“You’re distinct!” she said as I walked through the doors of Divas Beauty Center. The owner, a proud Paceña, regularly attends to my moderate primping and preening. This exclamation was meant to express that she noticed something different about me. Maybe it was because it was morning this time; usually I come haggard at the end of the day with one of my friends; the only time us mommies have the same moment free after the kids are in bed. Maybe it was the fact I was by myself for a change. Maybe it was the skirt. We determined it was because my hair, usually found tied up in a scraggly pony tail, was hanging loosely at my shoulders and notably longer because I am letting it grow out.
She ushered me in with the customary kiss on the cheek greeting and began the ritual. She opened the conversation by telling me she found out we had a school.
“There is much you don’t know of me,” I said with a twinkle in my eye. She took the bait and asked me to tell her more. The conversation drifted between school stuff, church things, orphanage talk and parenting. Being the only two in the shop at the time allowed some freedom not normally enjoyed in this slowly blossoming friendship. The questions became deeper and the information shared more close to the heart than ever before.
“So what’s the difference? Like, between Catholics, because I am Catholic by birth, but I don’t mean that Catholic, like, the Catholic church and… whatever it is you are?” She seemed to spit out the words with failed precaution in an apologetic tone. I laughed. Not at her, but at the fact that she asked the same question I have heard dozens of times before. After affirming the validity of the question I stepped in with a disarming example.
“You know, the way I like to look at it is like flavors. There’s chocolate chip, vanilla, strawberry and they are all these different flavors but it’s all yummy ice-cream.” This time she was the one who got to laugh. I went on touching lightly on some differences she might identify with.
“So what would you say is the most odd religion you know of?” She seemed to be more jovial now. I remembered she mentioned some monthly meetings she attended that some people in my circles might turn their noses up at. I saw the defensive response waiting behind the friendly smile.
“For me it gets back to hope. I couldn’t imagine being involved in a religion that provided no hope and removed me from the decision of my destiny. I love that I can have a direct relationship with my Creator, with Jesus Christ.”
“So where is your church?”
I gave her the address and the service times. We talked of other things like husbands, the States, jobs, kids, and beauty tips, of course. As I leaned in to give her a kiss good-bye she repeated the address of the church once again and told me she would like to come in the evening. I hope she does.
Beyond that hope I hope she meets The Hope. I pray she meets Hope in all His beautiful perfection.