Sanctifying Glance

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It was a late spring afternoon, one of those kind of days when big clouds moved across crisp blue skies, allowing sunlight and shade to waltz around the gardens.

I walked down the drive to the front lawn with my white five-gallon plastic pail in hand. I was picking up pine cones and tree litter in preparation to mow. Stepping around the weeping crabapple I noticed a woman walking along the blacktop road who, looking up, had noticed me in the yard.

She looked to be a few years younger than me…and every bit as full bodied. Her walking shoes were wide-strapped tan sandals. Her black socks were scrunched down about her ankles, one about to creep fully under her heel. While she walked, her navy-blue jersey knit shorts had worked their way up between her ample thighs, and the bright orange and yellow floral tee she wore barely met the elastic waistband cinching in her belly. She obviously thought it too warm for a bra.

I could imagine she was walking for exercise in hopes of dropping a few pounds. I could imagine she was forced to walk to the corner store because her family had to cut back and there was only one car. I could imagine she was walking to center herself after some stressful event or heated argument. I assumed that her walking down the road had a purpose. People rarely walk down this busy street just for a stroll.

Meeting her gaze I openly smiled. She seemed startled that someone actually looked at her, and blinked a couple times before her face lit-up and she smiled back. Then, just as quickly, the smile left her face and she averted her eyes in a shy sort of way. She was again looking down and watching the blacktop under her feet.

I too was a bit startled by the feeling from our exchanged glance. Until that moment I had not truly realized that a smile could sanctify, bring out the Holy in another person. It was in her brief delight that I saw the Lord of Love revealed.

We both returned to our separate endeavors, each of us touched differently by the presence of goodness. She to her journey down the road, and I “to bow and to bend” to God in all of His creations.

Image by DarkWorkX at Pixabay.com.

(2013)

Too Holy to Hold Back

Image morguefile.com.

My dear friend Michelle Jones writes on her blog, County Road 21, about “The bitter sweet of love and death.” that is Palm Sunday.

Palm Sunday 2012, we carried a tiny box to church. I had miscarried 13 week old, Francis Xavier…The choir sang, “can a mother forget her baby, or a woman, the child within her womb.” Tears splashed my fingers as I played the piano…Palm Sunday, 2013, we went to church hollow…the day before the baby who was healthy inside me at 9 weeks, was now dead, also at 13 weeks. My miscarriage of Baby Grace was a nightmare…

Her powerful words of Palm Sundays being all they were meant to be ring holy. Do go read her post.

 

Snow and Falling

Sitting in my oratory, I finished the Salve Regina prayer. I then looked from the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe out the window at a gray winter’s morning. I felt heavy that morning, down, and I didn’t know why. Kissing the blue millefiori rosary in my hand, I returned it to the porcelain dish, and the beads chimed against its sides. I picked up the Liturgy of the Hours from the table and rested the book unopened on my lap next to the long-haired silver cat purring in her sleep.

Thoughts drifted, memories came and went, prayers and praise rose and fell. Somehow, conflicted in the solitude, I felt grateful and sad.

Again I looked out the window. The morning’s light had increased and I saw it was snowing. A delightful memory filled my heart…

I was seven again, lying on my back on the Flexible Flyer sled and wearing a one piece red-quilted snowsuit. It was early morning, very early. Snow had fallen through the night and when I woke the flakes were still coming down. In my excitement I’d hastily bundled-up, pajamas underneath, and in the pre-dawn light left the house without breakfast. No one would be at the hill and I could play freely.

Two blocks away was Martin Road Park and a sizeable hill for sledding. Up and down I went a dozen times or more, until I lay panting and happily spent beyond its skirt. Rolling over on the sled I faced the clouds and giggled as snowflakes landed on eyelashes, and cried with a love so deep there were no words. The only thing I could hear that morning was my heartbeat and breathing. Snow is quiet and it quieted a world that was, for me, hard and loud. At the age of seven I had experienced, for the first time, the sensation of peace.

Since that moment, snow has carried for me that memory of peacefulness. It quiets the world. It slows people down.

My focus returned to the oratory and fell upon my grandmother’s gold-tone crucifix. The snow outside continued and I wondered if manna had fallen the same way in the desert—if it lightly built up on stems and leaves and covered the ground. I wondered, too, at the conflicted People of God who praised and soon griped at that perfect gift grown tiresome.

And I see in myself how often I gripe about something that is ultimately for my good—forgiveness for example. Forgiveness, much like gathering up manna can be a chore, and tiresome in its repetition. But ultimately it brings what we need, and I know how grateful I am that forgiveness exists.

I stood and walked to the window and watched the snow coming down and make white all that seemed dead and dark. I felt again the peace the seven-year-old me knew, of gently falling grace.