Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Christmas Miracle

As some of you may know, my mother died last January and I've been griefwalking through the emotional events of a year. Now that Christmas is coming, I decided that I wanted to find her collection of creches in order to give one to my son.

(Not mine, but similar)

My mother collected nativity scenes and I had given her several from my various travels. The one I had in mind was from Italy, a sort of elegant Baroque piece. I thought it was in the garage area where I had stored her things, waiting to sort them when I had the emotional wherewithal.

A friend came with me, to lend support because I was a bit overwhelmed with a flood of renewed grief as I encountered so many of her things that I just hadn't been able to deal with, including boxes and boxes of her paintings and many family photos.

We soon located a box labled "Nativities" but there weren't any creches in it. Another box turned up with the same label, but again it was void of creches. Over the next several hours, we went through every box, and then every box again. The nativities weren't there.

Hot, tired and feeling waves of sorrow, I told my good Baptist friend that I was going to pray to St. Anthony, patron of lost objects.  I did, but to no avail. We offered up a prayer asking Jesus for help, as well, but no creches were to be found.

We looked in the few other places, like the attic with the Christmas decorations where she thought someone might have taken the box, but again to no avail. Back in the garage, looking one last time through the piles of my mother's stuff, I asked Anthony to please please please help.

Finally, as the wind began to signal the storm the weather service said was coming, we gave up. She hugged me and headed home.  I went into the house, feeling the weight of renewed sorrow and grief.  I have tons of mother's stuff to dispose of and the one thing I wanted, her creche collection, was gone.  All I could conclude was that I had taken them to St. Vincent's accidentally, when I was in a grief-pocked haze the days after her death.

I tried to console myself by saying that they were probably bringing someone pleasure this Christmas and it was good that they were being used and not just in a box in the garage.  But it still hurt. I had wanted to give my son a token of remembrance from his grandmother whom he loved dearly, and one of her creches was something he requested.

I tried to think of there was anywhere else I could have put them, but nothing came to mind. Mindlessly I wandered into the formal living room, which is not a room we use very often, and opened a cupboard that I knew was empty.  No, the nativities weren't there. The cupboard was empty, just as I knew it was.

I turned to go back into the kitchen, but, for some reason, I walked behind the sofa, something I never do. There were the creches! Why they would be there, I have no idea, but there they were.Not all of them, but the ones I wanted the most.  I found the Italian one, along with a snow globe one that I had always been particularly fond of and brought them into the kitchen.

Through tears of sheer gratitude to Anthony, I called my friend to tell her the lost had been found. She was as amazed as I was, but I told her that Anthony never fails.

Especially not at Christmas.