Today, I bring you another installment of Conversations with Ourselves, a series of posts over the summer in which every Thursday the author addresses the Past Self through the Present or vice versa (or sometimes totally not this, but something equally cool) concerning matters of Faith, specifically. Perhaps views of God, denominational affiliation, spiritual practice, expectations, politics, age, anything and everything that focuses on how we grow in understanding or, perhaps, not understanding Him unto Whom all things tend.
I am so deeply blessed to share with you writing from Tamára Lunardo today. (The accent is to help you pronounce the very Southern name. Not Tamera or Tamar-uh, but as a good country person would say tomorruh' for tomorrow, it's Tamarha.) I've known Tamára for a little over a year now, after I haphazardly sent her a guest post submission and we got to chatting. She's rough grace; patchwork praise. She'll turn the blade of conviction on herself and then put it in your hand to do the same. She blesses in the ordinary of life and, to boot, she's an astounding writer. Currently, she is editor extraordinaire for What a Woman is Worth, a project I commend to you to get to know immediately.
[Editor's note: this post is PG-13 with a little coarse language thrown in. I've kept a policy in the past to generally not swear on my blog, but there are a handful of times I shall make exceptions. Like I said about Dianna's post for ATLT months ago, when the profanity is true to the person and contributes to the conversation, it stays. That is true here, again, and I commend Tamára's words to you.]
"Girls, sit down---we need to talk," she said in a voice that was effortlessly gentle and firm. Without standing from her own seat at the circular table, she pulled out the two chairs on either side of her at once, her aging shoulders magnificently curved and cut with years' long repetition of bearing weight.
The young women, each so accustomed in her own way to stiffening against authority, felt no impulse to buck the older woman's command. She was worn to softness, and her eyes shone divine-lit kindness, and her wisdom---long, hard acquired---was a salve each woman ached to apply.
Present chose the cushioned chair and pushed a little at the stack of books before her so that each spine was aligned in a sturdy column. Past chose the wooden chair by default, and she wiggled just visibly enough to silently voice her discomfort.
The old woman breathed long the aroma seeping from a French press---neither Past nor Present could tell from where she'd produced it, yet somehow it felt extraordinarily natural---and their earthenware mugs were filled without their asking.
"So what is it?" Present ventured. She shook in a pack of Splenda, then another half to accommodate the size of the mug; she poured in some creamer and stirred, assessing the coffee's new shade before deciding whether to add more. She did.
Past rolled her eyes at the now-perfect column of books and shot, quite unnecessarily, at Present, "What, they don't tell you?"
It wounded her, it always did, when Past laid into her about her seeking. Her convictions pressed her so hard, they must be right---and what was so wrong about wanting a little proof to back them?
"Shut up about the theology, you little bitch," the words shocked her even as she spat them, but she continued: "At least I bother. At least I care. You'd throw out the Baby with the holy water just so it couldn't touch you." She felt justified; she felt like shit.
They both glanced at the old woman.
Her mug was filled to the brim, her wrinkled hands flushed with the warmth of its contents. Her look hinted sadness at the lashes that remained to sting the air, but she drank her black coffee, and a deep joy came forth from green eyes, which were brightened, not diminished, by tears.
She was beautiful though no remnant of her youth remained, save for strength---and even that, not a remnant, but an earning. She was beautiful in a way that neither young woman could understand or replicate---their dark curls and long limbs, so accustomed to catching an eye, now by comparison entirely lacking. She was beautiful in essence and in being, and when she finally spoke, the women were captivated.
"My girls," she beamed, then she turned to face Past, "You have barely noticed your offered cup," and then to Present, "And you have been too bothered to actually drink it."
She lifted her own mug back to her lips and took in the good, hot liquid. And Future's cup remained brimming.