[Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, California]
Back in the day, when I taught in greater-Boston homeless shelters and drove a lot, it sometimes seemed as though Spirit manifested Itself through NPR (WGBH, in particular). Heavy-hearted after a particularly grueling or heart-wrenching session with a troubled student, I’d get in my car, turn on the radio, and lo: one of my favorite pieces of music was being played—and at just my favorite part! Although I knew Spirit didn’t actually work this way, this “personalized programming” happened so often that I allowed myself to take comfort from this gratuitous, wondrous gift.
Last Tuesday: same thing! Only this time it was the New York Times website that offered me just what I longed for at exactly the moment I needed it. I’d just come home after visiting Neville Center, a highly respected long term care facility (what we used to call “a nursing home.”) And, yes, although I liked what I saw and, yes, I could imagine My Loved One** staying there and receiving excellent care, my visit triggered a panoply of emotions—some of which I still cannot name, identify.
Idly I sat at my computer and clicked on Safari/the Times website— just as the word “Live” flashed on the screen and, it turned out, just as President Obama marched towards the podium to give his gun-control speech. Oh, Reader, how I needed to hear that impassioned speech! Our insane gun laws tearing me apart, how I needed to see Obama weep over the lost lives of those children at Sandy Hook. I cried, too.
Until last week I would have declared myself way too old and way too contrary to need an elected official mouthing what I long to hear. That I’d feel I was being played should any politician sing my song. Not true any more, apparently. Apparently the horrific and mean-spirited right-wing rhetoric of these past few months has taken such a toll that Obama’s reasoned speech—well, it gave me hope. And lifted my spirits. On a day when I really, really needed it!
This week, renewed and grateful, I wait to see how Spirit will continue to break through as I shepherd My Loved One’s transition to Neville Center. And lo: it’s already happened in the form of a wise and patient social worker who helped me fill out a “Do Not Resuscitate” Form. (Yikes)
Thank you, Spirit, for all your blessings.
* The first as in crying; the second, the verb meaning to break apart (and rhymes with stairs), as in to tear a piece of paper in half.
** I’m being discreet, here, because a) it seems respectful and b) recently had a nasty phising incident so am reluctant to put much personal info online.