My daughter's bike went missing.
I vented about it on Facebook.
Comments came quickly.
"My son outgrew a bike. It's yours if compatible."
"I have extras at my house! I am serious, I have too many bikes right now!"
"My daughter has a bike she outgrew, too."
Hmmm. Was this charity or just decluttering?
Either way, I was grateful. And glad -- I love social media best when we use it to help each other.
Then, another offer. A family friend, a fellow mom, wrote: "I have a bike for her."
My heart, it suddenly felt so heavy.
Because, that bike?
It once belonged to another 8-year-old girl; it belonged to Gracie.
Gracie, my daughter's friend, died of cancer last fall.
"*tears*" I replied.
We met the next day, in the parking lot of Our Lady of Guadalupe on St. Paul's West Side. As my friend wheeled her daughter's bicycle over to us, I gasped when I saw that it was purple.
Purple is my daughter's newest favorite color. She had just purchased all her new school supplies in purple. She was wearing purple to this rendezvous. It gave me the chills, and it made me wonder: Are little girls separated by earth and heaven still somehow able to communicate?
My friend was smiling as she showed us the bicycle, but I felt sad when I saw how new and unused it looked. It should have looked like my daughter's bike: muddy and adorned with stickers and a basket littered with Polly Pocket figurines and empty juice boxes.
"She was supposed to ride it this summer," my friend explained, a catch in her voice.
As we drove away, the bells of Guadalupe started ringing. I knew they were ringing to herald the 6:30 p.m. Mass, but it felt more personal than that.
After her own bicycle went missing, my daughter lost faith.
Our friends helped restore that faith by reaching out with precious gifts and kindnesses. It seemed like the perfectly timed bells were ringing out in celebration of faith and friendship. It felt like Grace in action. Amazing Gracie, how sweet the sound.
Molly Guthrey can be reached at 651-228-5505.