7.Palm Trees and Mustard Seeds

Pru and I have been for our walk. The yellow happy jumper is worn. It is not a sunny happy day. Fog warnings have been issued. Pru’s human sisters are both now at home on the sofa. Another school day missed. Pru is downstairs instead of in the office. She is either chewing on the rug, that is clinging to life by threads, or snuggled in one of her sister’s laps watching and snoozing. I’m hoping for the latter. Pru has been a little extra naughty. I have felt a little extra agitated. Unexpected interruptions to our regular schedule have always been hard for me. I feel overwhelmed when things don’t go to plan and wonder if other mothers feel this way too?

Today Pru’s walk is unpleasant. The ground is frozen and icy. The sky is cold and grey. My hands are freezing and I am tired of being cold. I dream of palm trees rustling in a warm Florida breeze. On our walk, I think of merchant ships and insurance. I think of how insurance is a Goliath in our lives that few people see. I wonder about insurance during the era of Mercantilism as we walk down the lane. I wonder about insurance today. Do insurance companies hire ethicists? Does Prudence play any part in the insurance of the past or the present?

A year earlier I pick up a book on Mercantilism written in 1931 by a Swede and translated by a German into English. The library at my husband’s college is doing a book dump. I want all the books. Would it be rude if I were to ask for all the books? My husband, the fellow, correctly says there are too many books on the list. I read the list of unwanted books. Is any fellow interested in having these books, the college librarian asks. I am interested and I am not a fellow. I’m a flip flop girl living in a wellington world. The fellow, requests the books of interest. I’m on the hunt for Prudence and can figuratively hear the voices of those that will not be drowned. I feel weird. Why do I want these books? What gives me the right? Who can grant me the peace of permission to ask questions and seek answers? My husband brings home the stack of books the ‘non fellow’ in the house has requested.

The day the unwanted books arrive, my mother calls to tell me that she has found the missing mustard seed necklace her grandmother had given her almost 55 years earlier. She thought the necklace had been lost. She found it in my recently deceased grandmother’s jewellery box. My grandmother had lied to her daughter. My mother’s mother had hidden the mustard seed necklace for all those years in the back of her jewellery box. My mom and I wonder why. Why would someone, her mother and my grandmother hide her treasured necklace? I hang up the phone. I open the book on mercantilism written in 1931. A non-fellow girl. On the first page of the book is written…

“The Kingdom of Heaven is compared, not to any great Kernel or Nut, but to a Grain of Mustard-seed; which is one of the least Grains, but hath in it a Property and Spirit, hastily to get up and spread. So are there States, great in territory, yet not apt to Enlarge or command; and some, that have but a small Dimension of Stem, and yet apt to be the Foundations of Great Monarchies.” BACON, Of the true Greatness of Kingdomes and Estates (1625) 

I have found my permission in a mustard seed. It wasn’t hidden in my grandmother’s jewellery box but in an unwanted book. My hands are still cold but I feel a little warmer than before. I have just a spec of faith that I might be on the right path.

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