She called me Dad. Jessie had come home to celebrate her birthday—she was turning 68. “I know the routine, Dad” she reminded me. (I am 83 years of age.) And immediately, she began to jump in and help my wife, Karen, with tasks that needed doing around the house. My wife hates to run errands. She feels that they can eat up a whole day when she’d rather be accomplishing other kinds of goals—such as meeting writing deadlines.
Jessie had first come to live with us when she was 37 years of age. Homeless. On the streets. A mutual friend brought a very disgruntled young woman to our door. Wearing a leather jacket, she had developed one of the toughest demeanors I’ve ever seen. This was her adaption in order to face down a hostile world. Karen, nevertheless, with a spiritual gift of discernment, understood that beneath Jessie’s rough exterior, there was a beating heart still filled with unaccountable tenderness.
“Yep! On the inside, I’m just a marshmallow,” Jessie says now, describing what we came to discover was the truth. Despite an abusive mother, despite getting into “a lot of bad stuff” as Jessie would say, something true and beautiful, had survived those years as a motorcycle gang moll. Some inner spirit filled with longing for the right kind of love had survived her practiced liturgy of worshiping the dark and satanic.
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