Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Mary's Prayer Book

Eight years later, I still miss my friend Mary. She chaired my parish discernment team, was the first to tell me I should be a priest, and promised to go with me when I interviewed at my seminary. Mary died unexpectedly 6 weeks before that happened.

Perhaps I think of Mary in part because the discernment team I've chaired these past months concluded its work last week. I will miss the gatherings; such bold honesty shone through them. I hope I was as gracious as Mary was for my team.

Mary's husband gave me her prayer book. She had written her name on the inside cover in sharp, black ink. Mary was a school teacher with that distinctive ability to write perfectly formed words in cursive. I used her prayer book when I preached at her funeral. I am drawn to it, even though we own...well, let's just say several others.

Mary has a way of making an appearance at times when I wish I could talk with her. Sometimes it's a shudder of wind, or one of God's creatures running through the grass that remind me of her. Her relentlessly positive attitude greatly influenced others to look at a situation from a better angle.

These past two weeks have brought news of people I care about who are toppled by serious personal crisis. I spend hours in prayer on their behalf. I pray I will be helpful when I sit with them. But with so many at one time, anxiety over missing something or not listening well bats its wings over my sleep.

I know that I am allowed a few slips; we're imperfect humans. Mary would tell me this in a way so real that thick clouds seemed to part in the sky, illuminating such extravagant light! I hope that her wonderful spirit shows up soon.


Blogger Publish and Parish said...

**insert contented sigh here** Just to read this entry is to pray and be nourished. May the pages of Mary’s prayer book bring you comfort and respite. Many prayers for you as you shepherd God’s sheep.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Lori said...

This is beautifully written, Raisin. Thank you for sharing your remembrances of Mary with us. I feel like I know her a little now, too.

1:29 PM  

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