The Prayer Shawl

“Shawls … made for centuries universal and embracing,
symbolic of an inclusive, unconditionally loving, God.
They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace,
mother, hug, shelter and beautify.
Those who have received these shawls have been 
uplifted and affirmed, as if given wings to 
fly above their troubles…”

I had just settled into my chair at the dining room table when the doorbell rang.  Charlie got up to answer and I heard a brief welcome to the guest, and then… a familiar voice…  And it rolled through my memory banks…someone from church?  One of my hangout buddies?… a teacher friend?  Yeah that was it.  The person at the door was someone I knew from my years in the field of education. Give me just a second, says my mind.  You know this person. And then my brain got in the groove.  Thought processes were reconnecting around and past all those wires and probes which now exist among the brain matter. The “call” I have made to my brain is instantly  transferred to a classroom in the OLD Armand Larive building.  The students are in a special needs classroom and they are making cute and useful items that will be sold to make money for other classroom projects.  I hear the cheery yet soothing teacher’s voice, a voice you can sit and listen to for hours and never grow tired from life’s wisdom embedded in the stories she shares. She’s at my house, right now, standing at my door.  Its  her, that amazing teacher  who knew instinctively how to make learning real and functional.

I have seen this teacher many times in the years since we worked together in those classrooms at the OLD ALMS, the ancient walls almost falling in around us.  Our paths have crossed here and there, and although I have always enjoyed the crossings, there were too few and too short. (Note to self…change that!)

When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, I said to God “What am I supposed to do with this?”  God’s answer was simple enough.  “Do some good”.  Simple yes,  vague Yes. “What do you mean God?  What specifically do you want me to do?”
I am a person who deals better in concrete answers and solutions.  Yet, not having a direction I usually come up with something!
So without  a specific direction, I started raising money for Parkinson Disease Research…probably some of that  money is responsible for these wires in my head.  Raising the $$ was a good thing. RIding with Pedaling with Parkinsons helped me physically , and dollars raised in the sweltering heat of IOWA backroads in July of 2014 and 2015 has helped YMCAs set up programs for individuals and small groups using stationary bikes.

Along with doing “good”.  I realized I needed a support group.  So I started one and it is “good”.  

I took some journeys,  of mind, spirit, soul and body.  And I began writing about them.  These stories have been shared on FaceBook and in my blogs. Some lucky  people even have heard me read them out loud!

Its these stories now that seem to be doing the most “good”.   I expose my heart and soul, and now my brain, to the world so anyone who takes time to read the stories  may see the hope I have.  There is hope in the miseries of daily life, and in the pain and inconvenience of significant disease.  There is hope that we will move beyond the physical where we experience the discomfort of our human weakness and illness and into the spiritual where we move beyond pain into freedom and peace.

The teacher at the door now is making her way to the kitchen.  She has a bag for me.  In the bag is a beautiful crocheted prayer shawl.  She has made this… FOR ME!  and while her hands slowly  stitched, her lips spoke prayers for my well being and healing.  And in the course of her prayers for me, she also was healed. Isn’t that the way it goes…do something for someone else and you also experience the blessings? The shawl is warm and soft and comforting, and so very full of prayers and love.  So true to form for this teacher, who makes the practical into the most meaningful.

Thank you Andrea.
Thank you for the gift of the time and talent and prayers,
But also thanks for helping me know that I am doing my part as directed
“Do some good”.

Everybody.  Do some good.  That is your job for today!

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