CASSIE’S CHANGE OF HEART

Cassie’s Change of Heart is the third part of the Chipped and Mixed Matched Teacups. In part two: The Traveling Teacups, Cassie and Jim Davidson attend the reading of John’s Will. They were each given the teacup and saucer that held piping hot tea on a cold winter’s night. Along with the chipped and mixed- matched cups and saucers, they were also given the stories of the evening, as a reminder, to think beyond themselves.

                         Cassie’s Change of Heart

As Cassie and Jim drove home from the reading of the will, they talked about that cold winter’s night and the stories that John had shared.  Although they were moved to tears by the messages of strength, hope, faith, and love, their concern for moving into their new bigger and better house, was more significant.

When they arrived home later that night, Jim took the box with the two teacups and saucers along with the stories out to the garage. He pulled his ladder out of the corner then climbed and placed the box behind a tote that held many strands of colored Christmas lights. Then he put the ladder back, walked around his navy blue expensive car and turned off the light. The teacups, saucers, and stories were left in the dark where they stayed for two months.

It was September, and Cassie and Jim loved their new home. A home filled with everything that money could buy.  Cassie was satisfied at first but soon became tired and bored.   Maybe, it was because there were homes bigger and better than hers. Or perhaps it was because their development was bordered by small, older Cape Cods, less than a mile from their home. Or maybe it was because of a small bungalow nestled among the Capes, in need of paint and a new roof.

Within a few weeks after moving into her home, Cassie heard a knock at her front door. As she opened the door, she saw an older small woman dressed in black slacks, and a checked pink and white blouse. She wore black loafers. In her ear lobes were tiny pink pierced earrings and around her neck was a small gold cross. Her medium salt and pepper hair framed her face like a picture highlighting her soft blue eyes.

 She smiled and said, ” Good afternoon! My name is Mary, and I was wondering if you were looking for help. I am a good cook and work hard.” Cassie stood listening, then told her she was sorry, but the position was filled.  Tears filled Mary’s eyes. As she looked at Cassie and asked if she knew of anyone who needed help. Cassie told her that she was new to the neighborhood and didn’t know very many people. Mary thanked Cassie then turned and walked down the sidewalk.

Cassie watched from her living room window and thought, what would the neighbors think if they saw the woman who lived in the small bungalow, needing paint and a new roof working in my beautiful house? Surely they would never include her in their afternoon teas.

That night, Cassie had a difficult time sleeping, she tossed and turned thinking about the woman at her door. When she finally fell asleep, she dreamt of the small women with the pleading eyes.

Later that day, Cassie was driving to the grocery store, when she passed a small woman walking on the shoulder of the road.  As she looked in her rear view mirror, she noticed it was Mary. Cassie wondered where she was going but did not stop to ask if she needed a ride.  As Cassie was paying for her groceries, Mary walked by. She smiled and waved, but Cassie pretended not to see her.

As the young woman put her bags inside her car and drove home, she forgot about the older woman who walked back home alone.  That night, Cassie once again had a hard time sleeping; dreaming of Mary. This time the sweet woman with the salt and pepper hair was crying.  The next day, Cassie thought about Mary throughout the day, but soon pushed her to the back of her mind when the doorbell rang.

Cassie was surprised when she recognized two of her neighbors standing on the other side. They introduced themselves, and she quickly invited them in.  Jan lived to the left of Cassie and Sally lived to the right. They welcomed her to the neighborhood. They asked her if she would be interested in helping with the monthly soup luncheon for those who needed a little extra help.

Sally shared that she was heading up a committee to collect fall and winter clothes for the homeless shelter. Cassie smiled, nodded her head and said she would check her schedule.  All the while, thinking, no way.

 That night, sleep abandoned her again. When she did sleep, it was fitful, dreaming of Mary, and others who needed help.  The next morning, she shared her dream with Jim. He told her maybe it was a message that something needed to change in her life.

That morning, after Jim left for work, Cassie got in her convertible and drove down the street, pass the old Cape Cods. As she got closer to the run-down bungalow, she noticed an ambulance parked on the gravel driveway. She saw two EMT’s carrying a stretcher out of the house. Was it Mary? Maybe Jim was right. Maybe her dreams were sending her a message.

Cassie pulled in the driveway and parked next to the ambulance, quickly got out of the car, and headed to the back of the red and white lettered vehicle. It was Mary, covered with a white blanket, ready to be loaded in the ambulance. Cassie asked what hospital they were taking her to, then got back into her car and followed them.

Cassie sat in the waiting room.  She had no idea why she was there but knew that was where she was supposed to be.  Two hours later, Cassie asked if there was any information on Mary. The nurse told her that legally she could not share anything with her.

Cassie drove home thinking about Mary and hoped that everything would be okay. That night Cassie did something that she had not done in many years; she prayed

Cassie prayed for Mary’s health. And she asked God to tell her what to do and to show her how to do it. Cassie also prayed for forgiveness. The next morning, Cassie told Jim that she had a dream about the cold winter’s night at John and Millie’s home.

“Jim, It was so real! I could taste the hot tea, and hear each story. I could feel my hand on the teacup.”  Jim looked up and saw tears in Cassie’s eyes. He got up, walked out to the garage, pulled out his ladder, climbed up, moved the tote with the Christmas lights, picked up the box with the teacups in, climbed back down, put the ladder in its place, then carried the box into the kitchen and placed it on their marble island. Cassie opened the box, smiled, and thanked her husband.

Within one hour, Cassie was on her way to the hospital to visit Mary with two chipped teacups and mix-matched saucers.  When she arrived, Cassie located Mary’s room. As she walked through the open door, she saw Mary sitting up in bed, looking a little better.

Mary smiled as she saw Cassie. Cassie asked her if she would like to have a cup of tea. Mary looked a little surprised but said that would be lovely. Cassie excused herself and disappeared out the door and before long returned with two cups of steaming hot cups of tea. Mary watched as Cassie took out the two cups and the saucers, then poured the hot drink into the mix-matched cups.

Cassie sat in a chair next to Mary’s bed. She thought for a moment and said, ” I was prepared to tell you a story about the meaning of the teacup you are holding. But, I believe I need to hear your story.” Mary smiled, took a sipped of tea and began.  Her husband died ten years ago of cancer. The company he worked for went out of business, and they lost their health insurance. After Bill’s death, she had worked at the very store that she was walking to the night Cassie had passed her. Then she became ill and was unable to work for a few months.  Between Bill’s medical expenses, taxes, and the upkeep of the house, Mary just could not afford it.

She shared that she and Bill formerly lived in a charming Cape Cod with flower beds, but when the bank took her house, the only home she could afford to rent was the little bungalow that needed paint and a new roof. Cassie, I want to work, but no one will hire me. However, I am not giving up. God has a plan for me. There are others that are struggling more than I am.  Although I don’t know them personally, I pray for them and God takes care of the rest.

Cassie smiled as she listened to Mary’s story while they both sipped tea from the cups that held the stories of others. Then Cassie told her story about a woman who only thought of herself. Who wanted to be accepted by other’s who lived in big and beautiful houses. Who felt she was entitled to have everything her heart desired.

Mary smiled, then asked Cassie for a hug. As Cassie, gently, put her arms around Mary, she heard,  ” I forgive you.” With tears in her eyes, Cassie understood her dreams and the lesson she needed to learn.

A few weeks later, Mary moved in with Cassie and Jim. She helped around the house and loved Cassie like her own daughter.

The two chipped teacups and mix-matched saucers, now sit in the china cupboard, waiting for visitors who need to hear a story that might change a life.