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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Beneath the Surface

No long-term marriage is made easily, and there have been times when I've been so angry or so hurt that I thought my love would never recover. And then, in the midst of near despair, something has happened beneath the surface. A bright little flashing fish of hope has flicked silver fins and the water is bright and suddenly I am returned to a state of love again — till next time. I've learned that there will always be a next time, and that I will submerge in darkness and misery, but that I won't stay submerged. And each time something has been learned under the waters; something has been gained; and a new kind of love has grown. The best I can ask for is that this love, which has been built on countless failures, will continue to grow. I can say no more than that this is mystery, and gift, and that somehow or other, through grace, our failures can be redeemed and blessed.”

Madeleine L'Engle


Recently, Andrea told me a story how the son of a colleague of hers had a college roommate that could be described as “strange”, at best. The son would complain to his mom about this roommate and the mom would talk to the son about how college was a time you would meet all sorts of people. Then, one night, the FBI raided the son’s room and took him and his roommate into custody. They sorted out who was whom and let the son go and kept the weird roommate who, as it turned out, was more than weird. He’d joined up with white supremacists in a swatting conspiracy that targeted a Black church, his own university, a Cabinet officer & others.


When I heard this story, which was 2-weeks ago, I remarked that this reminded me of the book The Gift of Fear which is basically about listening to your intuition.


My own intuition is like a radio. White noise crackles and I lean in to make it out - what’s it telling me? I keep leaning until I know. There are consequences to leaning in.


We’re away this weekend. At a Getaway House in Ashboro, North Carolina. I can’t resist a campfire. I lean in so close that a spark lands on the leg of my blue jeans and leaves a hole in them. Goddammit.


What do you do when you know? You’ve taken the risk and now there are consequences. There is no reward.


We went to Greenboro, NC today. I could see us living there. Like L’Engle, I see something beneath the surface.

“A bright little flashing fish of hope has flicked silver fins and the water is bright and suddenly I am returned to a state of love again.”


Last week, I saw my first case as a CASA (court appointed special advocate) through to completion. I’d been assigned four siblings. The ending was so anticlimactic. Over with no fanfare. Done. The oldest of the 4 children was in court & we exchanged a hug in the hallway. I can remain in touch but I’m giving the situation the space it needs to hold transitioning to a new school, a new living arrangement.


I’d repeatedly offered to adopt these kids to my CASA Advocate Manager. A joke of sorts but had she’d said, “Oh sure.” It would have given me pause. Because she knows I was joking, she leaves me a voicemail the next day, offering up another child in need of a CASA. A teenage girl. Or am I a CASA in need of a child?


Because being a CASA has taught me lessons I didn’t even realize I needed to know - about family, home, forgiveness, & second chances.


“I can say no more than that this is mystery, and gift, and that somehow or other, through grace, our failures can be redeemed and blessed.”




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