Peace Wanted
Off The Wall, December 23, 2011

Every year when we head into the Christmas season, there seems to be a general theme, such as “peace on earth, goodwill toward men.” From my perspective, I think those are nice words, but rarely followed.

It wasn’t long ago, someone contacted me and asked if I would put the Dowitch family from Tonia, Idaho, on the prayer chain. It seemed that every since a certain member of the family had moved away, the once loving family is now at odds with each other. According to Sarah Hoomes, a next store neighbor, there is a lot of tension in the air when she goes over to visit.

Unless they come into an agreement over some items, particularly the book collection, this Christmas is not going to be the Christ-oriented holiday. As long as there is friction among the siblings, there certainly won’t be the kind of celebration others may be having this time of year.

Then there’s the case of Al Holen. He was playing pool down at the pool hall in Dungaree, MI., when a fellow by the name Shorty Wistle approached him and asked if he could play. Al declined as he had paid for the two to play three games and didn’t want to forego losing his opportunity to play with his long-time friend, Benny Pipre.

All of a sudden, Wistle approached Holen and grabbed his stick, insisting that he was there to play and no one was going to stand in the way during this time. After all, he had come 50 miles to enjoy his favorite game and no one was going to stand in the way of letting him do so.

As Holen held his ground, remaining calm, he said to the agitator, “I’ll let you play, later. I’ll even pay for you to play one game, but right now I want to play with my buddy. ” Finally, Wistle backed off and waited until his time had come.

There is great wisdom here. Everyone has a turn to do something. Having a little patience goes a long way.

Finally, we have the case of Anthony Bestolli from Euclid, OH. He and his wife, Betty, were very close. They had been married for well over 30 years when she contracted cancer, slipping downhill on a daily basis.

Loving his wife tenderly, he took care of Betty every way he could, feeding, bathing and making sure she was as comfortable as could be under the circumstances. Not a day went by that he didn’t give it his all, attending to all her needs.

Betty was a very devout Catholic. Every day, she began her challenges of her remaining life by saying the Holy Rosary, all five decades. Throughout the course of the day, when things got tough going, she clutched her beads next to her person, never losing sight of God’s love for her. Her life was a testimony unto itself.

When she became quite ill, she was admitted to Carmelite Hospital. Anthony requested a bed to be put in her room so he could continue to stay and care for his mate. It was obvious now, she was beginning to lose the battle and soon she would be gone. One day she passed. Grieving, Anthony looked down at her noticing her Rosary beads tightly clutched within the palm of her hand.

Since then, he has been living on his own, almost alone. There is no other way of putting it, because a white dove descended upon his residence and keeps Anthony company whether he is working in his shop in the garage or sitting on his porch just outside the kitchen door.

As everyone knows, a dove is a symbol of peace. What Anthony conveyed to others was, “I know this is God’s way of letting me know Betty is in His hands and all is well.”

It would be nice if the Dowitch's could come to amends concerning their differences. Then there would be “peace in the valley.” And we can all learn from the Holens and Wistles of this world that patience is indeed a virtue. If we are to walk the walk and talk the talk as humans beings, just as the Bestolli’s attempted, then maybe we each can learn something that can contribute to our getting along with others.

May each of you have a very blessed, blessed Christmas.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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