I have yearned for companionship with other women and have made some connections in the past.  They have never been as deep as this sisterhood I have shared with Ruth and Maura.  We have laughed together, shared family, talked about the strength in a name, and been taken care of - I hope by one another.

I would come to the kitchen fire at first tentative of intruding on the space.  Especially when people get up from their chairs and insist you sit, or leave after your arrival.  Visiting there in the kitchen lead to talking and sharing.  Then sharing laughter with one another, then taking care of one another.  They helped to give me advice when I went to preach in Mideh, telling me a necklace was too confusing to the people and just my collar would do.  I tried to help Maura one morning start the charcoal fire and we almost had an outdoor fire.  We laughed and got things under control.  I would rise early to help with the water fire though and to say hello and to fan the charcoal fire.

As the friendship strengthened we would eat from the same plate, sharing greens and rolls from dinner.  Ruth or Maura would make sure we shared a final drink of the day, whether it was soda, a tea sweet milk drink, or just tea with sugar, or sample the Mendezzeh (donut holes) as they came out fresh from the oil.

The sweetest things I will remember is the first night Maura took my hand and asked me to escort them to the gate and say good night or as Ruth puts it, "God willing, we will see you in the morning."  Or when Ruth and Maura were overwhelmed with cooking for us and Ruth finally allowed me to do the washing of clothes with her and we laughed because I'm not a big, strong powerful washerwomen.  Or the last meal when Maura thought I would announce supper was ready and I took her hand and we did it together.  Or having them teach me Moru, or dancing as they would, or....  The list could go on and on.  The thing is these women remain in my heart.  Isn't this what God intended for us to share.  Such simple gifts and yet all the treasures of heaven reside there.