Sunday, January 5, 2014
the trail of the holy snail...
Is it only by living long enough and looking over our shoulder that we see it?That silver and gold thread that reminds me of the mucous trail left by a snail which tells where he's been.I hope the Spirit doesn't mind the reference but that visual came to me in church this morning as I have been struggling with a story that must be told.Of a grace filled woman who is my friend.
We met over the phone in 2007 ,when my husband and I were running a retreat house on a salt marsh off the coast of South Carolina.She called the house to speak to one of the Dominican sisters who opened the house 12 years before.They had retired and we stepped in.Sylvia had been raised in England with no religious upbringing but had been doing sitting meditation for ten years.The sisters had given a retreat and she had questions for them after her attendance.Through the slender wire and for 2 hours, she and I were enveloped by grace.
Weeks later she came to the house with some friends for a teaching and I was struck by her poise and beauty.A stunning ,tall blond woman my age who glittered.
Her first step out the door ten years before, to sit in silence on a gym floor, was the first "yes." In the stillness and emptiness of her soul,Christ, gently, with great love, entered.
In our many conversations,Sylvia mentioned that the writings she was most drawn to were Catholic.It seemed natural to suggest that she consider entering the church.This thought scared her in the beginning but soon the trail led to a wonderful priest and the next Easter,she and her husband were baptized.They became active members and now have a community of people who love them.Grace is shining yellow and leads the way.
The brightness of her soul has always amazed me and with gratitude I tell of this:when my sister was dying in 2005,Sylvia "took her" into one of her meditation sessions.This in her prayer room on Folly Beach,S.C..After,she called me to say that I ought have someone say the Divine Mercy prayers by my sister's bedside.I called my dear niece who agreed to do this after I mailed her the format.In my place ,she sat and prayed with her Mother. I cannot tell you of the extraordinary comfort that whole unfolding gave me.The web of grace from South Carolina,to Georgia to Connecticut.
Last December ,Sylvia's husband and the love of her life ,was diagnosed with metastasized renal cancer in his neck and lower spine.Theirs has been a year struggle with radiation/chemo therapy and finding the right mix of pain medication.And yet,......and yet, her Christmas letter was the shining one,the one which warmed my heart.
I want to just grab some words and phrases from it to give you the flavor...."Gary amazes me with his fortitude and resilience...Callie the cat is my delight...our dogs stay by his side,always....we are most grateful for family,neighbors and our church family...and e-mail buddies who keep us connected...and I realize the wisdom of "one day at a time".....which has become my second mantra after,Maranatha.
It has been a while since I encountered "maranatha " so I looked it up and, with chills on my arms and back, I read"Our Lord has Come".