Monday, February 5, 2018

Praying with Anthony

My heart is sad today. During my volunteer time at L'Arche Day Program this morning, I learned that my friend Anthony* is dying of cancer.

Although he hasn't been to Day Program since before Christmas, Anthony has been part of it for about three years now, and his presence touched me deeply. He always had a smile for me when I greeted him. He loved to walk to the garden and help pick things in the fall. When we had coffee together in the mornings, sometimes we would play a game or roll a crayon back and forth between us. Our friendship was simple.

But what I will always remember about Anthony is the way he prays. During our community prayer time, when everyone was invited to pray their personal prayers, Anthony's mumbled prayer was very fervent and sincere:

"Bless my mom and my dad" (and numerous other people whose names were hard to make out). "Read my bible, God's word. Light a candle, God's light. I pray for L'Arche, and Day Program, and Barb (his favourite assistant) and..." (more people from Day Program, I think, but he prayed so softly it was often hard to hear and understand him).

And it seemed the longer Anthony was with us, the longer his prayers got. He was really, really talking to God, and asking for blessings, over and over and over again. We hated to cut him off, but he probably would have prayed the entire morning away, eyes closed and hands folded, in spite of others in the group getting quite antsy.

Anthony's relationship with God was clearly a very special part of his life. And I'm sure his reunion with God will be a real celebration, though we will miss him here.

God bless you, Anthony, and find you the best garden room in heaven!

* I use pseudonyms for my L'Arche friends.

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