Interview with Lady Buryhill from Close to His Heart by Leonora Pruner
Grace Good afternoon, Mrs. Pruner. It is a pleasure to talk with you. I feel I’ve known you a very long time.
Leonora Yes, all your life — since you were a glimmer in my mind’s eye. A key person in your story seems to be Mgbudu. Would you please tell us why he was so important to you?
Grace Dear Mgbudu! Yes, he was very important. You see, when I encountered him in the cave I regarded as my private retreat, my life was in shambles. I had married a man I loved deeply and thought he also loved me. But suddenly, he became cold and distant and very polite.
Leonora But you did not confront him about that.
Grace I was afraid to. That really was not in my nature. It was not something that young women did at that time. It seemed as if I had done something very wrong, but did not know what that was. No one needed me. The household ran perfectly whether or not I was there. My father had gone back home. I had not developed any close friends in the neighborhood. Then I met Mgbudu and realized he was an escaped slave. He needed me. I had belonged to a Methodist group back home and they taught that we should do no wrong and do all the good we could. Here was an opportunity to do good to a person in desperate need even though I did not speak his language.
Leonora Did your husband understand?
Grace (a little chuckle) Not at first. Oh, we had a fierce argument, unlike any other in my life! It was like all our passions erupted at the same time. Once he understood that this was not some lover of mine, which was really unthinkable, he became very helpful. I had high hopes that this could be the beginning of a new life together, better than what we had. That we could work together to help Mgbudu, maybe even get him back to his family in Africa.
Leonora But that did not happen.
Grace Sadly, not then. Mgbudu’s tragic death shoved me into total despair, smashing my beautiful dreams. My life was thrown into what you call today a “tailspin.” But, then, God moves through tragedies, changing us, and molding our life into something really precious. I don’t know how He does that, but He does. Because I was so distraught over Mgbudu’s death, I became involved in an accident. And that changed everything!
Leonora In what way?
Grace I must not tell all my story here. But, because of my injury in the accident, I came to meet people who otherwise would not have entered my life. And, because of my injury, my dear husband came to realize… Ah, but that is to be told another time, another way.
Leonora You mean by reading your story?
Grace Yes. It is not for me to tell it all now, merely to tantalize someone listening to us into wondering how it came about.
Leonora How would you sum up your story?
Grace I think it tells about my maturing from a spoiled young woman into an adult with a deep understanding of what it means to live in accordance with her faith. If God is as I believe Him to be, I cannot live in a self-centered way as if He does not exist. And, no matter how lost I may feel, He will not desert me, ever.