Day Three – The Gift of St. Joseph


IMG_2081     Today’s gift came in the form of accepting a rather strange gift from my father. And while that seems like receiving a gift and not giving one, you must believe me that receiving this gift from my father graciously and accepting that he gave it in the purest of love was indeed the giving of a gift on my part.

Our house in Fort Pierce is for sale – it has been for several months. It should have been sold years ago, but Dan and I were trying to be good people and made the mistake of renting it out at a ridiculously low monthly cost to a couple we felt needed a little kindness and a chance in their lives. We were wrong, and when we finallygot the house back and repaired all the broken and damaged parts of it, we finally put it on the market to sell. After all, the market it supposedly very good right now, and we have a fair price on the house. But it hasn’t sold yet, which means that the right person hasn’t seen it yet, and after the second offer that fell through in as many months, my dad felt it was time to call in the big guns.

My gift today was going to be going to surprise my folks with a visit, and thatwas something I’d looked forward to after a really long day of work today. After we’d been sitting with them for a while, my mom asked about the latest offer on the house, and when Dan explained that the buyer had changed her mind, my dad suggested we get St. Joseph involved.

If you’ve ever known old-school Catholics, you might have heard that there is an old custom people who are selling a house use to ensure the house will sell. All you have to do is take a statue of St. Joseph and bury it in the backyard of the home – headfirst, and voila! You’ll start getting offers right and left on the house. I’ve always balked at this practice for a couple of reasons.

First, it kind of feels like worshipping false idols, and even though I’m not what anyone could consider a good or even practicing Catholic anymore, I’m pretty sure that’s one of the big Ten Commandments. So,  while I’ve heard of the custom before, I never even considered it.

Secondly, it may just be me, but it seems particularly barbarous to bury poor St. Joseph at all, much less head first in the backyard. I feel like that is a very cruel thing to do, and again – it’s not something I’ve ever considered seriously.

Until tonight. Tonight, as I was sitting with my folks thinking that I was giving them the gift of my time and listening to them and loving them, I realized that if I declined my father’s offer of his beloved St. Joseph statue – even as a loan, he would be very hurt. I know my dad is as sensitive and thin-skinned as I am, and while he may not be a warm and fuzzy guy to me; after all, he reminded me just a few weeks ago that I am not a spiritual person because I no longer attend church regularly,  I do know that my dad is very tender-hearted.

My Day Three gift was accepting a gift from my dad with as much love as I know he intended when he offered it. So while I’m writing my Day Three Giving Journal Entry, St. Joseph is right next to me, his robes flowing and his back and shoulders back and strong as he lifts the very blondbaby Jesus in the air with his left hand. My mom put St. Joseph in a plastic Ziploc baggie, so he won’t get all dirty when he’s buried in the back yard at the house I hope sells very fast because I’m still not sure I’ll be able to sleep at night until I can excavate and dis-inter poor St. Joseph and return my dad’s gift of love and my gift of learning to accept it graciously.

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