Grateful For Whoever Comes

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St. Stefan’s Romanian Orthodox Church in St. Paul

The Guest House

by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


I attended a funeral today in St. Paul, remarkable for its authenticity of grateful sorrow for the life that was celebrated.  The funeral was for a woman who had lived a good portion of her life on the same block that the church is located.  A woman whose mother was the first baby baptized in the church when it opened in 1928.  The priest who co-lead the service gave a touching homily about what made Maria special; her ability to be genuine in her encouragement and to make an impact on those who crossed her path. Maria had a gift for providing encouragement and led a life of perseverance by example. She worked as a social worker, part time, right up until the week before her hospitalization, brief illness and death. She had over come multiple health issues over the last several decades of her life, marching onward, with a green thumb, a love of gardening, cooking and family.

We lose something when we lose a connection to the spiritual center of our neighborhoods, of our community. Maria embodied spiritual connection in her community. I looked around the tiny church, where she had marked so many celebrations and sorrows during her lifetime and was honored to be present. The majority of the service was sung in Romanian, the tunes familiar even if the words less so.  God Bless Maria, her family and all she touched in her lifetime.

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Maria Jura Ticiu (1945 – 2019)