We scooted into the two empty chairs in front of the end cap with Christmas doggy chews and portable dog baths. Under the red furry stocking hanging from the ceiling big enough for a puppy to fit inside. At least that’s what I told my daughter. She said I was rubbing it in, how I wouldn’t let her have another dog.

We were laughing about that when a lady wearing a broach on her  green coat walked by. She asked if we were waiting for our flu shots. “We’re waiting, I said, “but not for flu shots.”

She turned around and asked Murielle where to sign in to see the nurse. We both pointed to the kiosk she passed on the wall at the Minute Clinic.

Hunkered over, she picked up the pen attached to the screen and stared like a foreigner trying to read a Chinese menu.

Murielle got up and stood next to her to help. And a stranger relinquished the pen to my teenage daughter.

While Murielle read every page, showed her how to make selections, the lady fired off sarcastic jokes that made us both giggle. She struggled to remember her address, stood with her eyes slanted toward the ceiling in an uncomfortable pause about her phone number. Somewhere around the tenth question, she turned to Murielle and said, “Can I graduate now,” and sat down.

And throughout her second strep test, probing in her ears, and answering questions about how she felt, every time the nurse turned her back away from Murielle, she mouthed that she was worried about the lady sitting outside the door waiting for her flu shot. Concerned because she didn’t answer all the questions and feared a stranger was lost in the system.


The next day Murielle came out of her bedroom wearing a black print dress with a belted blue cardigan on her way to school. On the day she would sit on a bus – next to someone in the providence of the alphabet – to a movie field trip. I told her to be careful about how she sits on the bus wearing a dress.

When she calls me after school, I ask her if she liked the movie. “It was good,” she said, “but I sat on the steps in the theater the whole time.”

It was her choice.

The school rents the entire theater but the staff inadvertently let a few elderly people in, leaving six people without seats. When she and a friend notice two teachers leaning next to the wall, they offer to give up their seats because one of them is pregnant.

All I can think about is the way God turns children into adults while their parents sleep. How He cupped His hands over the Light she carries into the world, before a semi snuffed it out.

In my barrenness, the incarnation of Christ came down in the unselfish kindness of my daughter toward others, daring me to believe He is present in the silence. I may be deaf but He is not mute. He withholds no good thing from us.

“You did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations . . . .” (Isaiah 64:3)

Where is God breaking into your life, daring you to hope?