Friday, May 18, 2018


Catholic Rosary

Buddhist Mala

They say many artists recycle the same theme(s) throughout their body of work. The creative process allows the artist to wrestle with whatever subject(s) they find most compelling, perplexing, illusive.
If the title of "artist" is given to those that create, then writers are artists that shape concepts and quandaries, and try and make meaning - at least for themselves.

One concept I continue to turn over and over, is what is universal? What ties us together? The word catholic means all-embracing, wide, broad-based, eclectic, diverse.

At mass we pray the Nicene Creed. "We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church." We believe in that, a church that is all-embracing, wide, broad-based, eclectic and diverse.

In January, my dear friend, Ruth, and my sister-in-law, Sonam, both lost their beloved fathers, one day apart. In March, I was able to gather with both of them, as they shared their experiences. Ruth's dad, Larry was 90. He had eight children, and so many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I've lost count. A devout Catholic his whole life, a quiet man of faith and service to others. His wife Virginia had died five years before, and as he lay in his Hospice bed in their master bedroom, it was obvious to the 30-plus loved ones holding vigil, that he was catching glimpses of Virginia from the other side, and was peaceful and joyful to reunite. During the last few hours of his life, while in a coma, twice his eyes flew open, with his arms outstretched, a smile on his face. Virginia.

The last words he uttered were, "I am not worthy." Part of the Catholic mass, right before communion, we say, "Lord, I am not worthy to enter under your roof, but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed." Then, he entered under his Lord's roof.

Sonam's dad was living with his wife, and his wife's mother and brother, in a Tibetan refugee camp in India. He went outside and sat in his favorite chair, and was doing his nightly prayers, using his Tibetan mala. Only when he became too still, did his wife realize he had passed, quietly, peacefully, prayerfully.

These two men from opposites sides of the world, completely different backgrounds and experiences, shared that which is universal.

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