My sister and I were texting back and forth yesterday. She was telling me that she already says prayers for my pregnancy but now she was saying extra prayers for me because she just learned that a presvytera (priest’s wife) she knows recently had a stillborn son at 17 weeks. (I’m currently at 19 weeks and have struggled with miscarriages in the past.)
While I’m reading this text from my sister, my hand instinctively dropped down to my belly and gave my little Symeon a hug as I rubbed my belly with several swoops from my palm. We had an ultrasound only last week and found out we were having another little boy.
Late last night, my sister called me. She asked me if I would say prayers for a Fr. Matthew Baker. He was a dear friend and mentor to her fiancé, Nick…and he died in a tragic car accident last night. Then she explained to me, he was the husband of the presvytera we were talking about earlier in the day who just had a miscarriage.
Lord. have. mercy.
Fr. Matthew was driving home from church last night and had all six of his kids with him when they were in a car accident. All of his children are ok but he passed away.
As if I couldn’t already relate and ache for Fr. Matthew’s wife, my sister told me she also homeschools her kids just as I do. Later, I found out by reading the articles about Fr. Matthew below that she has one girl and five boys. Once upon a time, I did too and this summer we will be back at 5 boys and 1 girl again.
Oh. my. goodness.
Even though I never met Fr. Matthew or his family myself, I have been forever impacted by their lives through the stories told to me by my sister and those I’m continuing to read as they pop up on the Internet. (Additional tributes can be found here.) It’s amazing how we can inspire and influence others through our actions even when we have never met them.
Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved. – Saint Seraphim of Sarov
A fund has been set up for Presvytera Katherine and her children. Please, please consider donating to it – even if it’s just a small amount. $5 matters. Truly. You can even donate anonymously. What would life be like for you tonight if your spouse had died in that car accident? We can’t alleviate the pain Presvytera Katherine is experiencing today but we can alleviate her worries about how she will feed her children next week, how she will pay her bills next month, and how in the world she’ll be able to replace her van without a current income. Let’s help take care of her daily needs by donating as much as we possibly can. She has a long road ahead of her.
This is a perfect case in point about one of the aspects of fasting and almsgiving – sacrifice. What are we willing to give up at our next meal to help someone else out? What are we willing to give up at our next three meals? Even just three simple meals if we can’t do anything else – in order to make a difference in a grieving widow’s life. Creating a meal from items we most likely already have on our shelves right this very moment – rice & lentils, pb&j, beans & rice, pasta sprinkled with dried basil, salt, and pepper. What are we willing to do in order to help someone else in need? This is our faith in action! Truly, how would our life be impacted if our spouse passed away tonight?
May Fr. Matthew’s memory be eternal and may God grant his wife and children strength in the coming days, weeks, and years!