I remember feeling so empty, unmoored, and distant from all that once anchored me. It had been a few months since the Covid Pandemic hit, and the disconnection was deafening as I tried to make sense of the fear, loss, and confusion of it all. Staring up at the bedroom ceiling, my eyes turned downward to a framed, wedding invitation sealed in the back with brown paper and hanging there, as it always had, on the wall.
“Open it anytime,” I remembered my departed, grandmother saying, some thirty years ago to the date, (yes, today, was my wedding anniversary), or “Save it for a rainy day.” And then, in an instant, there it was.
The “Perfect Storm” of the rainiest of days, the quietest of anniversaries, and the 37-year survival of a wedding gift still wrapped behind a picture frame. It was time to open this “Time Capsule” of sorts and see what was inside.
That evening, we lit a pair of used, candlesticks on the table, enjoyed a small, anniversary dinner, and my husband ceremoniously, but carefully opened the back. On the surface were the usual mementos; an engagement photo from the newspaper, a matchbook from our reception, and an engraved napkin with our names. But, the deeper I went, the more I seemed to find; HOPE in BIG capital letters on a document containing a Novena and medal to St. Rita, “The Advocate of the Impossible and Hope of the Desperate,”; A dried rose petal, specifically for CURES, blessed at the Shrine of the Lady of The Roses; another blessed medal of St. Benedict; weekly masses offered leading up to our marriage.
As my hands touched the aging papers and medals, I could sense this wise and faith-filled woman reaching out and connecting with both of us in such a comforting and reassuring way and at such an extraordinary time. No doubt, her spirit could be felt, and she was offering blessings, HOPE, CURES, and the power of prayer for any difficulty no matter how impossible or desperate. And, at the time, and with no vaccine, Covid-19 seemed to check all the boxes.
My husband and I embraced feeling her gift of love and support traverse time as the contents from behind the picture frame now lay there on the table in the candlelight. She had been there with us through the early stages of our courtship, so light and carefree, always dependable with a great sense of humor, and it only felt sturdy and right to feel her presence once again during fragile times.
As I look back today, several years later, (and with a mild but persistent case of Covid 19), I think of the profound impact The Time Capsule had on us that evening. My grandmother knew what many people know; that married life, and life in general, presents its joys and challenges, in sickness and in health, but the gift of a strong faith helps guide us through the Perfect Storm, especially if you make the choice as I did, to unwrap the gift at just the right time, or at any time, as my grandmother suggested, over and over again.