Friday, 05 February 2016 23:21

Michelle, Ma Belle

Written by  Priscilla K. Garatti

When I was eight years old I loved The Beatles.  I had a huge crush on Paul McCartney.  I guess I still do.  In 1963 I'd sit in my pink bedroom, cross-legged on the ecru shag carpet, reminiscent of a poodle-like dog breed, holding the Rubber Soul album and sigh over the handsome faces of the "Fab Four." My dad had disparaging remarks about the long-haired foursome--"Hippies," he said, fingering his neatly trimmed mustache with thumb and forefinger, wearing his gray suit.

I remained transfixed.  I'd carefully open my portable record player (the cover was brown faux snakeskin), switch it on, then blow lightly over the needle, loving the sound of my breath echoing through that childhood room, the white French Provencial dresser cluttered with hair ribbons, rubberbands, pennies and a music box with a ballerina that twirled on a spring when I opened the lid.

I liked all the songs, but would place the needle ever so gently over number six on side one.  There was that slight hiss as the LP moved smoothly around the turntable before the song began.  Michelle, ma belle I need to, I need to, I need to make you see oh, what you mean to me...Paul sang.

I think we never stop wanting to be loved.  All the "hook up" sites are part of that craving for authentic intimacy that we humans have--longing to make connection, hoping to be understood, desiring someone to kiss us and touch us. I know I have these yearnings.  And in some ways I've found human romantic love with my husband.  Yet simultaneously, even with someone who is handsome and has an Italian accent and buys me Chanel and things from Victoria's Secret, there are holes, deficits, disappointments.  Affection lags.  Back aches and nights on the couch.  Chores.  Bad breath.  Work.  Always work.  I am left with hunger.

And so what do we do when we thirst for something that is not our reality? How do we manage the unmet expectations and all out despair at times?  The loneliness? Some people find someone else.  Some give up and go it alone. Some escape into spending or sex or substances.  Others keep searching and searching and searching.  Who doesn't search?  Tell me who does not search?

I search.  And my adorable husband is not the answer to my soul's appetite--my rubber soul that bounces erratically through this chattering world I live in.  My search has ended with the One who loves me best, who delights in me--the One who is radiant and strong.  Wise and regal.  Pure and loving--filled with laughter and joy.  Warm. Appealing. Creative.  Bravehearted servant lamp to my path.  Full of supply.  Abundant. Grace abounding--heaping my life with gift after gift.  All praise and honor and glory to you, bright Sovereign, brilliant King.  The One who tells me when I thirst, that He is the Living Water that quenches my parched life and relieves my craving for love.  He is Jesus.

When I first met my husband he gave me a petite music box that now sits on another dresser strewn with costume jewelry, safety pins and pennies.  The minature box has a crank on its side and when I turn it, I watch the knotched spool strike the mechanical bars that move up and down.  The tinkling, slightly off-key melody plays, " Michelle, ma belle, I will say the only wordsI know that you'll understand I love you, I love you, I love you... 

I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.~Psalm 31:7

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What Readers Are Saying

In Missing God Priscilla takes a brave and unflinching look at grief and the myriad ways in which it isolates one person from another. The characters are full-bodied and the writing is mesmerizing. Best of all, there is ample room for hope to break through. This is a must read.

Beth Webb-Hart (author of Grace At Lowtide)

winner"On A Clear Blue Day" won an "Enduring Light" Bronze medal in the 2017 Illumination Book Awards.

winnerAn excerpt from Missing God won as an Honorable Mention Finalist in Glimmertrain’s short story “Family Matters” contest in April 2010.