I spent an hour or so today with a woman in her 90's who had a mastectomy on Monday and is already home and fine.
We talked about how she was 'fine' and her knitting and birds and cats and my daughter's rescuing a parakeet on the streets of Manhattan, and wild birds and then her daughter, who is older than me, came by to check on us and we talked about cancer and the new ownership of the market in the little town where they live and about the churches of the Cluster and priests old and new and the fact that her great-great-granddaughter, age 2, was coming to visit this weekend.
Well, I just don't know how people who have big important things cope with it all. And I know how wondrously privileged I am to be able to talk about little things with sweet and wonderful and normal people.
Being a priest, I once told someone, was 'walking around and talking and listening a lot'. Not a bad job description now that I ponder it.
So, I get to share 'the most important little things' with people and have for 37 years now. We talk about cancer and fear and the cardinal in the bird feeder outside her window and cow birds and her knitting (which to me is on the level of nuclear physics and brain surgery--but is a little thing to her) and about how her cat named 'Peanut Butter' was interested in me this time rather than running to the bedroom and hiding and how rare days in June can truly be.
What I've learned over all those years talking to thousands of people about little things is how important it is to talk about little things and honor them and find wonder and miracle in them and just sit and talk or sit and not talk with unique, but very ordinary people.
I gave her communion and anointed her and prayed with her and drove home wondering what to have for lunch and pondering how humbled and honored I am to spend my life talking about those most important little things with people who fill my heart with joy and teach me how truly marvelous human beings are.
Not a bad way to spend a late morning altogether....
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