Thursday, January 20, 2011

Teaching Us How to Love

The phone rings and it's MaryAnn. She goes to our church and lives alone in our neighborhood. She and Kate talk for a few minutes. I hear snips of the conversation: "...fine... cheerful... Florida...". They hang up and I ask how she's doing. "Great. She's checking in before leaving for Florida to see Mike & Tina. They are taking her to a Miami Heat game."

When Mike and Tina are in town (they are snowbirds) we see them every week both in and outside of church. They recently sent us a Hogwarts Care Package from the amusement park in Orlando. Mike texts me the weather in Florida and I text him a picture of their home here in town. We both pray for their son-in-law who is battling metastatic cancer.

Last week it was Kathy calling. She wanted to say just that it was great to see Kate at Mass. With Maggie's immune system compromised, it took us a bit of time to work up the bravery necessary to take her to a church full of people. I told Maggie just to flash peace fingers at the Sign of Peace. I told her no hugging. She was delighted to find that almost no one felt the No Hugging Rule was important and hugged her anyway. Lots of hugging that morning. Kathy called to recognize how nice it was to see us all together. This is the same Kathy who never forgets to send a card at our anniversary or any of the kids' birthdays. Every year, God bless her.

These folks are all in their seventies. They cheerfully, prayerfully keep us close to them. They teach us how to love with small, consistent contacts. They don't put it off for a big glut of conversation at some yearly event. They don't wait to need us or for us to need them. They look at time differently. They don't let us go too long without them. I'm pretty sure they do the same with God.


MCHorton said...

That No Hugging Rule was really hard to observe, especially when Maggie flashed that beautiful smile of hers. I pray that she doesn't catch a bug from any of us huggers!

James said...

Not buying it, but plausible at first read. If she had been...

miserable: hugs
depressed: hugs
Bandaide on her face: hugs
singing off key: hugs

It's a huggy group. It has huggy leaders. You are one of these leaders. You even hug in Spanish.