Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Mother's foot steps

"Go, your child will live." John 4:50

I grew up as a PK - a preacher's kid. And as a priest and bishop, my children too, grew up as PKs. The life lived under the scrutiny of parishioners and towns people can be tough. Tough, especially when a child is in trouble or ill. It is often hard for clergy and their families to deal with trauma and vulnerability in such a public arena.

When I was 12, I was very sick, although at the time I had no idea how seriously. My parents and the school nurse had agreed to keep me in school while the diagnostic tests went on. There were many days when I would go to the nurse's office in pain and she would give me an aspirin and send me back to class. Other days she took pity on me and called my mother to pick me up. I would lie on the nurse's small cot and wait. It was then I began a habit of closing my eyes and listening for my mother's footsteps. It wasn't as hard as I thought for when I closed my eyes I could imagine her shoes and her steps around the house. My heart would lift when I heard her. Later on, when I was hospitalized for several weeks, the surgery complete and the prognosis good, I would lie in my hospital bed and listen for her steps. And they would come, clear and crisp on the linoleum, I would close my eyes and imagine her getting off the elevator, walking down the hallway and I would sit up as she came into the room. Her steps carried a healing and promise I never understood completely but knew to be true. As she was coming my rate of healing seemed to increase rapidly. With several other children at home, my mother had her hands full, but she never failed to visit me, talking softly and telling me stories to make me laugh. There is something in the constancy of love and relationship that fosters healing and renewal.

The Official who came to Jesus knew his son was about to die and begged Jesus to come to the boy. Instead, Jesus assured him that the boy would live and the man believed him. Before he had seen the healing, it was breaking forth in the love he had for his son. His constancy and faith was the vessel for his son's redemption. His fervent loved carried the healing with each of his footsteps as he traveled home. In his believing love, a father carried healing across the distance and time. For when there is love there are no boundaries or borders that can keep love out.

Today, I want to act as the promise of healing for my family and community. I want to employ my faith and constancy, trusting God to bring healing and restoration to all the people and situations that are crying out and at death's door. I want to run with love, like the official did, like my Mom, running home with ever increasing love, trusting Jesus with the healing. May we all have the courage today to Love's vessels of redemption and healing for others.

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