It is interesting how people come into our lives who, at times, remind us of those who went before us. A number of years ago, I recall feeling amazed one day as I realized how many women named Mary had recently come into my life. It was as if a whole army of warm, welcoming, faith-filled Marys were suddenly in my life. They were from different walks of life, but all named Mary, and all of them brought a smile, wisdom and a sense of peace with them.
As I sat in awe with this realization, tears came to my eyes and I thought of my Auntie May, named Mary at birth. The first Mary I ever knew and loved with all of my heart. She was a fixture of love from as far back as I can remember…gentle and faith-filled.
Auntie May…I can still see her beautiful face and hear her wise, calming voice. “Hi doll,” together with an embrace that felt so warm and loving. I can still see her beautiful fingers. She would take my hand and hold it between hers as we exchanged greetings. I could feel the love and care in her hands, the same hands that made such wonderful food—kibbe, cinnamon twists, and so much more.
I remember sitting, as a young child and as I grew in age, listening to her and the other adults speak. She spoke with such clarity and with a passion for all that is right and just, for all that is good and true. She was so knowledgeable, but at the same time so down to earth. She was a very interesting person, not to mention her sense of humor; and though she was gentle, she could be stern, too. She knew when to speak softly and when to speak more firmly and with greater conviction. She had such an amazing spirit…striking…so nurturing and life giving.
Auntie May, and all the Marys who followed, reminding me of all that was and all that is. It is fascinating how God sends people into our lives to help us or challenge us, as well as for us to help…sometimes simply by being ourselves.
There is a saying that the best thing one can do is to be one’s true self. That is, as one becomes more and more authentic, she or he makes a difference simply by being. There is an energy or a vibe, when being true to oneself, that extends without effort as we go about day to day activities.
As layers are peeled back and one uncovers or moves closer to her or his true self, we are summoned or we gravitate toward our true calling or vocation(s) within our life and within each situation. Connected to that call, to the source of that call, and continuing to remain faithful to it, the energy or the spirit remains, flowing through and radiating out with benefit for all with whom we interact.
So, while my Auntie May, may have been different things to different people throughout her life, she was true to herself and the love, spirit and energy that she brought to each thing she did and each role she fulfilled, remained the same. What was even more special was that she realized it was not hers to keep and that it could only continue by her letting go and letting flow as she went about her way.
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” – St. Catherine of Siena