1 January 2019
She gathered the children around her and asked them if they would like to hear a bed-time story. They were thrilled at the prospect and huddled closer. She took the youngest of the group on her lap and started the story. Soon enough the children were all sleepy and she had no trouble taking them to bed where she tucked each one of them in. She smiled at them though her heart was sinking. Soon they might not even have a place to live in anymore.
She took out her laptop and looked desperately for an answer. She had sent emails to all the people she knew including the office of his holiness. She browsed hopefully including in her junk emails but there was no response. She knew that most people would not be at their homes during the holiday season but had hoped against hope that someone would be there and would help them out. She looked at the children. They had grown since she first came and the youngest had been just a baby at the time.
She could not think of what would happen if they were not able to find the funds to keep the house. The more she thought of it the more it seemed hopeless. She realised that even if the landlord did not chase them away, they would still not have money to survive. What was she going to feed them ? For the first time in years she doubted her faith and her mission on earth. How could it be that while so many were enjoying themselves at Christmas the children should have noone to stand up for them ?
She clasped both hands in prayer and looked up at Christ on the cross on the wall in front of her. She closed her eyes and pleaded or mercy. When her prayer was finished she went out to buy bread for the next morning. She felt so tired and desperate. She wished she had kept some funds aside from the previous job she had before she had decided to become a nun but unfortunately she had donated everything to the Church just before she had taken her vows.
She did not find the usual shop open but saw a small shop at a corner where she had never seen one before. She thought it strange that she had never seen it before and that she had not heard of a second shop opening in the area. The shopkeeper gave her a dozen baguettes and added some cheese. She told him she did not have enough money to pay for the cheese but he shook his head and told her it was on the house as it had just been Christmas. He added that he was just sorry he had no turkey left to give her.She smiled and thanked him telling him that the children would already be thrilled with the cheese.
Just as she was about to go the shopkeeper gave her a lottery ticket telling her it was valid for the New Year and he hoped she would win something. She told him that she did not think it was appropriate to gamble but he assured her that as she had not paid for it, it was not gambling and that besides, God always worked in mysterious ways so why not in this way. She thanked him and returned to the orphanage. The children were all fast asleep. She fell to her knees again in prayer begging the Lord for mercy. These children had already been through so much and she wished would not have to go through the process of having to find a nw orphanage again.
She spent the whole week in prayer every night and tended to the children during the day. They were happy to be with her and oblivious of the fact that soon they might be separated perhaps forever. The first day of the New Year, the usual shop was closed and she was surprised to see that the other corner shop was open again while it had been closed during the whole week after Christmas. She went in and asked for a dozen baguettes again and the shopkeeper gave them to her smiling. He had a well-trimmed beard and his eyes were full of kindness. She wished there were more people with such kindness in their eyes and hearts.
- How did it go sister ? he asked softly.
- How did what go ?
- The lottery
- Oh, I did not check it. I think the ticket must still be somewhere in the bag where I had put the bread
- Maybe you should check it
Something in his voice and demeanour seemed so familiar. She promised him that she would check it once home and he gave her the winning numbers on a piece of paper. She returned to the orphanage and fell on her knees in prayer again. She was getting weary as nobody had responded to any of her emails yet. She remembered that she had promised the shopkeeper to look up the ticket and so she checked the numbers. She had to look twice as she could not believe her eyes. She seemed to have won the jackpot. With trembling hands she folded the paper and tucked the ticket into her pocket. God worked indeed in mysterious ways. She clasped her hands in prayer again and looked up at the cross. The Christ was no longer there.
Holocene – Bon Iver