Zau has Zest!

My friend Zau is from Angola, born there during a war-torn period.  My understanding is that he grew up in a pretty normal environment, had a loving father and mother, siblings, cousins; a complete life.  His normalcy changed at the age of 12.  At that age he was removed from his home and impressed into the Angolan Army.

His normal existence was still that, normal I mean, a new normal.   Brutal relationships replaced loving ones, his companions were still similar in some ways, and childhood friends grew with him into strong soldiers.  Normal became a tough, unyielding, day by day process of staying alive, staying healthy, living under a shadow of fear.

Zau’s spirit stayed strong through this all, continued to grow, perhaps overwhelmed by the meagreness of his existence over the years, but his spirit prospered.  He continued to love and honor relationships…

When Zau turned 18 his closest companion was killed during combat.  Now understand that the normal procedure for fallen comrades was to bury them at the site.  Zau did not want that for his friend, and did not want the family of his friend to always wonder what had happened to their cherished son.

So, picking up his friend, he left the battle field, making an irrevocable choice to truly believe in compassion and freedom.  He carried his friend home, and left him in the village of his heart and life.

With that choice he also made the choice to leave the war, and the control and sadness that he had lived under, unwillingly for his past years.  He left the county of Angola, and traveled, eventually ending in Rio de Janeiro, where he earned a living creating wonderful jewelry and leather work, and fathering the child of his heart, Zinga.

It came to pass that while he was selling his art in a city bazaar in Rio, he met the woman of his heart, my friend Karen Sorbo.  They recognized the correctness of their love and he eventually left Rio to come to live in Minnesota with Karen.  I had the honor of performing their wedding ceremony a few years ago, and it was right.

Every departure has some grief, and Zau was not able to bring his daughter home to Minnesota, she to this day remains in Rio with her mother.  They live in a destitute area of the city, filled with gang fighting and drugs.  He is unable to convince her mother to move.

At this time Zau visits her as often as he can, supports her and her mother.  He wants to bring her home with him, but is not allowed by our governments to do so; he has no real rights as her father.

If any story I write has a goal, the goal of this story is to send out waves of love to Zau and  Zinga,  to send out waves of hope, and compassion and awareness.  It is my goal to help Zau bring his daughter home with my words, and hopefully with the spirit and heart of you who are reading this.

A small family of three

When I was quite young, back in the very early 70’s, I hitchhiked with a friend; Diana (a self proclaimed native princess from New Jersey)  all about the western states.     One  chilly afternoon found us on a deserted highway somewhere near Santa Fe.  Walking for hours, we  waved our thumb towards the occasional traffic.  The sky was getting darker, rain clouds building up.  Figuring that we were going to have to find someway to keep ourselves warm and dry, we settled into the top of a roadside ditch, pulling out our plastic parkas, putting on our warmest clothes.  “Maybe”, we said, ” if we just sleep through the night we will be okay by morning.”    As we were sitting, a pickup drove past, then, stopped and backed up to us.  Jumping up, we ran to the side of the truck and tugged open the passenger door.  A really big guy was in there; really big, with a smile that was even bigger.  “Jump on up in”  he hollered to us.  We looked at each other, eyebrows raised, then, with  a  mutual shrug, jumped on up in.

And headed down the road.  His music blared, and he sang along happily.  I noticed that his truck was equipped with a hand brake, and a few other gadgets I did not understand.  Seeing me looking, he turned down the music, and explained that he had lost the use of his legs in an accident years back.  Life would never stop this man, he was destined to move forward every day!   We eagerly conversed, riding through the storm, he with a great deal of interest, us with a sense of freeing relief, snuggled warm and safe in this giants cab.

This man, this stranger, took us to his home that night, fed us fried potatoes, coffee, and gave us a place to sleep, for no other reason, than friendship and the joy of giving.

Early in the morning he woke us up, apologizing for the early hours, and said he needed to show us something before dropping us at our next exit.  Piling back into the truck, we drove into the morning, stopping on a bluff, overlooking the city, and there watched, while sipping from his thermos of coffee,  enthralled, the sun rising with a glorious light, growing brighter with color and degree, until day had officially broken.

We were quiet, the three of us for the rest of the trip out to the main highway, us two women, continuing our journey, he, our new never  seen again brother, content.  We three had created a small family of the moment.  And all was complete.

Victorious Veronica

All of us have the honor of meeting incredible people.  I am blessed with many such honors.

One of the Women I have met is Veronica.  Veronica is a child’s advocate at a Minneapolis area woman’s shelter.  Her soul is gentle, her heart is fierce; a powerful combination!  Veronica is a perfect advocate, loves the kids that are in her care, and loves those that she have not yet had the chance to care for.

Veronica inspires me, when I speak with her I feel ready to help the world, ready to live up to her standards.  She is goodness.

Veronica wants children that live in her home, children she can nurture on a daily basis, children she can love with unencumbered joy, raise, and revel in.  I cannot think of a more perfect mother than Veronica when the children she desires come into her life.  I’m patiently waiting for that time, although I know she is not at all patient, she wants the children NOW.

Veronica is love.

Marta’s Mittens

Marta makes mittens.  She finds old sweaters and felt at garage sales and thrift stores,  and taking them home,  cuts, trim and stitches them into warm and cozy mittens.  She makes blue mittens, gray mittens, mittens with Santa on them, mittens with dots, mittens with squares, many mittens of many colors and designs.

Marta makes her mittens in her old farmhouse, which sets out on top of a rolling prairie hill.  Her sewing room looks out over a small herb garden, flowers, trees, occasional little critters, and birds. Kittens sun in windowsills, and puppies nap on rugs.  Winter covers her view with a thick coating of pristine snow, dried brush and plants poking out of the drifts.

Marta loves her mittens, and well she should, for when you put a pair of her mittens on your cold hands of a chilly day, your hands begin to soften, and warm, and amazingly feel released from every chilly, mean, or downright hard action that they have ever taken or had placed upon them.

Marta makes her mittens with love, and wants to only sell them person to person, never on-line, never in a store.  She will guide a prospective buyer to just the right mittens, knowing how to match mittens to need.  Marta said to me that she finds true delight, walking through a public place, and having random people beam at her while waving mittened hands.

Marta’s mittens heal.

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