Broiling oil splashed onto the majority of my face. Huge, watery blisters formed almost immediatly. I was eleven.
"Socorro!" I screamed before I went into shock.
Socorro in Spanish means "Help".
Socorro also happens to be a popular name for Mexican women.
Socorro was my second cousin. She lived with us. She was 17.
My mother was helping her become a legal U.S. citizen. In the mean time, Socorro helped take care of my siblings and I while my mother built houses with her father and brothers.
"Vamos a hacer papas fritas?" asked Socorro on a random summer Saturday.
Shall we make fried potatoes?
I loved fried potatoes. With ketchup.
"Si! Ensena me." Yes! Teach me.
Together we peeled the potatoes and sliced them.
I pulled out a huge pot. I watched as she all but filled it with oil.
We waited for the oil to get hot enough.
"Can I put the potatoes in the oil?" I asked.
"Cuidado," she said. Careful.
I took a heaping handful of sliced papas and prepared to gently slide them into the pot.
Suddenly, I became afraid. I was afraid of the power in the heat. I was afraid of the potential damage if I made a false move.
My fear forced me to throw the potatoes into the fiery liquid.
Angry oil flew at my face. Arrows of outrageous fortune.
"Socorro!" I screamed.
I awoke in my bed. Socorro was gently rubbing a cold, soothing substance on my blistered face.
Old wives tales say butter can act like a salve and help a burn heal.
In truth, According to the Red Cross, putting butter on a burn can trap heat in, increasing the risk of infection.
Miraculously my blisters healed. Despite the butter there was no infection. Despite the severity of the burns no scars remained.
As I meditated today, this story, which had been stored in the recesses of my memory, reintroduced itself like an old friend.
Hello, it said. Remember me?
Yes. I remember you. Why are you here today? Not that I mind. But why?
You've healed nicely.
I couldn't help noticing you spend a lot of time pondering the healing of the heart and soul. You wish it for those you Love.
Yes. I suppose I do.
How does that healing come about; do you think?
In my own experience healing comes through a great deal of Prayer. Forgiveness of myself and others. Patience. Submission to God's will.
Would you say that as you kneel in humble Prayer you cry, 'Socorro?'
Yes. Yes, I do.