Happy Memories in the Bleak Midwinter

Setting-the-TableSetting-the-TableIt’s the end of 2014 and I’ve been battling the flu through Christmas and I’m still battling. This is a hard one to kick. And I find myself thinking of Father Michael during the holidays last year. He had held up the idea of a special time coming in December. He would mention it often;he hoped to have an extended time of feeling more like himself . This was post healing service and in many ways, Father M felt that he was doing better after the service. He was so hopeful.

I recently found his text thanking me for my Christmas gift to him. Father M was so delighted he’d be able to buy a work of art. He mentioned the painting he loved of the rowboat ‘that will one day take me to meet God’.

Father Michael never got me any presents, but would share things that were incredibly special with me. During the holidays last year he painstakingly made me tea and called me over to look at his computer monitor. There he had a video clip from youtube all set up to show me. It had been filmed by a neighbor who was hosting the Kyte family for dinner in November 1970, within a few short weeks of the death of their mother. You can access this clip by clicking on the picture of Father Michael at 17 in the side panel on this site. In the clip, Father M is the gorgeous and vivacious redhead on the left. What a young-looking 17! I think he looks more like 14 ! Father Michael told me that his best friend at the time, Bernie, is the young man next to him. Bernie’s mom is the hostess.Father’s dad, Arthur, sits across from him. Father Michael remarked as I watched this “there we are , like a bunch of banshees!”  Have no idea what he meant by that-they all seemed so sedate, well-behaved and hungry. And I do sense their cohesiveness and concern for each other. Their mother really must have been the crowning glory of that beautiful family…and she was now gone.

In the same visit, Father brought out a collage of family pictures his brother had composed . He was so happy to point out all the babies in those pictures! I wanted to really look at this collage, kind of study it. But Father had more surprises. He brought out an album, pictures of the art work which he had collected. Long before -I’d actually suggested he do this ; I was so surprised he had taken my advice!! His friend in Colorado had helped him put it together-such a kind gesture. He loved going through the pictures and explaining why each was so special to him.

And then Father brought out a Waterford crystal chalice set that had been given to him by one of his Dominican brothers. What a treat to share and admire!

So here I am, thinking of all these little things, sharing them was such a gift to me. And of course, there was the gift and kindness of Father Michael. God is so good.

Happy New Year!

 

”The Wonderment of God”

10646633_805091119552224_7151441132180897568_nIn July of 2013, I asked Father Michael if he would pray for the healing of a young man.I only knew of Thomas through his online writings and tweets, but I had always been very impressed by him. This young man, married just three months , had suffered an injury to his spinal vertebrae in an accident. When I first asked Father M for prayers, the prognosis for Thomas was not encouraging. The doctors talked of a “persistent vegetative state” and paralysis. But Thomas improved remarkably, perhaps miraculously. He moved , he talked-and got much better. Thomas was surrounded through it all by loving, faith-filled family, friends, colleagues – and of course his spouse, Natalie.

Well, Father Michael was impressed by the unwavering faith of this young couple and constantly was asking me for updates on them. He would often say things like “can you imagine a couple facing this so early in their marriage? How many people even imagine something like this happening when they say their vows?” Father Michael looked at this young couple as an extraordinary example of a loving marriage. He often spoke of how the love and sacrifices and graces of that sacrament awed him, especially when their effects were so evident in peoples’ everyday lives.

I was dependent on updates from  Thomas’ recovery website to keep Father M “in the know”. I relayed Thomas’ newly recovered abilities and sent Father M some of the pictures that were on the Recovery page. I sent texts whenever I wanted to quickly inform Father M. Father Michael marveled at it all and gave thanks for each improvement in Thomas’ condition. He became more and more fond of this young couple ! He wrote me this email:

“Thanks for the picture! What a lovely couple! I continue to be awed by their faith and the miracle that has happened. God is good and we have to celebrate all the good in life.”

He sent this after seeing pictures of Thomas’ rehab work : ” It is so good to see Tom able to use his body. Isn’t God awesome? He has done incredible work since the accident. It could be a whole different reality”

And this after receiving another picture from their site:”What a wonderful photo. Aren’t we blessed to be connected by this story! Thanks for keeping me updated on this marvelous couple. Blessings and hugs, Fr.Michael”

And this-after several of my text updates:”Thanks for all the updates on Tom. He will be the Thanksgiving and Christmas miracle! Can you imagine their short journey of marriage thus far?”

And on Labor Day 2013 Father M left me a voicemail full of hope for Thomas and himself. I’ll let him speak for himself—

Thomas Peters continues to recover- through much effort and the grace of God. If you would like to know more of his story,here is a link to the recovery web site

http://tpetersrecovery.blogspot.com/

So Father Michael saw this all as the “Wonderment of God”. I often think of Tom in rehab and his efforts to walk again -and I pray for him and Natalie. I also picture Father Michael nearby, surveying it all, hoping for the miracles to come. He wouldn’t want to miss them-something to celebrate!