I told the older woman behind the counter at the dress shop that I liked her cross. Funny how those words opened up a conversation. She looked beyond retirement age but I’d watched her move expertly through the store: measuring brides-to-be for wedding gowns and teens for their prom dresses, and fetching yet another outfit for a mother-of-the-bride. She never stopped. A seasoned clerk.
She mentioned her gold cross and chain was a gift from her sister who had entered the convent. Her sister remained behind in Italy while she had made a life in Canada. The jewelry was unique. Did she call it Jerusalem gold? Vatican gold? I can’t recall. But, she told me the gold cross was very special to her as her sister had since passed away.
I paid for the dress of one of the bridesmaids in a wedding party. The bridesmaid was out-of-town. I would be reimbursed promptly.
I enquired if the dress my daughter previously ordered had arrived. It had. I told the clerk I’d like to pay for it as well. I gasped when I saw the price.
“I know she intends on paying me back…”
“You’re a good Mom. Whenever I see a Mom paying for her daughter, I understand. I know.”
The sales clerk continued.
“I have five daughters. My husband was ill so I worked always. I went fifteen years wearing the same pair of shoes. Fifteen years! I know what Moms do for their daughters.”
She must have seen the fatigue in my face. All I will say is that I’ve had better days. I listened to her words, hitting the mark spot on.
“Remember, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel!”
I’m usually a positive person. I was caught off-guard on a rough day.
“It just that the light seems from an on-coming train sometimes…”
“Don’t say that! There’s always hope! Let me tell you what I do. Do you know the Sacred Heart of Jesus? I have that statue in my bedroom.”
“Often, before I go to bed, I walk over to the Sacred Heart, and say, “Jesus, look at me, I’m tired. YOU fix this!” I sleep well knowing the problem is going to be taken care of by Him.”
“Things will be okay. You’re a good Mom.”
Her words were perfect timing to my heart, my problems, my worries.
I don’t have a statue of Jesus in my bedroom. But, there’s a crucifix on my bedroom wall. And, I wear a cross and chain on my neck. You know what? I sleep well almost every night.