Friends, this time my blog is dedicated to Steve Lalli who is responsible for all of my blogs! It is he who is always after me to do one… on some urgent topic we are concerned about, or one about another important action we have joined. Well, he is in the hospital recovering from a terrible accident that happened on a snowy day just before Thanksgiving. Since then, his wife and family have been with him, literally, and so have we, but in a different way. Since that day Steve has been present in our urgent prayers, continually… non-stop. After the accident, I think heaven has been having its own snow storm… a big prayer blizzard… Our Sisters are really good prayers.
Recently, we were invited:” if you have a chance to visit Steve, you’ll see your prayers impact…!” General rejoicing! Steve is on his way back to us, and will be after us to write again… “People will want to know about this, Sister!” “When will you have that blog ready Sister?” Steve is always promoting the use of this media to make God’s love visible… literally. Thank God for Steve Lalli and for returning him to us…all.
I wanted you to share what suddenly happened to Steve because his misfortune affected so many, including us here at our Maryknoll Center. Using irony we could say: we were overtaken by real life… and real life has a way of happening to us all, un-expectantly and in various forms. I am sure you have experienced it yourself. If we look around us we can see so many overwhelmed by real life’s misfortunes.
We have had example after example in our newspapers and television… ordinary people being overwhelmed by tragedy… violence in Nigeria, in Paris, in Syria, in Palestine, even in our own neighborhoods real life has affected so many. Many of us are trying to deal with all that is happening… issues thought already resolved… facing unanticipated disasters. To focus on just a couple we could name our formerly ‘dependable’ weather and even our ‘reliable’ police.
Climate change is now a reality of life and the results are often experienced along our coasts & rivers, and even in our front streets or nearby highways. Last Sunday highway police were out in force turning people around and sending them home in order to get them off of icy roads. We had a meeting that morning with folks coming from all over the area… All got back home safely! Photos in the news showed not all were so lucky. Who would expect a film of ice under the rain could cause such havoc affecting so many? Climate has become for us, real life.
We have another tragedy affecting our streets… a social one. We have all had encounters with police. Maybe you can recall your own? For most people their experiences have been good, but limited to the U.S.. Most of us at Maryknoll however, have lived in other countries so we know police under various circumstances, not all of them good, some even violent.
In Japan, even Tokyo, police were ‘part of the neighborhood’ where they knew everyone and all could approach them easily. However, once when visiting another country, our driver got lost so I innocently suggested we ask a policeman for directions. The response was better than a lecture on conditions in that country… “We could never ask for directions from the police! We avoid the police!” And in Palestine I experienced myself Israeli police who are violent and whose presence brings tragedy to innocent Palestinian families and their loved ones. Suddenly police violence happens to them, and like Steve, their misfortune affects so many. Palestinian communities are terrified of police as are our black communities here. Their dread comes from real life, and for those of us who experience police quite differently it is almost beyond comprehension. However, what they experience is real and it our burden to be open to understanding real life as it happens to others different from ourselves. If we can do this, violence will subside, the healing will begin and heartbreak will change to… is it possible… general rejoicing!
The point I want to make is that Steve brought us all together… We learned first had what it means to understand what another is going through… to reach out in prayer, to do what we can. We are not meant to live as strangers, neither with our police nor with each other. We are not meant to live in such destructive ways with Nature and the Earth. When we come upon ‘real life’ intruding on our own lives in any way, we can struggle with the experience alone or we can experience hands reaching out to help us, or even our own extended to our neighbors.
Well, what happened to Steve has taught us a lot. Steve is more even than neighbor to us now. He has become part of our family and this family can hardly wait for him to return, the sooner the better.
— Sister Jean Fallon M.M.