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!