O ye of little faith

Thats something VG would often say. He’d say it after successfully getting over a curb, or into or out of a car. Sometimes he’d say it after a favorite stock made a strong weekly run. “o ye of little faith.”

I first met VG at his apartment at “the compound” as he called it, a nice independent living center in a small town in South Texas. The one who holds my heart and I had knocked on his door from the garden in early winter. As we stood in the canadian air that morning, i noticed that the usual landscaping we architects provide, and its always the first thing cut in budget challenges, was different. The meager planpts were more vigorous, more lush around this door, a sunflower stood almost 6 feet tall in a flowerpot! Beside the door, a well-used rocker, statue of St. Frances (my patron saint) and a turtle statue distinguished this apartment from the rest.

I came to learn that VG was very much like the stories i’d read about St. Francis, a friend to doves (thats how the sunflower appeared in the pot, bird breakfast that went uneaten, then was nurtured to grow where its not supposed to be able to…”o ye….”.) VG would look after life around him, the doves, the mouse that made its way into his house, the tree frog desperate for water in the drought and when a person would move to get rid of these critters, I’m told VG would say “he’s not hurtin anybody.”

I’m not sure how St. Francis became a saint, some kind of miracle as i recall, and when i heard that back in Hobbs, NM, VG had trained turtles to scratch at his door for food i thought, i believed that he was a pretty special man. When he was in the hospital, on hospice care the first time, i’m told that the one who holds my heart was awakened by a persistent scratching on his door, and opened it to see generations of turtles, and a lizard, outside the door. If a person didn’t have faith, they might think this herd of turtles was just there for breakfast but now i think they wanted to know how VG was doing…”o ye of little faith.”

The one who holds my heart and her son will be laying VG to rest this morning next to his beloved Beverly, whom he spoke to often in his last days. I dearly wish i could stand behind them both this morning, sharing the tears that fall as i type this because i have faith the turtles would be peering out from the bushes with tears in their eyes too. Don’t believe it? O ye of little faith.

Look after the little ones in your life and around you today, VG and St. Francis will smile upon you. Believe it.

One Response to “O ye of little faith”

  1. Laura in EC says:

    Mike,

    A lovely tribute to a wonderful man.

    Laura

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