Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Radiant Soul

You know how, when you meet a truly holy person, it's so wonderful it makes you want to cry?  (Okay, if you're a man, it may not, but if you're a woman, it does for sure.)  Well, I met one of those yesterday in the waiting room where I went for my annual mammography - which thank the Lord came out clear. 

She was waiting to have a sonogram, as her mammogram had shown some sort of anomaly.  (But her sonogram showed nothing to worry about.)  Somehow we struck up a conversation and she was telling me about her children.  The younger boy, 20 months, is a Down's Syndrome kid.  I started to say I was so sorry, but then checked myself, remembering that every Down's Syndrome person I've ever met has been a joy and a delight, lacking in guile, lacking in malice, lacking in so much of the poison the rest of us seem to absorb gradually from our environment.  She said it seemed to her the heavens had opened and God had reached down and given her this baby.  I said the very first person who ever introduced herself to me in my current parish and welcomed me was a teenager with Down's Syndrome.  She said she wasn't so delighted when the baby was first born, because she was so scared.  "You didn't know ahead of time?" I asked, and I asked it because I somehow felt so hungry to hear her say exactly what she did say:  "No, and it wouldn't have made any difference.  I don't believe in that sort of thing."   She went on:  "First the doctors told us our baby had Down's Syndrome.  Then they told us he had two holes in his heart, and all our thoughts about Down's went out the window.  Who cared about that?  All we cared about was, please let that baby live!" 

She talked about searching for a children's book that she could read to her then three-and-a-half year old boy, to help her explain to him about his baby brother.  "Finally we found one, and read it to him, and as we were trying to assure him that little Nicholas would still be able to play with him and walk and run, and would love him very much, that boy turned to me and said, 'Mom, it's all part of the plan!'"

Of course it was the acceptance in that statement that made it so beautiful.  We agreed it must be a deviation from God's plan because God isn't like that, to plan such things.  But in another sense, in the sense that God knew about this from before any of us was born and allowed it to happen, in that sense, it could be called His plan.  At least He incorporated it into His plan.

A third young woman in the room had by now joined the conversation.  Her mammogram had been abnormal and she was waiting for a repeat test.  She said she wasn't too worried about it, "because I've had this before, and it wasn't cancer.  It was pre-cancerous and they just took it out."

So the young mother said, "I'll keep you in my prayers.  What is your name?"  So we all introduced ourselves, and all promised to pray for one another.  Her name is Tracy and the other woman is Anne. 

Somehow the two of them began talking of their ages.  Tracy said, "I'm about to turn 37.  And sometimes when I look in the mirror, I don't know who that is looking back at me!"

"I'll tell you who it is," I said.  "It's a radiantly beautiful woman, whose beauty proceeds from the heart!"

We'd all begun to sniffle some time before this, but then Tracy burst into tears and I bawled and Anne blinked hard.  And beautiful Tracy jump-started my stalled, empty soul.

She doesn't know it, but her sheer goodness and her prayers will affect not only me, but all the people I am going to have to deal with in the next few days, people toward whom I was feeling very short-tempered, but now it's okay.  Everything is okay.  Everything is much, much more than just okay.

Kyrie, eleison!   


elizabeth said...

how wonderful! Glory to God!

Matushka Anna said...

I do know what you mean about a radiant soul. And I wish I had one.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Me, too, Matushka. The question I face daily, though, is, am I willing to do what it takes to acquire one?