Monday March 27th 2023

Keep citizen journalism alive!



Returning Chapter 28: Follow The Hearts!

a photo of the author
Patrick Cabello Hansel


Little Angel led his parents north on Cedar telling them he “knew where there was a heart.” Luz and Angel followed, not because they were sure it would lead anywhere, but because they had run out of everything but hope. Home may be where the heart is, but hope is where the heart goes when nothing is left.

They walked half a block or so, passed a storefront church and its parking lot. Before they reached the Greenway, little Angel stopped in front of a house and pointed to the door. Even in the dark, his parents could make out a paper heart. It had seen better days. The lace trim around its edges was torn and dirty, it hung at an odd angle. But there it was.

“Ok, mi’jo,” Luz said to the boy. “I see the heart. Now what do we do?”

Her son looked at her for a moment, then up into the night sky.

“We look for another one!” he shouted.

And before telling them which way to go, he led them north. At 28th, he turned left, at 18th he turned right, never saying a word but walking—almost marching—with a determined stride. Angel and Luz followed. And though it seemed exceedingly strange, and though both of them had huge doubts in their minds, their hearts had been brightened by their trip in the past. They trusted this boy’s words and his path, though they had no earthly reason to do so.

Of course, earth has its reasons that reason cannot comprehend, to steal a phrase. Little Angel led the family to heart after heart, stapled or glued or shellacked to doors, to lintels and posts on house after house. Some were in worse shape than the first one, some seemed pristine. All seemed to have made their home firmly in the arms of the houses where they were found.

“I think I know what this is,” Luz said. “A few years ago, there was this Valentine’s Day party at the Lutheran church, and we made hearts for houses that were 100 years old or older.”

“Why did you do that?” Angel asked.

“I guess to show them love,” Luz said. “I know that sounds strange, but don’t houses need love?”

What Luz didn’t know was that not only do houses need love, they also breed love. These old houses, some with tattered hearts, some with shiny and new ones, had given love to their families and the sojourners who passed by. The paper and lace hearts had taken on a mission of love, and that mission bound them together in bonds stronger than steel.

For in a miracle like nature, the hearts on the houses had learned to love what they could not see. Like mycelium, which binds trees and fungi in an underground mega-mystery, the hearts had learned to bring love where it was needed, and remove it from where it was abused. The house where Brian Fleming had concentrated his business of turning sorrow into cash had once had one of these hearts. But the love in it could not stand the pain that was being monetized there, so it flew off in a windstorm, and flew down the street. It settled, not on the front door of a house, but on a side porch of one of the oldest houses in Phillips. That is where the hearts were leading our blessed family. That is where Agnes was heading with beloved little Lupe. And that was where Mother Light was waiting, with more surprises than she imagined.

“Love is not all”…a sonnet by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Look it up. A good poem for any February, no matter how cold and dark.

To be continued…

Patrick Cabello Hansel is a retired pastor, having served with his wife for 15 years at St. Paul’s Lutheran in Phillips. He spends his days writing poetry and fiction, gardening and yelling at the TV.

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2022 Alley Communications - Contact the alley