What fish do we share?

The twins were beautiful; two little girls, with their mom’s dark hair and eyes and their dad’s dimples. They were identical in every way, except for a small mole on Leslie’s thigh. Leslie and Laura were perfect; except that they were not.

At first their dad insisted that they just needed more discipline. He accused Macy, their mother, of not being tough enough on the girls. But he wasn’t home during the day. He didn’t have to endure the terrible temper tantrums and the violent outbursts. He wasn’t there when Laura screamed that there was a rat in her room, except that there wasn’t.

Finally, in spite of her husband’s objections, Macy decided to seek help. Her pediatrician recommended a child psychologist, and that’s where the journey began — a journey from therapist to therapist and from doctor to doctor. Insurance covered little and by the time the girls were finally diagnosed as manic-depressive the family’s resources had pretty much been depleted. In addition, their dad had been transferred twice and it was difficult to develop an ongoing relationship with a good therapist.

The girls are 17 now. They live on the East Coast. Last week I received an email from Macy with the website of the organization she has founded for parents of twins with psychological or personality disorders. Finally, after years of transferring from college to college as her family moved around the country, Macy has completed her undergraduate studies in psychology and is now working on her master’s degree in social work.

The crowd was hungry. How could they feed so many? A small child brought what little he had — five loaves and two fish — and it was enough. Jesus thanked God for the gifts and then fed the 5,000 until all had eaten their fill. Macy thanks God for the many people who have supported her on her journey. It seemed she had so little to give, yet today she is the founding director of a national organization. She brought what she had and it was enough.

What loaves do we have in our baskets? What fish do we share?

Van Benthem is a member of the Secular Franciscan Order and a longtime pastoral minister, retreat leader, spiritual director and published writer and poet.