I once spoke to my friend, an old squirrel,
about the Sacraments –
he got so excited
and ran into a hollow in his tree and came
back holding some acorns, an owl feather,
and a ribbon he had found.
And I just smiled and said, “Yes, dear,
St Francis of Assisi
Translation by Daniel Ladinsky
Love Poems From God: Twelve Voices from the East and West
My beloved Dad died last Wednesday. Mum’s now in hospital having fallen and broken an arm a day later. Many miles away we’ve been seeing the inside of hospital too. And friends have just been bereaved … and … and … and … well, everyone in the world knows how it goes, for all of us, for some of our time. Grief. Pain. Fear. Distance.
So is Francis right? Does ‘everything’ (even if not quite literally) impart grace? I’ve had a few opportunities to find out over a scary weekend. And my answer’s a resounding ‘yes!’
Here’s a bit of a list: wonderful life-partner, children, grandchildren, siblings, cousins, parents, aunts and uncles, advisers, counselors, doctors, nurses, neighbours, weight-bearing friends around the world and ‘there’ and ‘here’. Friendship’s love, candles lit, and prayer communicated from afar. ‘A Taste of Italy’ on TV, memories of ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ sung at high volume by my parents, sister, brother, cousins, children, and me. Thank you notes from baby grandchildren and a great-niece. Deep meditation’s peace.
I’m with you, Squirrel: acorns, an owl feather, and a ribbon [you] found. I just need to remember to run into the hollow. And there, and also everywhere, I find, and am found. Grace.