Friday, July 8, 2011

Surprised by a Gift

A poet writes about her moving to the country and the gift she received in the process. A number of these returning-to-the-soil articles have appeared in the Catholic Kyeongyang magazine lately, demonstrating a growing nostalgia for things of the earth and for its basic life-nurturing qualities. Our poet moved to the country to tend wildflowers and to plant and care for an herb garden which will supply her with teas throughout the year, and to have more time for quiet reflection.

She made the move with some apprehension, not quite sure whether it was an act of bravery or foolishness. She did not dislike city life, nor was she enamored philosophically with life in the country and living close to nature. Her reason for the move: her life was just too fast. Thoughtlessly accepting life was suffocating, she said, and she wanted a change.

Her two boys were now adults and did not need her care anymore. Feeling free to leave behind family responsibilities and the city for a life close to nature, she was guided by the words of St. Matthew that the lilies of the field do not work or spin and yet even Solomon in all his splendor was not arrayed like one of them.

"Mother, today I have begun the course in the catechumenate to be baptized. I will be looking forward to your help." This was the first telephone call she received last year.  She never had a daughter and the caller, a friend of her second son, was to grow closer to her than her own son. In the beginning, she had misgivings on the kind of girl her son would meet, for all he knew from the time he was in grammar school was sports, and now he was in a soccer training camp. But from her first meeting with the girl, at her home in the country, all her fears disappeared.

Since the son was living in a dormitory, when  he had some time off, the girl would come down from the city, and both would meet at his mother's house. The mother  had arranged with the girl's family to have her stay with her when her son could leave camp and be with them in the country.

The girl was baptized last year on the Feast of the Assumption, and now goes to the country to help the mother during weekends; this was the gift the mother feels she has been given. They both work in the garden and go to Mass together on Sundays. The mother wonders now if  returning this gift back to God is not her task along with the gardening. Whether it is the life of living close to nature or the life of raising a family, she has no doubts that God looks upon both with favor.

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