Just before Christmas of 1996, I fell and crushed my elbow while trying to buy a Christmas tree. I was in a cast for three weeks before and three weeks after the surgery to remove the crushed bone. For some reason, either from the pain medication that I was given at the hospital or just from a chemical reaction caused by the break, I was in a terrible depression for the whole first three weeks. It wasn't that I was depressed about anything, because I wasn't. I just could not imagine ever being happy again or bear the intolerable weight of being alive.
One of the few things that helped was sitting outside and saying the rosary. I couldn't do it for long, because it was very cold outside. So, one day my husband drove me to our church down the street where there was an adoration chapel.
When I got there, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. Then, I saw that my friend Mary Ann was there praying. After her friendly, smiling face, the first thing you noticed about Mary Ann was that the joints in her hands were very swollen and twisted from something, arthritis I guess. As I walked into the chapel, my sweater fell off my shoulder and she got up and put the sweater back over my shoulder and buttoned it with those poor hands. I don't think that I can remember another time in my life when I felt so much like God was showing me His love through another person.
And the thing is that I'm sure that Mary Ann never knew how much this meant to me, and I'm also sure that she did many, many other little things for other people that touched them in ways that she never knew about. And I'm also pretty sure that all of us through some impulse of grace have helped others in ways that we will never know about, and that is one of the things that is so incredibly wonderful about the Body of Christ.
I haven't seen Mary Ann much since we moved to Mississippi, and Sunday a friend posted a link to her obituary on Facebook. She had died on Tuesday, August 9, at home with her family. I'm sure that they and all her friends will miss her very much.
May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.