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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Sunday June 23rd 2024

RETURNING CHAPTER 27: Light Bends to the Heart

By PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL

a photo of the author
Patrick Cabello Hansel

Luz and Angel, with Angelito in tow, stood in front of the day care where they had last seen their daughter Lupe. It seemed like days since they were last there—no, much more than that: years, scores of them, more than a century they had traveled. And yet, in our cold benighted age, it was but a few hours. They still had the scrap of paper that read:

Don’t worry.

We have your light blessing.

You will know where she is.

They took it out and looked at it again. This time, they noticed the marks on the bottom of the page. There were two arrows ^ ^ pointing up, and a vertical straight line. next to it. Luz took the note from Angel’s hands, held it to her face, and said:

“There’s something missing here.”

Angel peered at it. “Or we’re missing something,” he said.

They stared at it for a long minute, trying to figure it out. Then their 4 ½ year old son spoke, the one who always seemed to find the way:

“Look, papi,” he said. “There’s a bit of the note still stuck to the door.”

When Luz took the scrap and held it to the note in their hands, the initials became clear: ML.

“ML!” Angel shouted. “Does that mean Mother Light?”

“What else could it mean?” Luz said. “We don’t know anyone with those initials.”

“But we don’t know who she is this time, Luz!” Angel said, his voice breaking.

(Readers will remember that in the first story “Searching”, Mother Light saved and healed Angel after he had been severely beaten. Then she was present in the body and life of an African-American woman who had lived and healed in the neighborhood for decades. But that soul had passed on over two years ago. Mother Light was like a Phoenix, one who rose again, not out of the ashes of a flaming nest, but in a humble heart chosen as a guide for searchers. She had inhabited Dakota elders, a 101 year old Swede, a child of ten. Luz and Angel had caught glimpses of her in the past few years, but could never say: This is her. This is where she resides.)

“How will we find her?” Angel asked Luz.

Luz was still for a moment. She could feel something moving inside of her, some wind of hope that had been crowded out by the darkness of that day, the darkness she had carried for many years.

“Remember,” she began slowly, and as she said the word it realized its power. So she repeated it. And then again.

“Remember. Remember, Angel,” she began. “That’s what the Pastora at the church said the night we had the vigil at the mural. Remember?”

“The night after the mural was vandalized?” Angel said.

“Yes!” Luz said. “It happened to be February 2: Candelaria or Groundhog Day, one of those turning points. We lit candles and sang and promised to restore the mosaics and paint. And to be the light wherever we were.”

“Of course!” Angel said. “And there was a little girl, maybe 5 or 6 named Sofia, who said that she could feel the light in her heart. But how will that help us?”

Luz shook her head.

“I don’t know,” she said. “But we have to keep searching for the light.”

Angel looked at her and then at his young son. A light seemed to shine from the boy’s eyes, a light that could not be extinguished.

“What do you think, mi’jo?” Angel asked him.

“I think there are a lot of hearts in this place,” he said.

His parents nodded, not really understanding.

“I know where there is one,” Angelito shouted. “Follow me!”

As the boy started marching north on Cedar, his parents had no choice but to follow.

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