"Mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom; let it be."
It was not a long and winding road that led me to the school. It was seventeen miles of highway traffic and speeding trucks, and prayerful moments when the semi in front of me came to an abrupt stop.
I cross the hot, vast parking lot and enter the building, my knees still wobbly. Standing right in front of me, Mary greets me from her niche as I step up and into the main hall of this private school. I like that she's there to welcome me.
She sets a tone.
Zach is a third grader learning braille because he is rapidly losing his vision. Smart, precocious and polite, he manages our long sessions which begin at what should be the end of his school day.
We work on the braille codes for English and math. We read Henry and Mudge books. Zach's favorite thing to do though, is three-digit times three-digit multiplication on the chalkboard, I suspect because he gets to check his answers on his new, talking calculator.
In the midst of all this instruction, adjacent church bells ring. They ring every hour. Each time, I am gloriously transported back to the days I walked the cold, gray streets of Florence, passing ancient niches housing ancient statues of Mary.
There will be an answer, I pray.
My friend, my dearest friend Elizabeth, has returned from days away, hours spent by her sister's hospital bed. She'll take back this seat I've merely kept warm for her, her full attention once again devoted to her student in these late day lessons, uninterrupted except by the church bells.
I want her to find comfort in those bells.
And in her hour of darkness, I hope she'll be able to hear Mother Mary's words of wisdom.
The Beatles, Let It Be