Blessed Martin and the Fridge

Blessed Martin De Porres was very big in our house when I was a boy.  My mother was certainly a fan but it was my granny who liked him most of all. She even subscribed to his magazine every month.

Granny was always solid in her beliefs. She had faith in lots of things but she had especially large amounts of faith in Blessed Martin.

She would send her prayers through him and offer up her setbacks to him and she always gave him credit when things went right.

As time passed, 'Blessed Martin' became 'Saint Martin' and granny became quite old. She couldn't get out of the house like she used to but she had her little St. Martin statue on the mantelpiece and he was company enough for her (as well as Granddad, of course).

During one Sunday afternoon visit, my Mum remarked that St. Martin was absent from his perch above the fire. She asked where he had got to.

"You know," said granny, "how the wee light that comes on when you open the fridge door has stopped working."

Mum wondered what this had to do with St. Martin.

"Well," said Gran, "I just put him in there to see if he might fix it."

I went to look. Sure enough, there was St. Martin, comfortably positioned between the eggs and the milk, having a 'go' at the fridge-door light.

Many years later, I still have a smile over St. Martin being in the fridge but I often feel quite envious too. Ten years before she died, Granny was badly burned in a house fire. Her injuries were so severe that it was thought unlikely that she could survive. But, as with everything else, she prayed though St. Martin and offered up her setbacks to him and, despite all her burns and her skin-grafts and her pain, she prevailed.

My Granny didn't put her little statue in the fridge because she was old or feeble or naive. She did it because she had solid unquestioning faith in what she believed.  This same faith undoubtedly went on to save her life.

So although I can smile at Granny's faith, I can envy it too. I can wish that I sometimes had a little bit of it for myself.  I can't say that I would put St. Martin in my fridge if the little light went out but I can say I look up to my Granny, who did.

And in Granny's house that day many years ago, the fridge light was all fixed and working again by the time we went home. You might say that somebody nipped out and jiggled it when nobody was looking.  You might well be right.

Me, I like to think that Blessed Martin took a hand.


Fiendish said...

Wonderful post.

Everyone has different ways of making sense of the world, and none of them really make more sense than any others.

Smug atheists like Richard Dawkins might be clever, but when it comes to the great beyond, he's just as clueless as the rest of us. Having something to believe in is good for you - that, at least, is fact.

Anonymous said...

Although St. Martin may not have fixed the fridge light himself, you might just say he "outsourced" the project.

It seems difficult to have that kind of faith these days. Things seem more complicated, but maybe they're not really . . . maybe that's just an excuse we like to use.

R. Brady Frost said...

It is good to have something to believe in, isn't it?

Jim Murdoch said...

Faith is a concept I have struggled with for many years. I can define it – faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for the evident demonstration of realities though not yet beheld – but that doesn't mean I get it. I know it's different from belief. You can believe in things that aren't true.

I know that energy equals mass times the speed of light squared but I don't get that either. My best friend when I was at school explained it to me once. He also explained why black was white quite convincingly. So both science and religion are a mystery to me. And I'm not that clued up on nature either come to think of it.

As a kid the light in our fridge stopped working somewhere in the early seventies and it never worked again. Had you known my family you would appreciate the metaphor that's coming together in my head right now.

Ken Armstrong said...

Thanks for comments guys.

Back in school, we had a triptych of words to help us along life's road. They were faith, hope and charity.

I get by on charity, 'am quite good at hope some of the time, but faith seems to be the most elusive.

I tried to decide to just 'have some' but it doesn't seem to work like that. You can't choose to have it, you seem to have to be gifted with it.

tashabud said...

This is such a good story. I find it quite humorous and poignant.

Humorous, in that your granny had an odd, funny way of showing and expressing her faith in St. Martin. Poignant, in that you had reminisced and written about her with much feeling and reverence.

Dave King said...

Loved it. I had an aunt just like your gran, which makes me think I can picture her very clearly. Strong characters are always interesting.

Lette said...

haha thats wonderful, what a fab memory, im no writer but im trying a short story from my gran who died when I was younger, but not before we shared some great times together and like ur gran, had unquestionable faith :) excellent post :)

veronicamelero said...

Having been a great believer in the "intervention" of St Martin for most of my life I read your story with a smug smile on my face and wanted to shout "See I told you" to those people (You know who you are!!) who made fun of my faith all these years!! Well all I want to say to you is ( Don't come running to me and asking to borrow my St Martin medal when your fridge light goes out!!!

Ken Armstrong said...

Dear Veronica, I believe you know that I am not making fun of your wonderful faith with this little story.

At the core of the wry humour there is a lovely old lady who was so badly burned that she could not survive. I certainly could not have survived. It was her faith, over two grueling years, which saw her through to ten more good years.

We could all use some faith like that. :)

Thanks for coming to read my story and thanks to your lovely young man for showing it to you. k x

veronicamelero said...

Dear Ken,
Thank you for your reply; However it was that "lovely young man" that my comment was aimed at!!!

Anonymous said...

Nice post.
Martin (but not the saint)