“Somebody loves you in St. Paul”. So declared my mother on my last visit. I think, “Well, I know of a few people who love me in St. Paul; I’d like to think there are a lot of people who love me in St. Paul, but I won’t sit down and make a list.” Not today, anyway.
My parents live in a “senior living community” in Appleton, Wisconsin, the town where I grew up. On this last visit, my mom tells me, “The woman who lives next door to Joe and Nancy has a daughter, who just loves you and always says, ‘Say hi to Martha for me!’” Mom adds, “Oh, Martha, she just loves you!” She keeps this conversation up all weekend. BUT. My mom has no idea who this person is. And this conversation has gone on long enough that she is now too embarrassed to ask.
I beg my mom for some clues. Nothing. I go through my mental catalog of some (very old) Appleton connections that might possibly live in St. Paul. I come up empty.
Mom sends me on a sleuth mission. “Go to the door next to Joe-and-Nancy and read the resident’s nameplate.” I do just that. It is a name I do not recognize. I did have a friend, Jane, when I was in 7th grade at Einstein Junior High, who shares the last name of the resident. I don’t bother to think, “But does she live in St Paul?” No, my first question is “Jane loves me?” Hard to fathom. Not the love, but more that the love continued over these, 40 years? OK. Maybe a little closer to 50. Jane and I have not spoken since junior high.
I rush to Facebook to look her up. No Jane by this name. I go to my 20-year-class reunion directory. Jane has a new last name. I look that person up on Facebook too. There are way too many of them, and they do not live in St. Paul.
It is a little disconcerting to know that someone is so passionate about me, and nearly topples my mother over with enthusiasm when she sees her, reminding her to tell Martha she says “hi”. Not because I don’t believe someone could love me, more that someone loves me and I am not at all aware of them. And that person is in my hometown, heck, maybe in my neighborhood, and I am not able fully to receive her love (and adoration).
I imagine a pastor could make a really good sermon out of this. The idea that somebody (God) loves us and we don’t really know where he/she is or what he/she looks like, but that Being loves us anyway. I’ll leave that to the ministers.
For now, I am happy to know somebody loves me. And I’ve decided I actually enjoy the mystery. The idea of someone loving me that I don’t know just opens up a whole lot of happy possibilities for me. I have finished looking for now. No need to spoil the gift.