Notes from Jan

“Small Gestures of Holiness”

September 29, 2015

While sipping my coffee this morning, a headline in the Boston Globe caught my attention.  It read, ”Before a Massive Crowd, Pontiff Hails the Small Gestures of Holiness.”
I read on, curious about “small gestures of holiness.”
What are they?
“A warm meal waiting at home, a hug after a hard day at work, or a blessing before bedtime…
They are the quiet things done by mothers and grandmothers, by fathers and grandfathers, by children.”

They come, also, through aunts, uncles, teachers, neighbors, friends and, sometimes, strangers.

My heart remains touched by the sight of so many seeking to see or touch the Pope.  By thousands eager for words of hope.  We are a people in need of “small gestures of holiness.”   Gestures we receive and, even more, ones we give.

This time of year, I’m especially reminded of so many doctors and nurses, nursing assistants, receptionists, and cleaning crews at MGH who, while doing their work, dispensed “small gestures of holiness” to Jud and to me.

Two weeks ago, a package arrived from Luke, Lily and Basil.  Tucked inside were drawings, cards and thank you letters.  Luke and Lily wrote to say thank you for LaVida Camp and time spent together this summer. Heather told me that Basil wanted to take part, possibly thinking it was my birthday.  He went to his mother and asked, “How old is Momo?”
“She’s 75.”
Basil then asked, “Can I have a $75.00 bill for Momo?
Heather explained that there is no such thing.

Basil’s request made sense to him and to me.  Since they were born, Jud and I have given each grandchild on his or her birthday the number of dollars to match their age. Heather said that Basil scooted to his bedroom and came out with a few dollars he’d tucked away from his last birthday.  He slipped them inside the card he’d made for me which said in words and deed, ”I love you, Momo.”

Thank you, dear grandson, for your holy gift.  It reminds me of the story Jesus told of the poor widow in Mark 12 who dropped two pennies into the collection box at the Temple. Jesus praised her generous act to his disciples saying,” She, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”.
You continue to teach me, dear Basil, and I am blessed by your “small gesture of holiness.”

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  • Reply Sue Andringa September 29, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    I love this, Jan, and I am so glad you are continuing to share your thoughts in this manner. Blessings on you, dear friend … I learn so much from you. 🙂

  • Reply jim abts September 30, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    what a beautiful site to share your words of wisdom and love for all to see!
    i guess i (very indirectly) had something to do with it… 😉 you are a constant inspiration to everyone!

  • Reply Dede Petre October 1, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Jan, I am so glad you are continuing to share your words with us. I will enjoy your posts more than you know. You are an inspiration to me.

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