Wish of the Heart

Mary Jo Loebig, O.C.D.

Recently, I had a conversation with someone who is a newcomer to our country. In the course of the exchange, my friend remarked that the people in this country seem to be so friendly and welcoming. Even the clerks in the stores tell you to have a nice day. Although I could not help smiling, this comment did set me thinking. Upon reflection, I realized that when someone tells me to have a nice day, I really do wish the same for the other, in my heart. For a brief moment, on my part, there is a real meeting, regardless of the sentiments of the other. I suppose one could say that such wishing is another way of praying for them.

A True Story

Not long ago, I received an email from this same friend, recounting a true story. While sharing this story with others, I have been struck by the effect the story has on the listener. Bob Perks, the author, relates an incident that happened to him one time while waiting in an airport. On this particular day, he happened to overhear a conversation between a father and a daughter in their last moments together. Standing near the gate of departure, they hugged each other. Bob heard the father say to his daughter, “I love you. I wish you enough.” The daughter in turn responded, “Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too.” They kissed, and the daughter left.

Realizing that the father needed to cry, Bob tried not to intrude on his privacy. Nevertheless, the father initiated the conversation with, “Did you ever say goodbye knowing it would be the last time?” Bob, after responding by sharing a like situation with his own father, went on to inquire, “Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever “goodbye?” In response, the father explained that, because of his age and other challenges, the reality was that, very likely, the next trip back would probably be for his own funeral. Bob went on to inquire, “When you were saying goodbye, I heard you say, ‘I wish you enough.’ May I ask what that means?” In answer, the father spoke of a custom handed down from many generations. When they said, “I wish you enough”, they were wishing the other persons to have a life filled with just enough good things to help sustain them. He, then, began to recite some very special lines, as if from memory. Here are a few of the lines.

“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final Goodbye.”

With that, the father began to sob and walked away.*

What I Wish For All The Others

Meditating on the above, prompted me to ponder what I wish for all the others in my life - my family, my close friends, the Sisters with whom I live, those others who come into my life only once in a while. What are the good things I wish for them, good things that will help sustain their lives? This is what I wish:

I wish you a care-free heart, and an abiding spirit of non-worry.
I wish you the art of tracing the rainbow through the rain.
I wish you the grace of coming to know your own goodness.
I wish you an angel to walk with you when the road is rough.
I wish you understanding of what it means to be known and embraced by God.

I ask myself why a story like the one recounted above moves us so. For some readers, it will be the relationship between the father and the daughter. For others, it will be the content in the lines of “I wish you enough”, and the deep feeling connected with them. Still others will be caught up in the felt experience of what it is like to say, “Good-bye,” and to cry.

Dark Moments And Light Ones

While we certainly do not like the idea of wishing “just enough” pain, rain, or loss for our friends and those dear to us, the “wish lines” recited by the father do bring out the true face of reality we all experience. There are dark moments in life and there are light ones. As I write, I am thinking of the familiar quote of St. Teresa of Avila, known as her Bookmark: “Let nothing trouble you, nothing frighten you. All things pass away. Patience obtains all things. The one who has God lacks nothing. God, alone, suffices.” (St. Teresa was also the one who said that the bad inn is only for a night.) I, personally, would like to think that the dark moments of life, together with their painful memories, do eventually pass away, if we allow this, while the effects of the light moments remain with us and make a home for many wonderful graces to come.

*For the unabridged version of this story, see