Prayers from the Ark: The Butterfly

Sister Carmen Bernos de Gasztold was a Benedictine nun and gifted writer. In her book entitled Prayers from the Ark, the French poet gave voice to God’s creatures who sailed with Noah.

During June, I am sharing a sampling of my favorite poems. Today’s selection features the flitter, flutter, flailing of The Prayer of the Butterfly.


Where was I?

Oh, yes! This flower, this sun, thank you!

Your world is beautiful!

This scent of roses . . .

Where was I?

A drop of dew

rolls to sparkle in a lily’s heart.

I have to go . . .

Where? I do not know!

The wind has painted fancies

on my wings.

Fancies . . .

Where was I?

Oh, yes! Lord,

I had something to tell you.


Shingles’ Shot

I recently passed another mile marker on the road to senior life. Last month I received a shingles’ vaccine.

I initially encountered the disease during my first pastoral appointment. An “elderly” member—who in hindsight was probably my age now—contracted the virus. He suffered horribly for months.

The disease causes weeping blisters that often appear on the stomach or back. According to an old wives’ tale, a rash encircling the trunk of the body will kill a victim. If it doesn’t kill them, then further suffering will make them wish that it had.

I determined early in life that shingles was an experience I would just as soon avoid.

ShinglesLast fall the FDA approved a new shingles’ vaccine called “Shingrix.” Initial tests indicate a 90% efficacy for preventing the disease. Physicians encourage adults 50+ to get the two series shot. Since I narrowly qualify—ok, I overly qualify—I decided to follow the medical advice.

I received the initial shot in May. In the interests of full disclosure, it felt like a mule kicked me in the bicep for several days. However, I considered it a small price to pay. The second shot follows two to six months after the first.

Remember: a theological seminary and not a medical school bestowed my degree, so please check with your personal physician. As for me and my household, we hope to avoid the viral disease.

I’ve gotten my shingles’ vaccine; and to quote Bill Murray in Caddyshack: “So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice!”

*The author does not currently receive a cent for his personal endorsement. However, pharmaceutical agents are encouraged to contact him to make a deal!