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Following love into mystery

My father died of cancer and our family had the privilege of nursing him at home. Shortly before he died, he went into a coma so it was difficult to get water into his mouth. My mother was at her wits end and I suggested if we had an ear- drop squirter yoke – a pipette – we might be able to squirt the water into the back of his throat. It was a desperate, stupid suggestion and we had no such thing. But we muddled through the day.

That night I was putting my three year old niece Stefanie to bed. A full moon was shining through the landing window as we climbed the stairs. The despairing thought crossed my mind that, as my heart was breaking, G-d was as impassive and indifferent as that moon. “Do you know or care that my beloved daddy is dying?” I heard myself say. “Or are you like the G-d of Deism– who winds up the clockwork universe and retires?”

I read Stefanie her stories and as I was leaving her bedroom she called me back, once to tell her another story, the next time to give her another kiss. The third time she called me I was feeling a bit exasperated, anxious to get back to Daddy downstairs.

I went back into her room saying “This better be good”. “I have a present for you” she sing-songed, and pulling back her duvet she produced – an ear drop squirter, a pipette. “I had sore ears one time, my mammy got that for me and I kept it for you”

Two days later Daddy died. He weighed five and half stone and all his major organs had broken down. But the angel Stephanie in a town called Derry had brought us the good news that G-d was indeed the Word made flesh, living among us, urging us follow love into mystery.