Looking for Halos
Affirmations: I see the holiness of people when I pay close attention to their loving spirits.
It is said Saint Francis of Assisi taught, “Preach the gospel at all times and when needed use worlds.” I am fond of this quote. It means I don’t have to go around evangelizing the world, or at least my world, in order to promote my faith. It relieves me of any anxiety I might feel because I am not a preacher and I’m not someone who likes to push their ideas on others, or am I? Is it simply a matter of what I feel is safe? Certainly, if I found the greatest shoe store ever or the best place online to order cute clothes, I’d share that without hesitation. But, sharing my faith seems so different. What’s the saying about never discussing religion or politics?
At the Ignited by Truth Catholic Conference this April, Scott Hahn talked about St. Francis’ teaching but he took it one step further. He asked the two-thousand people attending, “How many people have you met who are so holy, their lives exemplify their faith.” How holy is my life? Is it so holy that when people see me or interact with me, they are thinking, “Wow, I need to go check out Jean’s belief system.”?
I’ve inventoried my life and made a list of all those things I do to build my faith and to contribute to society. I think it looks pretty good. I’m not comparing it to anyone else’s accomplishments for that is always a fatalistic exercise. I’m simply saying that for a someone with my background and imperfections, I’ve made and continue to make a concerted effort to make the world, mine and the world in general, a better place. As I compiled my list I wondered if God would be pleased?
My deceased friend and healer, Valerie Kelly, could see auras and the chakra colors. When I walked in for a massage session with her, she immediately knew how I was feeling. I never questioned whether she had that gift or not because she always gave me such comfort with her care. I felt healed when I left her presence and part of that was when she would tell me one of my chakras, especially my heart chakra had opened and was an inviting green color. Sometime, she would stand at the end of the table and be quiet for a minute and then say, “Good! Your energy is flowing evenly and freely from your toes up through the crown of your head.” I always left there feeling like I was glowing. It was such a gracious and glorious gift.
I can’t see auras and I can’t see chakra colors. I don’t see energy flowing through people bodies but lately, I think I can see halos. In fact, this weekend, I saw halos everywhere. I saw people who were so holy, they didn’t need to preach. I have no idea what religious traditions they follow but they dedicate their lives to the betterment of society and I was in awe. I spent the weekend at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor events. On Friday there were a series of lectures and informal presentations from the scientists, physicians, staff and patients associated with the program. On Sunday the Angels Among Us Walk was held. It was it’s 20th year and there were 5000+ people present and they raises $2,015,000 for brain tumor research. Both my father, Frank Grolimund and Sandy’s father, Joseph Costa died from glioblastomas. We are very invested in the eradication of brain cancer if not all cancer.
The dedication and commitment of the people I listened to and met with is phenomenal. The brain tumor center at Duke is the premier center in the world. This is where Senator Ted Kennedy came to be treated. He’s not the only well know person. It is not uncommon for the influential and well-to-do to eventually arrive at the door of the Tisch Brain Tumor Center. The research alone is enough to give one hope. Recently, they have begun successfully injecting the polio virus with unparalleled success into qualified tumors. I could see a few halos as theses dedicated Duke people shared the miracles they’ve seen. The brightest halos however, were the ones hanging over some of the patients and their caregivers.
They shared stories of walks taken, bake sales given, basketball games played, and bike rides across the state or even the country. They shared stories of reaching out to others even when they were in the depths of personal crises. They were husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers. They were neighbors and fellow parishioners. They were friends and they were community. They had faced death in an upfront and very personal way and many had emerged with the strength and courage of an angel. One of my favorite stories was told by Tony McEachern. He’s been battling brain cancer for almost ten years, a rare length of success. He has begun the Team Tony Foundation. He is a “lifelong jock” and now he has re-channeled his energy to focus on reaching out to other cancer patients. Tony teases that the only place he isn’t asked about his bad hair-do is at the brain tumor clinic. He has many challenges as a result of his struggle but like so many I met this weekend, he is more concerned with bringing comfort and strength to others than he is with his own struggle. I am sure I could see his halo.
You don’t have to go to the Angels Among Us event to see halos. I’ve decided they are everywhere. There are so many amazing people who shine brightly because of their caring, generous, loving spirits. I think the reason I haven’t seen many halos before now is because I wasn’t looking closely enough. There are so many, thank God, who never need to use words. Yes, preaching the bible can be a powerful exercise but I think St. Francis was righ-on when he encouraged us to lead by example, regardless of our religious preferences. We can be be the light of God in this world if we choose to focus on others with a loving heart and maybe even form our own personal halos.