At the Water’s Edge, Vol. 1 by Joan Uda
More than nine years ago, I was suffering from congestive heart failure because of a genetic problem whose name I still don’t know. Long story made short, when I first got to a cardiologist, he recommended open heart surgery as soon as I could get on the schedule. Feb. 10, 2005, I had my first open heart surgery because my aortic valve had blown open.
During more than six hours on the operating table, and in the following days of medically induced coma, with who knows what chemicals flowing through my system, I met God–God as absolute, utter peace, God as a presence so loving that to remember that time brings tears to my eyes because what I learned is that God’s promises are true–though no one really knows how they will manifest. Our job is to love and trust God. So simple. To say. But I had no doubt that I was in God’s presence. There was no gold, no throne, no angels of any type, just this incredibly peaceful and loving darkness in which I was utterly content.
This first volume of At the Water’s Edge, taken from the old hymn and now a praise song, Come to the Water, or For Those Tears I Died, consists of my earlier newspaper columns written out of my most joyful experiences and the person they made me.
My mom, Alice, the adoptive mom
Last year I received the court and social work records from my blind adoption as an infant. Now I like to think of my birth mother and adoptive mother as my mothers A to Z. My adoptive mom was Alice, my birth mother Zelda. And in between were plenty of other caring adults: E for Edna, L for Louise, my two grandmothers. And then there was my nurturing and formidable dad, W for Warren.
Each one of these people, and others including aunts, uncles, and many teachers, did their absolute best for me, reminding me of Hilary Clinton’s book, It Takes a Village. I remember the uproar when her book was published–“No, it doesn’t,” shouted some conservative press, some of whom had no doubt been reared by their own “village” network of caring adults.
Increasingly we see children with one or two overwhelmed parents, and lucky are those who have a capable, loving-hearted grandparent to step into the breach. I know such a person, a grandmother, who devotes much of her time to her working daughter’s three young boys, and whose husband is mortally ill, being cared for hundreds of miles from their home.
Here’s to you, CM, and all those like you, who offer the grace of caring for children. You do it for those particular children, but it’s a true gift to all of us.