Monthly Archiv: June, 2015

Healing each other

The Blessing of Saint Blase by Francesco De Rosa (Pacecco De Rosa).  (In the Public Domain from Wikigallery)

The Blessing of Saint Blase by Francesco De Rosa (Pacecco De Rosa). (In the Public Domain from Wikigallery)

I am blessed (and a little cursed) with a heart that bleeds easily. People that nobody wants make me want to do something. Impractical ideas (of ways to help) pitch tents inside my head and hold pow wows. Most of them do not work out.

About a year ago  we came upon an older man on the sidewalk. He had fallen and was bleeding. He was also drunk and disoriented.

When I got out of the car I was nervous, glad my husband was there. Closer to the man, I started to see him differently. He was a man who was once a boy, who for now was lost. I didn’t feel afraid; I felt like a mother. (Mothers are afraid of little save failing to love their children.) We only had paper napkins. What I wanted was a cool clean washcloth and some time. I wanted to clean up his cuts and sit on the steps with him in quiet until he knew himself again. Another person walking by had called 911. It was somewhere between one and three minutes that we spoke, then the professionals arrived.

As I walked away, the man called out to me. “You’re an angel,” he said. I decided later that this was proof of just how much he had been drinking. But I found myself quietly wanting to look in the mirror. Wondering if I could catch a glimmer of what he saw.

The older I get the more convinced I am that we are rarely here to fix each other. Our attempts to save  are often misguided, short sighted, and lacking in humility about how much we have to offer. Loving, however, is not the same thing as saving. Love does not smash through the blackened windows of our cells; it cleans the glass so we can see each other. A grain of sand upon a grain of sand. If we see and we are seen, is not God incarnate?

We are afraid to say. We understand our inability to fix another. Or ourselves. Squarely juxtaposed against that reality is another reality. In tiny ways (without really knowing how and with no guarantees of when) we have the power to heal each other.

Probabilities are high that my friend did not remember our conversation the next day. Was it less a holy moment? Perhaps all drunk men find women young enough to be their daughters angelic. Does this invalidate their blessing?

It struck me that the man was wearing white (poor planning for mashing up his head though). White shirt. White pants. I picture millenniums of Jewish men in long beards reaching out to bless the generations. Priests reaching out to bless the heads of pilgrims. Mothers and fathers bending down at night to bless the heads of children. A year ago, a drunk stranger in his seventies lifted up a shaking hand and said I was an angel. But I wasn’t the one dressed all in white.

The picture of him comes to me at strange times. It was an odd kind of anointing I grant you, but was it any less real? There is a secret in the loving that does not exist with fixing. Loving is a lot of not knowing, but like the tides, love goes both ways. With loving it is never certain who has been appointed to bless whom. Or if it matters.

Weekend Joys


With the family away, I wrote Friday until 6:00pm in order to earn the right to drive the tractor until 8:00pm. I ran the bushhog on our far field while keeping a close on eye on the ground for rocks and creatures. Last year I stopped just short of a partridge on her eggs. No partridges were disturbed by me this time, but I saw a painted turtle and jumped off to move him out of harm’s way. As I bent down, instead of curling up inside his shell, he ran. I got back on the tractor laughing. What if all turtles can run, but it’s one of those things that just isn’t done? What if this one was running because he was too young (or too socially awkward) to know better?

Boy one’s barn chores were uneventful except for Misty, who snuck in behind me to the sheep barn. The children love the pony. Boy one talks to her, grabs her mane, cajoles her, puts his arm around her, pulls her, and generally does whatever he wants with her like she’s his sister. Misty and I don’t have that kind of relationship. I spoke, she ignored. I pushed, she rolled her eyes. I didn’t try pulling because it seemed ill advised. After ten minutes, I went and got the whip, which I didn’t plan to use but I wasn’t going to tell her that. She saw me come in the barn and stand in the corner. She glared at me and took one deliberate step at a time toward the door. Before she left she turned and barred every one of her senior citizen horse teeth at me.

Outside she walked around to her stall which was not in great shape. I pointed out to her, while cleaning up her stall with a close eye on her, that the crap she was standing in was thanks to her boy who could do no wrong, whereas the clean floor with fresh straw was thanks now to me.

The rest of my weekend retreat was writing, plus a birthday lunch for a friend. I got drenched doing Saturday night’s chores. It felt like a fitting baptism for the new hope I was feeling. I gave Misty a night off on her diet so she could stay outside to eat all night with the cows. For my part, I found myself a good documentary (on sugar!) and settled in to watch with not a stitch of laundry folding attempted.

The gang returned safe and sound to a house with no electricity and one roll of toilet paper. Everyone took it in stride for the hour of waiting. On the camping trip, the family found clay, discovered a cliff they could climb, watched a raccoon try to steal their food in the middle of the day, saw a porcupine on their hike, and swam in the still frigid lake. A resounding success all around.