Sometimes it causes me to Tremble . . .

Tom says Mary Ann could ride for miles and miles.

Tom Shillock and Mary Ann Camann were/are/will be saints around this block since a long time and for always.  Mary Ann died six months ago after a long, tough, brave battle with ovarian cancer.  Her beloved husband Tom is here each week—engaged and authentic.  Last Wednesday night we were hanging out and he told me  a story about the attempted resuscitation of his drowned  cell phone and yes, underneath it all, a story about the resilience and grace of Christ in the human spirit. Here’s Tom:

“I share this now as we prepare to celebrate, to rejoice, to partake in the march, the dance of the All Saints Ministries…I make it through these days, because of the outpouring of love, of graces I received from Noelle, from Geoffrey, and Tim. From all the many beautiful saints of All Saints. From my small group of DOCCians that meet on a monthly schedule for almost twenty years now. From the Gals of the Good Shepherd, the Sunday Callers, the Garden Group, St Helena Group, the Flower and Alter Guilds; I make it because I am surrounded by caring care-givers, by loving love-extenders, by hope replenishers, by a community of unconditional grace providers.”

(Ahem, the guy is talking about you Saints. If you ever wonder if the gifts of time and love you make to the church matter, boom. Now you know.)

Tom and A cellphone.  Okay a replacement

Back to Tom: “Last week My cell phone decided to place itself through the laundry. All I can say is that the cell phone must have done this under great duress, certainly under its own premonition. Lord knows I would never intentionally place my phone in the washing machine.

The story begins innocently enough. It was a gorgeous Saturday morning and my neighbor John and I decided to go for a bike ride on the Silver Comet Trail. Returning home following the bike ride, I resumed my Saturday morning ritual, thus to begin a load of laundry.

All those bells and whistles and not a beep of warning!

In goes my load of grubby articles, and in went my bike shorts. Had someone phoned me, or text me just then I would have been apprised that my cell phone was hiding-out in the zip-pocket of my bike shorts.

It was not until I was transferring the clothes from the washer to the dryer that my unimaginable dismay hit me full in the face. My cell phone had been through the wash and spin cycle. Well I dare say the phone had never looked cleaner, yet there was nothing being displayed on the screen. It was a total loss. Without use of the screen, I would not be able to transfer all my saved contact information from the washed phone to a new phone. Further complicating my distress was the fact, to the best of my research in the Book of Common Prayer, there is no prayer for the redemption of a washed cell phone.

Later Saturday evening I had a thought, surely other people have experienced a soaked phone crisis. What have they done? In that my prayers were not having the desired results to remediate my sodden phone, I went in search of the answer to a highly elevated technical source… YouTube.  Sure enough there was this guy that had an answer – you carefully remove the back of the phone, remove the battery, and the SIMs card. Then using a wet-vac, very, very carefully; you vacuum all the moisture from the phone.

Following the wet-vac procedure you place the phone in a dry location for 1 to 3 hours. I chose to give my phone a full 8 hours of dry-time. Actually I told myself, let’s go to the 8:00 am service Sunday morning and when I return home from church, I’ll see if for the love of God, my phone screen would come to life.  

Prayers at All Saints – always a good plan.

I returned home from church, there over in the corner, all by itself was my wishy-washy phone. I reassembled the phone, with my eyes lifted to the heavens, I whispered one more plea. I pressed the on button … And glory be on high, the phone came back to life. I could see the screen! I would be able to recover all my contact data. I rejoiced, I mean what else could an Episcopalian do? And I’m here to tell you, rejoicing feels good! We should all rejoice more often!

When I conveyed my story to Martha,  we decided what was necessary was a proper prayer to pray when a cell phone goes to a place of incommunicado.

So I composed the following for those in need:

Now I lay me down to sleep

I washed my phone today, causing me to moan and weep.

A prayer was said, asking for my phone to awake

Its an old phone, I know not the style nor make

Oh how I hoped my phone would revive today

Lord I promise to be kinder to all who journey my way

My phone did signal, and then there was a weak beep

You are an amazing Lord, your grace has caused my faith to leap!


Nice, huh??  Well done, Tom!  Now when you go to Celebrations of Ministries think even beyond your cell phone! Notice the real live flesh and blood people who love their neighbor around this block in all the holy ways we can think of.It matters so. Tom Shillock knows ALL ABOUT THAT.  Here’s Tom again:

“On Monday March 14th (Mary Ann died on March 16) I wrote this in my daily notes. I do not think I ever shared this with Tim.
Rev. Tim Black from All Saints came to pray at Mary Ann’s bedside today. He spoke about not being afraid, he assured Mary Ann she was not alone, she is never alone. 
He spoke about how every breath from Mary Ann sounded like she was saying the word Yahweh, a prayer, over and over, Yahweh, fifteen times a minute, 900 times an hour.
Yahweh I know You are near
Standing always at my side
You guard me from the foe
And you lead me in ways everlasting

Lord you have searched my heart
And You know when I sit and when I stand
Your hand is upon me
Protecting me from death
Keeping me from harm
“I sat alone in the hospital room until the announcement; all visitors will need to leave for the evening. I sat alone and listened to each heavy breath from Mary Ann, followed by another purposeful breath, and most certainly I heard her prayer to Yahweh.
Before I left Mary Ann’s’ room the evening nurse came on duty and with this lovely smile introduced herself. Her name was Angel, and indeed she did appear to me as one with great angelic skills.”
And for now and all our days, Tom gives us another prayer:
Give me strength to face another day
Let me not turn coward before its difficulties
Let me not lose faith in other people.”
Tom says we must be vigilant—you and I— for we might see the face of God just when we need God most.  Or read a prayer.  Or answer our cell phone. True, true, true, true.
Martha +

2 thoughts on “Sometimes it causes me to Tremble . . .

  1. Mary Ann and I met, when my family moved to Kenmore, NY, and I became the 64th student, in fifth grade, midterm at St Paul’s school. We became fast friends, and I became a fixture at the Cavanagh household. We were both the oldest in our families. she, one of 3, me one of 6. We went through High School together, and over the years, we shared many happy times, and the inevitable difficult times of adolescence and “adulthood”, while rejoicing the happy celebrations of our marriages and our children’s arrivals. Long distances from Atlanta, where Mary Ann settled, and me, in New England, where I settled for “1 year”, that turned into 46 yrs.
    Over all these years, we visited each other and shared all the landmarks of happiness and sadness. Our relationship was unique and endearing. She was strong and brave on so many levels; and she and Tom were devoted to the beautiful community of All Saint’s Episcopal Church, that gave solace to them both, and continues to share her legacy, as Tom carries on his devotion to All Saint’s and to Mary Ann and the many wonderful memories he cherishes. Great Memories!


  2. Great blog! Knew Tom had great faith but did not know he was a storyteller and such a funny one! Mary Ann was surely there, smiling at him in the laundry room that day!


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