Leona and the Divine Providence
They say that in America you would buy a house for three times. First time – not even looking at, second time – choosing carefully, and third time – scrupulously and meticulously till the very cent and mote. That was what happened to me! I set my new house to rights, outfitted it with a special handrail and bought some medical equipment. Everything, starting from the charming curtains, furniture, interiors, chairs, tables and pottery till the license on the wall, seemed to be alive and awaiting ardently for the first guest. And then this happy moment came…! Leona Olsen, a blind American woman, was my first client. Such people are sent to us by the God not accidentally… If they once appear in your life, they will stay forever. I will never forget Leona, never… She was my spiritual support and my hope. I shared with her all my joys and sorrows. At the times when it was too hard, almost unbearable, she would put her hand on my shoulder gently and then make me sober with just two or three phrases:
“Toma, you can see, hear and walk… Be thankful to God for this…I’m blind, but I thank God for the life he gave to me…” Her mere presence in my life gave me such warmth and sense of humility that all my grief and sadness dissolved in them. And every time she spoke any sin seemed to step aside in front of her words and my Soul felt so calm and peaceful as if at once it was cleaned of harmful thoughts and unnecessary intentions. Leona understood me well. She had lived in my house for six years and, of course, not only she, but all her close-knit family had become very dear people to me… But what can be dearer than my own son, my parents and sisters? What can be dearer than my childhood memories…
Leona’s life was also long and difficult. She worked as a doctor. She used to tell me a lot about God, death, about how people cling on to life and how difficult is it to go to God without penance and absolution. She was my good advisor and my protector; she was my dearest Leona. Together we did the cooking, checked recipes, even though she was blind. She was a very clever woman, with no dementia – her memory and mind were sharp till the very end. Of course, with her coming I could breathe more freely as my finance burden was no more as tough as it was before. That time I had enough money to pay for accommodation, electricity, water and telephone bills. Her son worked in a court, and he would always give me good legal advice if I needed one. Now he is retired. I have to say that America is the country of laws, and you can’t avoid them, the rules are very strict. In fact, I should also add that Americans are nation of believers; they know how to love and value their own land, how to respect others; they live hand to hand and always smile. And let their smiles are sometimes tensed, they are still smiling. At first I couldn’t smile. After all the severity of my previous life in the Soviet, after all the tragic events, after all that days, weeks, months and years of suffering it was difficult to smile sincerely.
If you asked me then, twenty years ago, about when was the last time I smiled, I would hardly recall even a single occasion. Here, in America, I found my smile, and every day I thank to God for such a precious gift. I visited Russia several times after that. And each time I fled from there. At that time I understood that if I ever would have to go back to Russia, I would not be able to live there. Never again I would get used to the place, which once was so dear to heart, my homeland with its Astrakhan steppes and chilling cold winds of Volgograd. Never. ‘Never’ is a cruel word. It is full of pain, tragedy, grief and sorrow. Never… Suddenly I notice that I utter this word with love and compassion. I am grateful to God that there are such words as ‘never’ and ‘forever’. When I think of them, my soul tingles, because our souls know about eternity more than we, mere mortals. That is why we shouldn’t avoid saying ‘never’. I recall it every time my plane lands in New York adding: ‘Thanks God, I’m home…”. And then I smile. Even though others would call it an American smile, but it is a Russian face that is light up due to it. It is worth anything… Unfortunately, you can’t see it through these pages. But you can definitely imagine and feel it, thanks to God that gave us these capabilities and blessings.
Now I would like to tell about my first genuine smile. Once, when I was working a day shift at the mill, I got a telephone call. I was offered a voucher for a trip to the Dubovsky Rest House. It seemed like someone refused it suddenly, and our foreman told me: “Tamara, you should go!”, and then added – “It’s cheap! You don’t even have to pay for this! It is already paid… And you deserved it”. I agreed simply because I wanted to catch up on sleeping. I worked night shifts because they were better paid off. I wanted to have a little rest. It is only now, after twenty years, when I realized that it was the Divine Providence, a trip that changed all my life. What did we, the children of the Soviet, know about the Will of the Lord? They tried to fill our heads with unnecessary knowledge of the Party politics and Marxism-Leninism ideas. And there were nothing to help us build our lives and feel ourselves human beings but not screws of one huge mechanism. Under no circumstances could we stand out of the line, express feelings or speak out our desires, dreams, pain or happiness. But the most frightening was the fact that at the time, when we so much in need for the true Love, we were banned from speaking to God…
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В материале представлены кадры из фильма «Путь» от режиссера Майкла Уивера, Майка Кэхилла и Майкла Словиса