I find mercy in the rhythms of everyday life. My heart is heavy with news of a Dutch priest and psychotherapist, who chose to stay in danger and solidarity with the people of Syria whom he has been serving for decades, killed three days short of his 76th birthday. That was ten days ago. This week, a bombing at a Catholic school in Damascus, Syria, killed a nine year old and injured 45. My heart worries and aches for the people of Ukraine. Rwanda is observing remembrance, of the awful genocide twenty years ago, and remarkable steps toward healing and reconciliation since. Holy week marches on.
Girl two has become fascinated with St. Rose of Lima. She knows little about her, the name, “Rose,” is the focus of adoration.
“What’s Lima?” she wanted to know.
I told her it was a city in Peru, the same place a close friend of ours is from.
Girl two’s eyes lit up. “Does that mean,” she said breathless, “that St. Rose had brown skin too?”
“I think it does. Does that make you happy?” I ask.
“Yes,” said Girl two. “Brown skin is so beautiful. And it sparkles. Especially in the sun. You have to see it in the sun. I love the sparkles so much.”
Fear despises difference. Love sees the sparkles.
Spring has sprung the coils in the children’s brains. Boy two has been on a rampage of neglected duties. A few days ago he came to me with great sincerity and measured tone.
“I have a question,” he said. “I have brushed the horse and fed the chickens. I’ve collected the eggs and put away my school things. I’ve emptied the ash and practiced my piano. Is there anything else I need to do, or I have I done enough to be iddal now.” (think “little,” with no “l”)
I blink while my brain works to solve the puzzle of “iddal.”
“Is it possible that you read the word, ‘I. D. L. E.’ in a book and you are trying to pronounce it?” I ask. “Because you say the word with a long I. Idle.”
“Iddal. Idle. Whatever. So have I done to be idle now?”
Mother Teresa, who surely saw more than the average share of the world’s pain, said that “love begins at home.” We are all of us insufficient to alleviate the needs of so vast a world. It is a crisis of immensity with a place to start. The radical promise of Easter.
In barren fields, things unexpected grow. The world disintegrates and love is made new again. Hope, peace, joy, rise rediscovered, and renewed.
I will be taking a few days off from the blog, back on Tuesday, next week. In eager expectation and gratitude, may we walk toward the hope that is Easter. And may we be iddal long enough to hear the ballads of miracle and mystery that bid us also to rise up.