Searching the Obvious

Dixil Rodríguez

is a university professor and volunteer hospital chaplain living in Texas.

Never Forget

There are few great honors we are graciously granted. I have experienced the awareness of one honor—carefully crafted, in the background of life in the form of a whisper to the heart, a familiar word, a silent statement: “Do not forget the blessings you are witnessing and living.”

* * *

I turn the small snow globe and watch the silver specks resettle inside the scenery as music plays. It’s perfect. Inside stands an angel, wings spread around two little girls who sit together holding a rose. It’s perfect.

The owner of this store, Marge, is a good friend and knows where and when these gifts will be delivered. Marge wraps the gifts in a manner in which you immediately see the angel, yet the globe is carefully anchored in a beautiful wooden base Marge’s husband carves and stains. Trademark packaging.

On the way homeI think of the months when the news arrived: adoption approved. My friends Dan and Linda made the call, and every friend in the area gathered with supplies to help create a beautiful space for the arrival of their daughters: two little girls, sisters, finally coming home. Walls were broken down and two rooms turned into a beautiful suite, so the sisters could be together.

Amid my own tears I recognize the pull of these emotions.

The adoption process had begun inadvertently more than a year ago. I was walking out of a late shift at the hospital with Linda, a first responder, when we were paged back to the emergency room. I stepped into the room and met two little girls, sitting together on one of the hospital beds. The elder spoke and signed at the same time. I realized the younger girl was deaf. Their story was painful.

They had woken up to discover that they had been abandoned. The elder sister had cared for the little one, ensuring that they continued going to school. But after a week the lights went out in the house, the water was cold, and packing a few belongings, they walked to a neighbor’s house and called authorities. The call arrived at the hospital where Linda and I were just leaving our weekend shift.

As time went by, Linda and Dan worked through an adoption request. Letters written, interviews, visits to the home, family and friends vetted. Linda and Dan learned American Sign Language and had temporary custody of the sisters for a while. It was a beautiful pairing! We read Linda’s daily texts: “Please pray for us.” Other families applied to adopt one of the sisters, not both.

* * *

Early morning, family court, standing room only with stuffed animals children can carry around the room. I see them, speaking quietly, standing in front of the judge. As the family name is read for everyone to hear, the girls are wrapped in hugs and the room feels unbearably small, unable to contain all the love we have for them.

Amid my own tears I recognize the pull of these emotions. I am aware of all the careful details that brought us here, the timing of it all, as if an old friend has just whispered them in my ear: “Do not forget the blessings you are witnessing and living.”

I remain humbled to be part of the Holy Spirit’s bigger picture.

Dixil Rodriguez, a university professor and volunteer hospital chaplain, lives in Texas.

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