…But in that moment, I realized that I was merely a vessel for God’s work at hand. I allowed the mystery of God to flow through me as He used my hands as His and cupped both sides of Maria’s face. Looking into her sad, shamed eyes, the Spirit of God within me kissed her on either cheek. It was a complete out of body experience and it was humbling to say the least. To have been invited to be a part of God’s grace and mercy with another human being. But the words Maria spoke next was what humbled me the most…
Maria arrived in Blanco in 1993 from Guana Juato, Mexico and has lived an incredibly hard life. In order to survive when she first arrived, she used to walk the streets of Blanco and collected pennies people had left on the ground to buy soap to wash herself. Today she knows she is not alone in this tough economy because there are no pennies to be found anymore. Now, nearly 80 years old, Maria walks for miles up and down the hills of Downtown Blanco, collecting aluminum cans to rightfully pay her way in this world one day at a time. At .30 cents a pound, with a clear garbage bag slung over one shoulder and a makeshift cane to keep her balance in the other, she pleaded with me, “Please, don’t touch me, I’m dirty.” The Spirit of God within me stepped in closer, wrapped His arms around her and held her close. As we pulled away, our eyes met again and this time she said, “Thank you for not being disgusted by me.” The word in Spanish she used was ‘Asco’, which harshly means disgusting, gross, revolting.
I divinely encountered Maria on the front porch of the new Coffee House, ‘Joyful Noise’. She carefully and timidly approached the front porch asking if I knew how much it would cost her to put an ad in the Blanco County News…to thank all the people of Blanco who have offered her a ride and helped her collect cans, but more importantly just for being nice to her all these years.
On behalf of Maria Carmen Serrano, “Muchas Gracias, Blanco!”