I treasure the gift given me by my 95-year-old Lutheran pastor/friend “in appreciation of our friendship.” He loved Dom Helder Camara and bequeathed to me A Thousand Reasons for Living. Dom Helder, the beloved archbishop in the poorest diocese in Northeastern Brazil—and yet known throughout the world—listens and hears God, listens and converses with the poor, communes with children and even talks with red ants and cows, with skyscrapers and land!
My friend and beloved pastor of a number of Lutheran communities in his native Michigan is breaking up his library, “a very nostalgic time for me,” he admits. He gave me his treasured book because through daily email messages and but two or three face-to-face visits, he recognized that I too listen to darkness, see God in the eyes of another, give time to watching children. He didn’t know that I also speak with plants, see the sky in rain puddles, love to watch the sun make shadows through bare tree branches, and believe that I have the whole world outside my one-bedroom window!
Have you thought about birds that fly by starlight? Did you know that a little red ant could be the pet of a small child? Have you given time to sit with your own child—whether young or adult or your own inner child—and be filled with wonder at what you hear? Or see?
God speaks in thousands of ways to give us reasons for living! Let Dom Helder give us a few:
If you have a thousand reasons for living,
if you never feel alone,
if you wake up wanting to sing,
If everything speaks to you,
from the stone in the road
to the star in the sky,
from the loitering lizard
to the fish, lord of the sea,
if you understand the winds
and listen to the silence,
for love walks with you,
she is your comrade,
he is your brother! (page 103)
Renée Domeier, OSB