always answered and is supported by God in amazing ways that I cannot even
tells the story of his mother’s life.
The story revolves around her battle with Pancreatic cancer and their
journey through her treatment and as you can figure out from the title, her
death. They are a two person book club
with either the advantage or disadvantage depending upon your view, of not
having to provide food for the attendees.
There is a long list of books they read and discuss over the two year
period of her treatment. It appears they
have always been a two person book club but didn’t “officially”
establish it until they were sharing her final challenge. It’s cleverly written in that with each book
read, he not only writes about the book but about his mother’s life. I’ve made a list of each of the books with
the intention of reading some of the ones they shared. Some of them I’ve
already read. I already know, however,
that I’ll be skipping some of his recommendations. They are way too disturbing for my
taste. Just listening to the struggles
of the protagonists on their reading list was enough to remind me of how cruel
the world and fate can be. He is a
publisher at the beginning of the book.
His mother is an activist and a heroine.
She’s in her seventies at the time of her diagnosis and has been a
“first” for women in many fields and areas. For example, she was the
founding director of the Women’s Refugee Commission.
women and children refugees all over the world and she’d traveled to many of
those areas. You can Google her or read the book if you’d like more
information. Her final project was to
build a library in Afghanistan and she wasn’t going to die until that was
accomplished. It was built. I guess she was a lot like Angelina Jolie,
just not a famous celebrity. I also have
the impression she didn’t have the protection, guidance or ease of travel given
to a famous movie star. She was in the
trenches with those who most needed help.
Mary Anne Schwalbe was a courageous and compassionate woman. Her whole life regardless of the danger of
difficulty, revolved around being of service to others.
I live a blessed life of comfort and the older I get the more I seem to
gravitate towards being comfortable.
That includes an element of safety.
I have not traveled to “dangerous” places, at least as far as
I believe. I know sometimes going around
the block can sometimes be dangerous. I
have, however, been working at seeing the broader, worldwide picture of those
in need. I know there are people
suffering in ways I cannot even imagine and don’t want to imagine. My husband, Sandy and I sponsor several
children in different programs around the world. We’ve always contributed to
our church’s appeals and those of nations who suffered natural disasters and we
make every effort to reach out whenever we are directly faced with a need we
Archangel, has a sister parish in Honduras and we support that and more
recently we reached out to a charity in Tanzania presented to us by St. Bernadette
Church in Linville, NC. We’ve also
supported Oie Ostercamp’s Share Fish organization which does work with the poor
in Honduras. Last year, after I read Fr. Albert Haas’ Catching Fire,
Becoming Flame in order to do something more, I added praying the Rosary
for those “most in need of God’s mercy.” It allowed me to stay safely in my comfort
zone and yet to become more sensitive and aware of the world’s plight. I’m sharing these examples to illustrate
that I’ve really tried to be more “world conscious.” I try to stay informed but not overly
concerned because I feel I only have so much energy and some days just caring
for myself and my family is all I feel I can do. Let’s face it, the world is a very big place
and here I sit, one of billions of beings.
What kind of a difference can I make? Yet, when I read about people like
Mary Anne Schwalbe, I wonder what more can I do? What else can I add to my efforts that might
bring comfort, peace, hope and even joy to those suffering on this planet?
Prayers God Always Says Yes To. One
of the first prayers he offers is, “Please use me to help someone in
need.” I hesitated. My initial reaction was to back away. I fully recognized this was a prayer God
would not deny but what would be required of me in order to follow Her
will? Would I be asked to travel to a
third world country undergoing revolution or that had just experienced a
devastating weather event? Would I be
asked to give up all I now have, like the young man in the New Testament and
follow God to poverty and perhaps martyrdom?
Perhaps even worse would be if more and more was added to my already
full plate and in an effort to do be of greater service to the world, I became
neglectful of where my true service lies, my family and my community. I could immediately see all the pitfalls of
such a prayer and yet, I felt ready to step out in faith. I said the prayer. I’ve been saying it now for several weeks and
as I’ve journaled I found myself relaxing in the prayer, relaxing in my belief
that if I’m called to do God’s work, to be of more service to those in need,
that God will provide the support to do just that. I am stepping out in faith. I believe that through prayer not only will I
be of greater service but that I will be given the discernment to know which
requests are from God and which are of my ego.
Deep breaths, quiet time and prayers from the depth of my heart will
lead me where I am most needed. Yes, it
could be to some third world country. I
trust God will come with me there too.
It could also be to a place I haven’t yet examined, a place within,
which takes me to a marvelous place not so far from where I am now but enables
me to see it in a different light, a light of service right here and right
willing to step out in faith? Go ahead,
say it, “God, please use me to help someone in need.” I hope you’ll let me know what you discover.