So now I have a patron saint?
I've written about this before--the insignificance I feel sometimes when I compare myself to certain others. Those who get mentioned in my alumni bulletin, for example. There are kids younger than I gallivanting around the globe bringing potable water to obscure villages in developing nations, or making huge scientific breakthroughs related to various plagues. (I'm not exaggerating. One of my former students is currently in the Peace Corps working with his wife in South Africa.) Or they're making these thoughtful and generous philanthropic donations or improving literacy rates in Appalachia.
Whatever. I'm just trying to keep my baby happy, my school-age trio on-task, and preschooler and toddler alive. Monumental global accomplishments and curing cancer will have to wait.
Will the small acts of kindness I do ever amount to much? Will my kids even remember? Will she remember how I tried every week to make sure she had tights for ballet, or he how I made sure his uniform was clean? How I would try to serve one of her favorite dinners the same week I made her least favorite to please her brother?
In the one episode of Leverage I've watched, one of the characters said something like, "One child is a human interest story; a thousand is a statistic." All of those tiny acts are statistics that get lost.
I was thinking about this some weeks ago. We'd arrived early for Mass and the ambulatory kids were walking around looking at the church--something they still do even though we've been there many times now. I contemplated the painting above the altar of the church's patroness, St. Veronica. I think she's one of those early saints that got "grandfathered" in before the Church started getting official about who was or wasn't and thoroughly examining miracles, kind of like St. Philomena or St. Christopher. Did you know the saint referred to most certainly wasn't named "Veronica"? She's called that from the translation of true image--I'm not up on my Greek, but I think it's vera ikon. According to Catholic Tradition, she wiped the face of Jesus as He carried His cross. An image of His face remained on her veil. Her act of kindness isn't even mentioned in Scripture, but is part of the Stations of the Cross. What else she did in her lifetime, whether she had children, even her real name is lost.
That kind of humility, to be remembered two millenia later for one simple act, is a saint that understands motherhood.