This will be my last column in this series about Brian Doyle. I hope they have made you want to go out and purchase some of his novels, poems, and essays.
It saddens me that once I have finish reading everything he ever wrote, I already have read three of his five novels, there will be nothing more. He is now officially on my list of heroes.
In his book of essays, GRACE NOTES, he has an essay called “Let it Go.” In it, he speaks of a night when he could not sleep, a night when he was close to despair. In the midst of his dark night he hears the Blessed Mother speak to him. “Let it Go” she said. For a year he tells no one, not even his wife. Finally he tells two friends and both admit that they had been spoken to in moments of great darkness.
He says this about Mary: “She lived, married, bore Him, endured, wept over his icy corpse, died. When she died, her body rose into the heavens and vanished from earthy view. But I tell you, she spoke to me one cold wet night in Western Oregon, and her words are burned in my heart, as if she reached down with a finger like a sweet razor and traced them there in the morning, and I cannot explain how her words changed everything, and how there was the first part of my life and now there is the part after she spoke to me.”
On a humorous note, when I used this story in a homily, one parish wit said all she could think of was the song from FROZEN! So much for my homily!