Saints, Sinners, Mystics, and Madmen
I pass by this statue of St. Francis several times a week and although his demeanor appears to be one of intense hell and brimstone madness, if you study his life, it was always from positive energy of being a fool for God, a lover of nature, and the epitome of a friend.
Voltaire claimed he was a savage madman who ran naked, spoke to animals, gave religious instruction to a wolf and built himself a wife out of snow. I'm drawn to saints, sinners, mystics, and madmen. They are the spice of life. And they seem to be drawn to me.
One arrived at the lab holding a paper bag like a baby and claimed it was evidence of a homicide in progress and could I analyze the evidence. I peered inside the bag to see a very large zucchini.
"They tried to poison me, but I was too smart for them. Brought it here for you to analyze."
We were drawing quite a crowd in the reception room of the morgue so I guided my almost homicide victim to a quiet place in our library. A long sad story of a long sad life unfolded and in the end, it was no longer a near homicide victim who left still holding a poisoned zucchini like a baby but someone who had been heard. Perhaps not always believed, but heard.
I explained that we really couldn't analyze victimless crimes perpetrated by alleged homicidal vegetables without the proper chain of custody and a police report; but she might consider planting the zucchini and seeing what sprouted both in her garden and in her life.
I never heard what happened to the woman but she left with a smile on her face. And a plan.
Who can be sure who is a saint, a mystic, or a madman? I never know, so I generally treat them all the same and in return, I'm treated the same way.
On my way out of the lab, the Director, (one of my favorite saints, sinners, mystics, and madmen) stopped me to tell me of a phone call he had just received. Someone had called him to ask how low your blood sugar had to go before you went blind, or died, or both. He hedged the question and turned it back on the caller in true Socratic style.
It seems this person had felt near death with a blood sugar measuring 30 and had gone to Mass, taken the Host upon her tongue without swallowing it and walked home and checked their blood sugar again, but this time it was 90 and she felt much better. "Was I healed?"
The Director has a razor wit and a sense of humor as dry as the Sahara, and claimed he offered a few great one-liners about this miracle elevating Padre Pio over the hump to sainthood; but in the way he told me the story, what came across more clearly was how touched he was by the poignancy of this person seeking validation of being alive from another human being, and wanting desperately to feel even more alive.
I do not know who are saints, or sinners, or mystics, or madmen, but it's impossible not to love them all.