The Gift of Joe, Rosemary Boyle Petters

I was in a rage—a parental rage.

The shaky bridge between one of my teenage children and me had
been mended back together again, amid tears and hugs and mutual

And now, just this morning, the bridge had crashed, exploding into a
Million pieces, having been built on air, the air of a new lie.

That was it!  I was finished!  Why even listen?  Why care?  I couldn’t
do it anymore!  How could I when the ground crumbled
off the edge of the world
when I walked on it?

From the kitchen I saw Joe’s car coming down the driveway.
Storming out the door to meet him, I suppose I showered him with
      the venom of my new abnegation of motherhood.

I remember the way he opened the car trunk, carefully folded back
the protective cloths, and there, shining out like the sun, was that most
exquisite madonna!

I was shattered by its beauty, melted, overcome, sobbing.

I remember the lovely autumn breeze that sent more yellow-tissue
drifting down around us from the trees above.

I remember Joe, just standing there.  Knowing.

And I, like a crazy lost cat falling from the sky, landed—right side up—
      back on the earth.

Reprinted with the permission of the Liturgical Press, the Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota, from Divine Favor: The Art of Joseph O’Connell. Editor, Colman O’Connell. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, c1999.  CSB, SJU and SJP Libraries Oversize N 6537.O265 D58 1999.