Triangle of Us
Burnaby, British Columbia
Manu and I got into a more than warm discussion. We were sitting in the corner of the senior’s dining room with our dear spiritual sister, Padyavali, when an intense conversation ensued.
Playfully, I charged Manu with being an ox, a mule, I even said ‘ass’ as in donkey. Why such colourful names? Well, I found him to be stubborn. I was encouraging him to take up an administrative role as a council member of our sizeable community in Vancouver. He has lots of qualifications, but he refuses to submit. In the heat of our discussion, Padyavali, who sat in a wheelchair and is suffering from a number of aging challenges, extended her arm interrupting our dialogue. We stopped talking. She protested our talk, saying, “This conversation doesn’t involve me, you’re ignoring me.” She had a dead serious look on her face.
I then protested her protesting, “My dear Padyavali, this conversation involves our community, which is very close to your heart, and since you are part and parcel of this community, you are definitely involved.
At this, she broke out in her first smile of the day. I reminded her that being a Newfie with Irish blood, she should be liking our spicy session, “You used to like these things, you are a fighter.” Her smile broadened. I was happy for her because her gloominess broke. She’s struggling and can’t remember things too well. I reminded her that she was married in ’63 and on the day after John F. Kennedy’s assassination. She can’t remember that she told me that once, nor can she remember that date of matrimony. So, at least she got a bit excited in a good way.
I felt that my pastoral duty was done for today. Being a monk within a community, it obliges you towards such responsibilities. I hope that Manu didn’t get too offended with the style of pressure that I put on him. He’s a good guy with a big heart and regularly pays a visit to our friend, Padyavali, who has given many years of service as a spunky nun. If Manu didn’t drive me to this senior’s home for the visit, it would take me 2 hours of walking, which I don’t mind, of course. Sometimes you have to take a spin in a car for a visit and then value the few moments with the driver who affectionately, I say, is still an ox.
May the Source be with you!