I was in your house the day they brought you home. I watched your two-year-old sister and wondered what was going through her mind. I saw your mother, glad to be home but tired too, having carried you so lovingly, through those long months of waiting, and now sharing you with a world that, above all times, is so uncertain of itself.
I watched your father, holding you in his arms but looking to your sister, wondering maybe how he could reassure her that though he is full of joy and love for you, the joy and love he has for her will never diminish.
I watched my brother as he took you in his arms and was reminded again that he is a grandfather. I watched…
I listened…listened to all that was being said around you. How beautiful you were, quiet and small. I heard words of gratitude that all had gone well and that you had arrived safely.
I heard my nephew speaking to your sister, encouraging her to reach out and touch you. Holding tight to her teddy and bunny, she looked on and wondered. Then she stretched out a hand, touched yours and smiled. I listened to the silence of that moment of contact and knew that you would always have an older sister, looking out for you and stretching her hand to you along life’s way. I heard, yes heard, her smile – maybe yours too. I heard the sound of love.
I hoped…hoped dreams for you and that the world will find itself again, and soon. I hoped that you would only hear of Covid-19 and know it as something that did not impact heavily on your life, though it took its toll and took it heavily on many people.
In years to come, you will be remembered as one born during the year of ‘the virus’ – but it is your year, your year to be born and to bring fresh hope, deepened love and desperately needed faith to us all.
As my hand grows older and weaker, yours will grow bigger and stronger. As my hand depends on another, your hand will give support and security. Your hand is perfect, blessed and precious. May it make a difference for many”
I felt your hand as it lay on mine and remembered holding your sister’s hand the day she came home from Sligo Hospital too. I wanted to hold on to this moment, so I took a photo. It is a photo that speaks of friendship and of my hope that you will be surrounded by many friends throughout the days of your life.
It speaks of God’s hand and his asking us to put ours in his, since our names are and always will be carved there. It is a picture that speaks of contact and the need for all of us to do all we can to be in contact, not least in these strange and challenging times.
It is a picture that speaks of change. As my hand grows older and weaker, yours will grow bigger and stronger. As my hand depends on another, your hand will give support and security. Your hand is perfect, blessed and precious. May it make a difference for many.
As your sister reached out to it, as I held it, as your parents marvelled at it, the difference is already made.
And, as I drove home, I prayed for you. As I write these lines, I celebrate you and all children born in this strange year.
When we wonder what good came from 2020, may we be reminded of you and all of them.
There were candles
On Sunday evening when I went to lock the church, I noticed candles burning in the candelabra. This has been a constant and, for some reason, those candles burn with an added brightness during these times when our churches are not open for public Mass.
To me, at least, they are signs of living faith and though people cannot gather in great numbers, still they come in ones and twos to light a candle, say a prayer, ask a favour and maybe say thanks.
A musician friend told me he was once playing a tune and as he neared the end, a man who was clearly enjoying the tune, shouted: “Keep her lit!”
I’m only saying!