Well, I was right about something I mentioned in my last post. The twin teenagers who sat in front of me at church were definitely blind. This week, I arrived before the daughters and their mother. I watched them approach the pew in front of me again. The girls’ white canes were instantly folded into a quarter of their size and tucked in with the hymn missals, before they even sat down. No wonder I didn’t see them. And when they walked to the front of the church later, I noticed they felt their way by touching each pew. No white cane within sight.
Last time, I didn’t know how to help the mother. Since she chose a pew near me, I decided to reach out to her. Give it a try. What really did I have to lose?
When she turned to shake hands for the “sign of the peace”, I said, ”Peace be with you. My name is Rita, by the way.”
“I’m Julianna, and my daughters are Martha and Maria.”
Both girls stood solemnly, looking downward. Eyes only partially open.
I motioned to the girls, indicating to Julianna somehow that I wanted to shake hands with them.
Julianna understood. She grabbed Martha’s arm . I gave her hand a squeeze and said, “Peace.”
I moved over in my pew a bit, reached out to Maria and did the same.
Words can’t describe the good feeling it gave me. Knowing they couldn’t see and maybe not even hear me, but the human connection was made through touch.
Near the end of the mass, I met the priest at the front of the church to receive communion for my parents. “Take out” hosts. When I walked down the aisle to leave church, Julianna and I made eye contact. She gave me a discreet wave at the level of her waist. Waving rapidly and smiling broadly. I don’t know who felt happier; me or Julianna.
I was glad I took a chance and reached out. It’s amazing how a few simple words can affect someone. Bonds were formed.
Yesterday Mother Teresa became a saint. I will always think of her as Mother Teresa and she’s been a saint forever in my mind. She had it right all these years. Her words never rang truer for me than after that one simple connection yesterday. Congratulations, St. Teresa!!