Early one August morning, my husband, a priest friend and I went walking briskly along a street in Fatima, Portugal, a pilgrimage site. There laying on the side of the road was a branch of a tree. Knowing my father was back home and using a cane, I thought of him. Despite the fact that it was over four feet long, I was determined to get it home on the airplanes and have it carved into a special staff for him.
It felt a little awkward carrying that branch through the airports on the way back, and especially onto the planes hoping I could find a place to put it. Fortunately, each airborne leg of the journey had a place where it could be stored.
In September, after settling back home, I eagerly called a wood carver--an acquaintance--to ask if she could carve the stick so I could give it to my father for his birthday in December. When I left it at her house she told me, "Get back with me about what you want me to carve on it."
Months passed. I hadn't called her back yet. Finally, in November when I did, she said, "It's finished!"
"Finished?" I questioned. But I hadn't even informed her what to carve. Somewhat apprehensive, I hastened to see what she had done. She presented me with a transformed stick, now a glowing staff and said she was impressed to carve acorns and oak leaves on it.