Let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas…….
During this season of waiting I'm reminded of being pregnant with Meggan, the anticipation of her arrival and finally being able to meet and hold her.
Our precious Meggan will be celebrating another birthday in heaven tomorrow….She would be 42 years old, but to us she will always remain 14. As a mother it's important for me to know what she's experiencing….though I can only guess what it must be like in eternity.
Still every year i ask "What is it like there, Meggan?" Surely there must be ongoing celebrations….streamers everywhere, suspended in animation, rainbows, laughter and so much happiness that we here on earth are missing. I can see angels with gossamer wings, bringing an atmosphere of peace and joy…butterflies, of course, are also everywhere.
For us, there will always be The "missing" PEACE….you, Meggan.
Advent has arrived….that time of waiting, anticipating the birth of Christ.
In our hectic society this time is usually filled with shopping, decorating, baking, parties….all wonderful things. BUT, are we also taking a few minutes each day to just reflect on the miracle that occurs in just a few weeks? It can be done in any way that works for you. It can be just a few minutes….just a little time to STOP, BREATHE, and THINK about this special time. JOURNAL a word to reflect on, a page, a sentence, just a thought.
I wish you a gentle Advent….
Our loved ones who have gone before us have joined the communion of saints in heaven.
When I awoke this morning, there seemed to be a running list of these saints…dear parents and parents in law, beloved grandmother (my girlfriend!), gentle sister, dear friends and acquaintances (though I must say the acquaintances usually become friends)….all of these and more have blessed my life in some way. And because of them I've learned countless lessons that have been so valuable in my life. I also think of the many people who have died at our parish and of their families that I've been privileged to help in their journey of grief. There are also so many hospital patients, particularly cancer patients that I have been blessed to know. Each death is significant in a different way, yet each has left a footprint on my heart.
The most shattering, soul altering death, though, has been our precious Meggan. She was almost 15, our youngest child.There are no spoken or written words that could ever describe life without her. Strange how some view death….a woman recently said how wonderful that I've gotten "over it." She didn't know me or our family or anything about the tragic death of Meggan and two of her friends. And I'm positive she wasn't being callous…..she was just clueless…..until she started to think about her 14 year old granddaughter. Perhaps she will remember.
EVERY loss of a loved one is significant. The impact from the sudden deaths of my mom and sister, mother and father in law
and 4 very close friends have never left me…and that's not a bad thing. When you love deeply you hurt deeply.
A dear priest friend of ours always includes this thought in the funerals he celebrates….although your loved ones are "gone," you only have to say their name and they are with you. That's tremendously comforting for me.
Today and every day, utter the names of those you have loved and lost…..they are always with you.
Fall is upon us…..I love fall….the amazing colors of the leaves. On days like today when the sun is shining and the temperature only warrants a lightweight jacket, it's beautiful Indian summer. The brilliance of Creation restores my soul.
Never underestimate the challenges of weather in the Chicago area. We awoke this morning to the loveliest fluffy white snowfall and a once green lawn completely covered in the fluffy stuff. (Within hours it was gone, of course). I'm pretty sure we "heralded" the beginning of spring a couple of weeks ago. And wasn't it just Easter?
Speaking of Easter I keep thinking about the disciples. I've tried putting myself in the their shoes/sandals. Were they in a daze? Didn't they miss their friend, the man they knew to be the Son of God? Was their hope renewed when they saw the empty tomb? Did they wonder where He was…did they believe He had gone to His Father?
In trying to imagine all this, I brought to memory a woman who was a mentor for me, one of the most beautiful souls I've ever met. She kind of floated when she walked, and her smile was always warm and welcoming. She was, among other things, a spiritual director. To me she was Friend, Confidante, Angel, the epitome of Tranquility. Walking into her home I would instantly feel the peace that enveloped her…..everyone (yes, EVERYONE) felt the same way. When she was diagnosed with a terminal illness, she chose to live the rest of her life as she had in the 8 decades before…..loving, trusting, joyful. She knew how to "let go and let God." Several weeks before she died, I was privileged to attend a mass at her home with just family and a few close friends. We celebrated her and she celebrated us. Before I left that night I asked her how I would know how she was and how I would tap into her wisdom. Quietly, gently, she touched me on the shoulder and said "I'll always be with you, like a little bird on your shoulder."
I call on her often and when I see a cardinal I think of her….brilliant colored, beautiful wings floating across the sky.
So, back to the disciples…..did they feel Jesus touch them? Did they carry His messages and lessons with them?
I know that I am forever changed because of "L" and when I need her wisdom, she is there, reminding me to have faith, to carry on in the midst of struggles and conflict, to bring peace to others….and always to Love others unconditionally. Hmmmm, sounds like Jesus...
The stone is rolled back….the tomb is empty…..He Is Risen!!!! ALLELUIA!
It must have been a shock for the disciples to find Him gone. And days later He would walk among them and they wouldn't even recognize Him. Actually, that makes me wonder how many times He has walked with me, and how many times I may not have recognized Him.
We are called to be the human Christ to one another….to help others with their crosses/hardships. Lent makes us very mindful of that in the stations of the cross. But it is good to remember that the Resurrection shouldn't stop us from helping others carry their crosses until the next Lent comes around…rather, it's an ongoing process.
Who needs help with their cross today …. and tomorrow….and the next day?
Easter Blessings and Joy…...
a little girl came into the world….sweet and beautiful. She has grown in her 11 years to a feisty, dynamic, beautiful little girl with such a tender heart. Your gifts are endless, sweet Ally. I can't wait to see where your journey leads you. Our lives are so much richer because of you. We're so glad you were born! We love you!!!!
I feel somewhat delinquent that this is the first post since Lent began…mea culpa!
Today's gospel speaks of the transfiguration of Jesus. I must admit that i don't consciously think of the transfiguration except at this time of year. So, I began to ponder what it means for me to tap into this. I think of transfiguration as meaning change.
One of the songs sung today says "Transfigure us, O Lord…break the chains that bind us.." Powerful words…break the chains.
While we aren't walking around wrapped in chains, we all have things that hold us back, making change more difficult. How do we alter that? Do we get rid of a bad habit that has been nagging us, keeping us from being the best version of ourselves?
Do we need to set aside a few minutes each day to pray, meditate, journal, listen to the spirit within us?
Wherever these next 40 days leads you….I wish you peace and joy.
It hardly seems possible that Jack is turning 14 years old tomorrow!!!! I still remember seeing that little red head enter the world. And as his grandmother, so much joy came with him. Jack, your are such a talented, spirited young man with a loving heart. You are well on your way to becoming an Eagle Scout….not an easy process by any means. It takes years of preparation and dedication (the parents, of course, need to be encouraging and supportive). So, Jack, we want you to have the best birthday ever and to know you are always loved. And remember….we're glad you were born!!!!!! Can't wait to see where this path leads you.
Love you to the moon and back.
Rusty married her high school sweetheart, Jim. They have four children and seven adorable