The ideas that support your best moments can bring warmth and grace to even your most trying. St.Vincent Chaplain Ingrid Gaither wrote about that very point recently in a lovely article that was too inspiring not to pass on.
Sauntering through the bookstore last weekend, I was flipping through some books that were of interest to me. In one, I read a quote from Bede Griffiths, O.S.B. that caught my eye: “What can we do? We can become a sign. Whatever happens, become a sign of joy and a fountain of divine love.” It seemed strange to me that I reread that quote a second time.
During the drive home, I was reviewing some of my class notes. In one of the margins I had penned a note for myself as my professor was teaching us. It read, ”Jesus touched torn and tattered people with an awareness of their woundedness.” Why did that note jump off the page at me? The word “woundedness” seemed to speak to me.
Recalling the words of my parents, who encouraged us to listen to our hearts, brought a smile to my face. I thought of the many times that people in our ministry live that out each and every day with compassion. These servant people often have painful life events of their own. Yet their nonjudgmental minds, a willingness to sacrifice their own lives, a keen empathy, and a passionate spirit guide them daily. Most of all, they have a love for others that embraces humanity.
Little did I know that some of the above quotes would flood my mind this week when I least expected them to surface. We were awakened by an early morning phone call that a new grandson had been born. It was a sign of joy to us. My heart was thankful that all had gone well. It was going to be a good day!
A few hours later, I was paged for a trauma in the emergency room. Tragically, a little life had been taken. As staff members were caring for and grieving with that family, there was a sense of loss and emptiness for us as well. I was keenly aware that for this family, we became the fountain of divine love and that for a brief moment we were all standing together on holy ground.