Sometimes I pray that Fr Joseph is healed miraculously. Sometimes I pray that God takes him easy. But mostly I pray that God's will be done.
This week I was cruising about my typical day checking off my list of things to do and feeling good.I got a text from my sister Margaret saying Fr Joseph's lip is infected and that she emailed me a picture.
That picture took my breath away. I had no words. Just pain. Pain for him. Pain for my siblings being so close. Pain for me being so far away. Pain for my parents struggling to understand.
And so I gathered the kids around and we prayed. We prayed the rosary for healing. We prayed the rosary for a miracle.
But when I looked back over my texts with my friend tonight I realized- he already is a miracle.
My mom suspects she had placenta previa when she delivered him. He was born so black because oxygen was denied to him for a long period of her labor because of the previa. He also was born with a hole in his heart, a mitral valve prolapse, the doctors called it.
When he was a young boy he was awful in school- misbehaved, was lazy, procrastinating at every turn. He would forget his homework, forget his books, push things off until the last minute- that actually followed him through seminary as well- but I didn't tell you;-)
As a teen one night he snuck out and rode his bike on all surface streets from our house in northeast atlanta to the airport south of Atlanta. He carefully mapped out his route and waited for the perfect moment to make his move. He did it, just because.
He taught me to ride a bike. I'm not exactly sure of how things went but it might have been like this...
After dinner Dad brings up that everyone should check their bike tires and he could pump the flat ones up to spec. Everyone says his or hers bike is fine or not. Joe looks to me "how's your bike?" My eyes get big- " I don't have a bike! Remember how I left the tricycle in the yard when the bus came last year and the garbage man picked it up?""Not a tricycle, a bike. You are in first grade- you should ride a bike."
"I don't know how"
And then he took it upon himself to teach this 7 year old how to ride.
When we played basketball he was always quite awful. Until he learned physics. Then he nerded his way to a "new form". He would actually use this mantra when he'd shoot the ball. He'd get the ball, leap up into the air with his short beige shorts and his neon white long legs, cock his arm, and chant "new form" and what followed was usually more often than not a "swish".
When he was training as a rescue swimmer in the navy he used to get on the high board at the pool and tie himself up and jump in like he was Houdini. He'd surface and be calmly and slowly undoing the ropes.
When he'd visit me at lunch in elementary school he'd gain friends with the boys in my class by swallowing orange segments whole and balancing a cafeteria chair on his chin. Also doing magic tricks with crayons. His best trick was shoving it up his nose and pulling it out of his neck. This reminds me of a time he won $20 at a bar. He took his dog tags chain and put one end up his nose while he held onto the other end. He then coughed up the nose end and proceeded to "floss" his nasopharyngeal space.
See what I mean? A miracle. A walking, talking, miracle. And I had the pleasure of growing up as this miracle's little sister.So while I pray for a miracle, I also pray in thanksgiving for the miracle that exists already.