One of the true benefits of being a priest is being invited to take part in the significant events in a person's life, not matter at what point or in what circumstances.
I have been present at the side of a person's death bed, counting out and measuring each breath with them as they prepare to depart one life for the next. I have seen a baby born, taking her first breath and opening her eyes for the first time even before she was out of her mother. I have held the hand of gunshot victims in the ER, and wept with people over their own or another's pain...and I have celebrated their healing and return to wholeness, be that to good health or simply to survival.
That is why I do what I do...am what I am. Popeye could not have said it better!
Just when I was riding a wave of stress I almost couldn't bear, along comes Phoenix. Phoenix Logan is going to have surgery to implant cochlear listening mechanisms to give him back some ability to hear what is going on in his world. He is profoundly deaf even before he is three years old, and he is full of grace...and being a toddler.
We had a healing liturgy for him today. And it was a healing moment for me, as well. I had a frission of grace when, as I took out the oil stock and went to anoint him...he joined me. Showing him my slicked up thumb, fragrant with healing oil, he reached out his own finger, touched me and then followed my lead (when I took my thumb to my own forehead) and anointed himself. My anointing and prayers only confirmed what he had done.
He reminded me that sometimes I get to proclaim God's healing power...and other times I get to affirm it when someone else beats me to the punch and claims it for themselves.
That is true Grace.
And then he went out and walked the balance beam and took a few turns on the slide.