A message from Mother Teresa. April 17, 2011Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: Easter, emotional poverty, isolation, Mother Teresa
Easter is such a joyous time. We happily celebrate the Resurrection, not just of Our Lord, but of our earthly Paradise, as grasses green, flowers bloom, trees and shrubs leaf out, and frogs, toads and other wildlife emerge, along with the Earth, from hibernation. We welcome the return of spring songbirds, and we celebrate new birth and rebirth with colorful Easter eggs.
Here at Hawk’s Haven, the cottage home our friend Ben and Silence Dogood share in the precise middle of nowhere, PA, our chickens are laying again after their winter’s rest. We’re busy planning our vegetable gardens and ordering new fruit trees. Silence has finally found her beloved pots of ‘Tete-a-Tete’ daffodils to brighten the house. (More on those tomorrow.) I’m sure she’ll be getting down our marvelous collection of Easter eggs, including intricate Pysanky and eggs watercolored by Silence herself, and setting them out in great bowls for us to enjoy and admire. She may even succeed in browbeating me into joining her to paint some new ones during Holy Week.
At Easter, it’s easy to feel blessed. But it’s also easy to feel isolated, lonely, cut off. Mother Teresa made this point dramatically when she noted that in the West, we comparatively wealthy folks were much worse off than the poor and dying in the streets of Calcutta: “There is hunger for ordinary bread, and there is hunger for love, for kindness, for thoughtfulness; and this is the great poverty that makes people suffer so much.”
This Easter, our friend Ben would like to encourage you to remember “the great poverty” and the people you know who may be suffering from it even as you rejoice. Do you have a friend or family member who has lost a spouse and is facing the holiday alone? Are there friends, neighbors, or colleagues that have no one to see and no place to go for Easter dinner? Do you have relatives or former colleagues in assisted-living facilities or nursing homes? Do you know kids whose parents might be struggling to buy them a few Easter eggs or a stuffed bunny? Are your own parents or siblings likely to be spending the holiday alone?
Now is the time to begin to bring an end to this “great poverty,” at least in the lives of those you can see and touch. Our friend Ben and Silence will bring pots of cheerful daffodils and homemade bread to our neighbors; we’ll send cards, books, and toys to our nieces and nephews; we’ll buy candy for our friends, and gift them with our chickens’ new-laid eggs; and we’ll invite our single friends to join us in our Easter dinner.
It’s not much, but it is a beginning. And we know that every time we reach out in love, we receive far more than we could ever have given. Our neighbors bring us homemade cookies, or invite us over to enjoy a lovely fire and a glass of wine, or give us a bag of gourmet dog food for Shiloh. We love seeing our friends and catching up. And of course, we love the opportunity to brighten our extended families’ lives even as we brighten our own. It’s so inspiring and rewarding, you may find that you can’t resist taking Mother Teresa’s message to heart and trying to put it in practice every day of the year, whether you’re reaching out to a grocery cashier with a cheerful comment or e-mailing your cousin to catch up, or forcing yourself to call your least-favorite sibling every week just to see how she is, or grocery-shopping for (and spending time with) an old friend who isn’t feeling well.
This year, let Easter be a true rebirth for us all!