Two weeks ago I was playing in the front yard with my kids when my dog, perpetually digging holes in the ground like an idiot, dug something up that I initially mistook for a bone. Upon closer inspection, however, it wasn’t a bone at all. It was a palm-sized religious figurine who I mistakenly thought was Jesus. (Jesus, some random saintly guy, who knows?).
My two-year old immediately wanted to play with it, but my nine-year old protested. “Jack, that’s Jesus!” But Jack was not giving it up. “Jesus CUTE,” he declared. I laughed, and let him have it, although secretly in the back of my mind I felt a slight sense of dread about it. Who the heck buried Jesus in my front yard? I’m not going to lie, I worried that it was some kind of, um, curse.
(I dunno, it’s COVID. The mind…wanders).
When we came inside, my two-year old brought the figurine in with us. I had to make dinner, and so I promptly forgot about its existence, because that’s the kind of lazar sharp focus at which I excel.
We have a ritual these days, which we started at the beginning of quarantine. Now, every night we FaceTime with Grandma while my two-year old takes his bath. A couple days ago we called her, and my two-year old held up the little Jesus figure from his bath to show her his new toy. I explained to her how we found him in the yard, and how I thought it was Jesus, and how he’s apparently now Jack’s new action figure and bath toy. My mom laughed but said that’s not Jesus, that’s Saint Joseph. You bury him in your yard when you’re trying to sell your house.
Huh, I thought.
I bought my house more than six years ago. Has Saint Joseph been out there working overtime all these years?
My mom recognized it because when she was selling her house many years ago, my grandmother gave her a St. Joseph statue to bury in the front yard. She said it was meant to help sell the house, and a quick google search confirmed it – St. Joseph is the patron saint of home sellers, and burying his statue upside down near your for-sale sign will apparently bring luck. My grandmother was extremely superstitious, so this all made a ton of sense.
I try not to write about my divorce in too much detail, but my house is a bit of a sticking point in the negotiations. Six years ago, while married, I bought this house by myself. I took out a loan from my retirement account to make the down payment, I applied for a mortgage alone, and I paid for all the inspections and surveys and legal fees. I paid the movers. I bought the furniture. I picked out the paint and ordered new light fixtures and spent countless hours browsing craigslist ads and estate auctions for rugs and lamps and everything else we needed. When my ex moved out, he actually took almost nothing with him. Nothing was his to take.
I don’t want to say too much, but this week I had to defend my house. You can ask the court to sell off assets if you need money, or as a tool of coercion, or for any number of reasons. I’m not saying what the circumstances were here, but I will say that it was an unsuccessful bid (for now) and my children and I are not being forced out of our home.
Anyway, you can see how weird it was that Saint Joseph decided to come inside right at this exact moment. He seemed to say, this house is not for sale.
I did a little bit of research, and it turns out that Saint Joseph is also the patron saint of carpenters and builders. I’m telling myself this little guy wants to focus on the next task at hand – building on to this house to give us everything we need. It might take another six years, but maybe we’ll build that second floor addition that I have been dreaming about for so long.
I think I’m going to keep this weird little Saint Joseph statue around for awhile. He was essentially Jesus’ stepdad – Mary conceived through immaculate conception (sure), so Joseph stepped up and raised this kid who wasn’t his. I’m thinking, he was a pretty cool guy, and I’m going to need all the help I can get raising these two little boys of mine.
I did not intend to make this into a theology lesson because lord knows, I am a BAD CATHOLIC. But I wound up putting the little statue on my kitchen windowsill, and the other night my mom noticed him there during our FaceTime chat. She’s the daughter of my superstitious grandmother, and, well, we all have a little bit in common. She saw Saint Joseph on the windowsill and she said, after all these years he decided to come up? I don’t know, Amy. I think it’s an omen.
That sounded sinister (thanks mom), so I double checked the meaning, and omens can be both good and bad. This week I’m choosing to believe that this little guy moved in for good.
Cross your fingers, rub your rabbit’s foot, sweep dirt from your front door, knock on wood, hang a horseshoe, break a wishbone, pick up a penny, and make a wish on your birthday candle for me. I need all the good omens right now I can get.
p.s. Obvious song choice for this week, but do I really give a shit? Nope, I do not. Smoke a joint and enjoy.
And don’t forget to listen to The D-Train, The Playlist, a soundtrack for a shit show.