It had been my intention to follow the last post on Pesky Serpents with more lighthearted piffle on shoes, squirrels, smoke detectors and sprinkler systems, but frankly the state of the world seems even more serious and sad than usual, and continued piffle felt a bit Marie Antoinette-ish – that is to say, inappropriate.
In any case, it’s easy to turn serious into a sermon or heartfelt into maudlin. None of my opinions are going to make an ounce of difference anywhere anyway; I have no solutions, so I stayed silent.
Besides I have always understood exactly what Elizabeth Bennett meant when she informed Mr. Darcy that “We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the éclat of a proverb.”
But really, even when there is no éclat going around, the point of a blog is not to be silent. After some pondering I thought maybe I could muster up something on hope or love. If I were really lucky, I would even be able to throw in a bit of humor to keep it from being too sticky. So here goes:
Last Saturday The Hunter and I drove 100 miles or so to Quincy (alternately in crazy death-defying swooping-in-and-out traffic or in the stand-still parking lot that goes by the name of Route 128) to attend the baptism of two little boys who had been born at a crisis pregnancy center. We were invited to the baptism by my dear friend Mother Olga of the Sacred Heart, an Iraqi-born nun who has founded, at Cardinal Séan’s request, a new order of nuns, the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth, in the Archdiocese of Boston.
I was happy to join Mother Olga last Saturday for a lot of reasons, but a big one was that when her invitation arrived, I was in the midst of planning a baby shower for my own daughter-in-law. All I can figure is that those pregnancy hormones that pump out unselfish love are in the air and must have got me a bit about the edges, because most of the time I am not nearly so altruistic and unselfish if Route 128 is involved.
Mother Olga and her nuns serve at the Friends of the Unborn and because of the sisters’ caring and compassionate witness, two of the young mothers asked to have their babies baptized. Mother Olga wanted the celebration to be extra special, so she invited all her friends (who couldn’t help but bring food and gifts), arranged for a professional photographer, gave both of the mothers wrist corsages, and reserved the church hall for a meal afterwards.
How much hope and love is contained in that scenario! And what a contrast to the week’s news. There is the obvious: the babies were born, affirming the goodness of life, and strangers were happy to be there to welcome them and to bring them gifts.
And there is the not so obvious: Mother Olga is from Iraq; she has experienced war and its suffering first-hand; she knows that life can be very hard – yet she exudes love and hope. She knows that hate, intolerance, injustice can be conquered with love, one person at a time. She lives this; it’s obvious just to look at her, and she is passing this way of life on to her “daughters” in the convent as they go out to offer help, hope and love to whomever they encounter – whether it’s in a crisis pregnancy center, a food pantry, a prison, on the streets, or even just in a checkout line at the grocery store. Even more hope can be found in the fact that Mother has no shortage of inquiries to join her dynamic new order.
I say all this because it seems to me that unselfish love (and its companion – hope) shouldn’t ever just be confined to the convent or to pregnant mothers. We all need to show it. Especially now.