Suzanne & Service Dog for the Ministry Maestro

I'm an ordained minister, called to ministry on the margins, is what I felt for so long. I ended up being invited into the healing paws program at Boston Medical Center ‑‑ encountering every time I go on campus the suffering that goes under the radar, and it is an amazing thing to hold the leash of what I call an icon of unconditional love.  Maestro's actually an angel in a dog suit.  I thought I could really help people.  Well, you know, the great southern writer Flannery O'Connor wrote a story once called "The life you save may be your own."  That's how I feel working at Boston Medical Center with Maestro. Seeing Maestro, petting or bearing headlong into that lush fur seems to be akin to dropping down into memories like when you smell fresh‑cut grass or smell the perfume your beloved grandmother once wore.  It is here that people encounter what I believe is God, the life force of creation that exists outside of time, and it is here in this thin place between heaven and earth that people find the most profound comfort.  In this way Maestro is a spiritual guide because Maestro unlocks this timeless place.  As I go on my rounds, tethered to such magnificence, and I know I am not a healer, doing anything myself, but I am the recipient of so much love and grace.

(April, 2014)