A few years ago I was blessed to be able to go with a group to Italy on an Ignatian retreat. It was an amazing trip except for one thing. It included lots of walking, lots of climbing (Rome and its hills), and it was the summer before my knee replacement surgery. The only way that I could navigate and even attempt to keep up with the group was to use my trusty “Hurry-Cane”.
I had a love/hate relationship with that cane. While I couldn’t have made it without that piece of curved metal, it made me feel old and vulnerable; it’s mere presence seemed to shout out that there was something wrong with me and that, well, that I needed a cane. Fast forward to our departure at the Rome airport. Crowded, crazy, standing in endless long lines, confusion (trying to communicate in a foreign language), when suddenly an attendant motions and begins yelling at me to come forward, all the while pointing at my cane. Because of this cane the woman plucked me out of the long security line and moved me into a queue reserved for “special” travelers. Because of this cane I was moved to the head of the line. In the midst of it all, and despite—because of the cane, I was chosen for special treatment. I was blessed; blessed in the midst of that dratted cane!
Today’s Gospel (Matthew 5) reminds us that we are blessed—that because of our status as God’s chosen, God’s beloved, we are blessed in the midst of every circumstance.That those things that can feel so heavy, so painful, so unbearable, always have a flip side, always offer an element of grace.
Back to my story, of course I still had to use the cane, still experienced the physical pain that necessitated the use of that cane,yet,while nothing changed, now everything was different. Blessed.
How might have you recently experienced “blessing”, been chosen to move to the head of the line of God’s blessing, love and tender care, even in the hard places of life?