My nephew, Patrick, is special. Sometimes we say Patrick has special needs. I think it is more accurate to say Patrick is just plain special.
His mom, my sister, passed away recently, you may remember. Last week we had a final memorial service where I invited our family members, to bless the small crypt where her remains were laid to rest. Each person, taking holy water was invited bless the space and to share a memory or offer a silent prayer of gratitude for the gift of Mary in their lives. Everyone did share beautiful thoughts of gratitude or treasured memories. I had asked Patrick to hold the pewter bowl containing the holy water that everyone dipped their hand in and made the sign of the cross on the glass of her final resting place. When everyone had done so, I took the bowl from Patrick, and without any direction, he the dipped his hand into the bowl and walked to the columbaria. He dropped to his knees, blessed the space with the holy water, then placed both of his hands on the glass and began to talk to his mom. He told her how much he missed her and loved her. He said, “We were a great team. You helped me with so many things. I don’t know how I am going to do everything without you. But I am 21 years old and I am going to try my best.” His heartfelt expression was true, sincere and touching. Those of us who witnessed it knew we were being blessed with his unaffected soulful expression of how many of us feel when faced with our toughest moments.
What I learned from Patrick’s childlike goodness and nature is:
Think less. Love more.
Speak from your heart.
Lead with gratitude.
Do your best even if what you face seems daunting.
And remember what a great team we are together.