Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.
Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Bring the Earth your love and happiness.
The Earth will be safe
when we feel safe in ourselves.
– Thich Nhat Hahn
A day of Silence
Can be a pilgrimage in itself.
A day of Silence
Can help you listen
To the Soul play
Its marvellous lute and drum.
Is not most talking
A crazed defence of a crumbling fort?
I thought we came here
To surrender in Silence,
To yield to Light and Happiness,
To Dance within
In celebration of Love’s Victory!
“If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
– Fred Rogers
Thoughts by Alan Watts
We must abandon completely the notion of blaming the past for any kind of situation we’re in and reverse our thinking and see that the past always flows back from the present. That now is the creative point of life. So you see it’s like the idea of forgiving somebody, you change the meaning of the past by doing that…Also, watch the flow of music. The melody as its expressed is changed by notes that come later. Just as the meaning of a sentence…you wait till later to find out what the sentence means…The present is always changing the past.
This is what you should do: love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men … re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss what insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem.
Chapter 45 ~ Miracles Happen
Father Oscar asked Joe, Jody, and Sam to come with him to room off of the lounge area. They walked into a conference room. There were three black leather soft, living room type chairs, a similarly covered sofa, and a long coffee table in the center of the room. A Bible and a book on coping with loss sat askew on the table. Father Oscar pointed to the sofa and an adjoining chair. Sam quickly stepped toward the chair. Joe gave him a look and shook his head. Joe and Jody sat on the sofa.
Father Oscar said, “We use this room to talk with family members. It’s hard watching someone you love die. My mom and dad are still alive. My younger sister drowned ten years ago. We were close. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. I can’t count the number of men and women I’ve seen die here. I see suffering on the face of the dying. I see suffering on the face of family who feel powerless to change events. Every day I’m asked why and I don’t have an answer. The men and women who work here and volunteer to be here bring a deep sense of compassion to the dying and living. The work is so intense we schedule communal prayer sessions three times a week to support each other and pray for strength. It’s the only way we regain our strength to push on.”
Jody slid a bit closer to Joe and held his hand. Her eyes filled with tears as Father Oscar’s words triggered a memory. Father Oscar said, “You okay, Jody?”
“I’m okay, Father. I remember going to see my grandma in a hospice. She really raised me. It was hard. You’re right, you don’t get over it.”
Joe squeezed Jody’s hand. He said, “What about Ritchie? What’s his story?”
Father Oscar held Joe’s eyes for a moment, then spoke, “I met Joe a little over four years ago. It was right before I got my assignment to Sister Jean’s. It was early in the morning. I don’t remember the exact time, three or four. Brother George and I were working with the homeless in a park two blocks away from St. Rose’s Hospital. My iPhone vibrated. I answered it. Sister Joyce asked me to come to St. Rose’s Hospital to give the last rites to a man who was expected to die within the hour. I left Brother George and ran the two blocks to the hospital. When I entered the ER room, they hurried me into a room where I saw a broken, battered body. The man’s eyes were closed and swollen, his nose literally pointing down his cheek. His lower jaw hung agape off to one side. Three doctors were working on his legs and arms. They all were broken. A doctor looked at me and said, “His name is Joe Ritchie. It was in his wallet. I made a guess he’s Catholic. We’re trying to save him. It will be a long shot if he survives. I’d put it at one hundred to one against him.”
“What did you do?” asked Joe.
“What I’m supposed to do. I walked behind the doctors and began praying over Joe. I didn’t have the oils we usually use, but I knew the prayers the church uses in administering the last rights by heart. Are you all Catholic?”
Joe nodded. Jody nodded. Sam shook his head.
“The last rites are a sacrament given to people in danger of dying where we pray for their soul. When I saw Joe, I was sure he wouldn’t be alive when the sun rose. After I administered the last rights, I left and returned to the park where Brother George was playing a guitar and had four homeless men singing with him. I wish you could meet him. He fits in wherever he is. I’ve never met anyone quite like him. He is the holiest person I’ve ever known. You’d never know it. He doesn’t wear it on his sleeve. There’s something about him that makes you know you’re in the presence of a special person. Brother George and I drove back to the Franciscan house. I told him the story. He looked at me and said, “He’s going to live.” That’s all he said. I didn’t question him. There are five of us Franciscans and two lay men who live at the house. We’ve learned not to question Brother George. Every once in a while he’ll tell us something that doesn’t make sense until it makes sense. You know what I mean?”
Sam shook his head, “I do, Father. Harry Daniels had the same gift.”
Joe gave Sam a look. Father Oscar said, “I believe you, Sam. The Spirit touches people in ways it’s hard for most of us to understand. Why someone gets the gift and others don’t is a mystery.”
Sam smiled and nodded.
Father Oscar continued, “The next afternoon, I went to St. Rose’s Hospital. I expected to hear that Joe died regardless of Brother George’s comment. I asked about Joe at the receptionist desk and was told he was in intensive care and critical not expected to survive. I went to intensive care and spoke with the nurses and the hospitalist, they all shook their heads. A week later he remained in a coma, but began to show slight signs of improvement. They moved him to the neurology unit. I started visiting him each day around three. I read to him. I told him stories. I have no idea if he heard me. I stayed a half hour then when back to my work.”
“How long was Joe in a coma?” asked Jody.
“Joe looked like a sci fi movie. Tubes were in his nose, mouth, and arms. His legs and arms were in traction. Doctor’s still needed to operate on his jaw and nose. They couldn’t because of his condition. They reset his nose the best they could. The swelling in his eyes was gone and the deep black and blue was turning yellow. He’d scare most anyone.”
“When did Joe wake up?” asked Sam.
“I know the exact day. It six weeks later on October 4th.”
“What made that day so special that you remember it?” asked Joe.
“There were two things, Joe. One, October 4th is the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the founder of my order. The other thing was Brother George. We have a small chapel in our house. That’s where you will usually find Brother George if he is not out working with the homeless or drug dependent people or lost kids. I came into the chapel to pray. I sat down in the rear row. Brother George was in the front row. There were only three rows. He was kneeling in deep prayer. I sat on a chair and began to pray. Maybe it was five minutes later, maybe longer. I don’t recall. I remember Brother George saying without turning around, “Oscar, go to St. Rose’s now. Joe is going to wake up.” That’s all he said. I got up and went directly St.Rose’s hospital. I went to Joe’s room. He looked comatose to me. I held his hand and said, “Hi Joe, it’s Father Oscar. For the first time, he squeezed my hand. I started to cry. Not out loud, but I couldn’t stop the tears from running down my face. After a moment, I prayed the 23rd psalm with him. He squeezed my hand again when I finished. He wouldn’t let go of me. I stood there. Then he opened his eyes and tried to speak. He couldn’t with all the tubes in him. I smiled and told him, everything was going to be okay. He was going to live.”
“And then?” asked Joe.
“Miracles happen, Joe. Miracles happen,” said Father Oscar.
Tomorrow – The conclusion of Searching for Dad