all of which chatted and giggled amongst themselves. A delightful air of enthusiasm filled the sunny back porch where snacks and enjoyment continued to flow.
In this celebration time there had been much to say and on leaving Patunia felt a warm happiness and overall general excitement for the week ahead. She glanced down at the little wooden umbrella; Lia had given her, as her personal gift. She remembered the words her friend had used, “Because you can weather every storm”. This was so applicable to Patunia’s life, which in fact had felt like many storms amongst many happy times.
Patutia day dreamed back over a specific period in her life where storms were all she really had encountered. Thinking back to times she would sit on the beach watching the waves roll in and out absorbed by the magnitude and expansion of water, by the greatness that was presented before her, ever reminding her, that all is really well, always. Her mind drifted to elightened times when all her dreams came true and smiled at how this too is possible with the right dose of imagination, a scoop of intention, a pinch of attention, and of course, a measure of faith. The little wooden umbrella was in fact triggering many a thought for Patunia and she smiled as she lay on the green freshly cut grass looking up at the sky through the branches of palm trees.
In the days that followed she found herself being interviewed by a large organisation, of which she was delighted. She found that love in all forms came knocking and she found that remaining grateful was a key to unlock any potential obstacle and conquer it.
Finding the peace in aloneness had been a great challenge at this time for most, yet Patunia was no stranger to aloneness and isolation. It seemed to always take her back in memory to happier times. Playing ball on the crooked pathway leading to the squeaky garden gate at her Grandma’s house, the smell of flapjacks coming from the kitchen and boiled sugar sweets kept high up out of reach in the wooden safe cupboard. She would think of Everleen and Jane, chatting together, in their own language, on their grass mats, smoking long beaded pipes in the afternoon sunshine. To eating sweet and sour grapes from the grape vine, climbing the mulberry tree escaping to her wooden hide away, where dolls and teddies had kept her company. Of her ‘stage’, which in fact was the old cement slab in the back garden amongst the lanky pawpaw trees. To all her make believe audience, who cheered and clapped after each of her performances. Her thoughts would amble to fresh fruit salad, the smell of garden roses, to the safety of her Grandma’s story time and the harmonious sound of garden birds. Drifting through these childhood memories and adventures, Patunia would often stop and ask herself the questions. “What had covered me through it all?” “What had been my overall protection?” “What had pushed me to venture, what had encouraged me to leap?” Now, as she looked at the little wooden umbrella, she knew the answer.
It was in fact Grace, Grace that had been there all along. Grace that had held her hand when there was no-one else, Grace that had her covered even when she did not think so and Grace that had pulled her through each trying situation. The Grace of all that is, the Grace of all that was and all that ever will be. That Grace that held her close and that Grace that kept her going. That Grace that cheered in celebration with each small step, ever gently forcing her to try and try again, to expand, experience, to unfold, to grow.
Lia’s gift was much more than just the little wooden umbrella. She had given Patunia the graceful opportunity of adventure into a more conscious approach to past experiences, with more understanding in the overall umbrella of life. Grace, the umbrella of her life, through every storm through every cloud, through every rainbow and every sunshine. Ever held, ever being encouraged, ever supported, ever loved. As it is, as it was and as it is to come.
Written with Thanks to my dear friend TvR
Kim Michelle Hewitt