Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Mother's Love

You were a surprise but a welcome one.

Mother knew if you were going to exist or not, but it's always a surprise to find out when you existed.

Mother's body protected you, naturally and automatically, as you grew within her. Mother's body fed you, helped you breathe, and protected you from the outside elements and from those that might hurt you. She, like every mother, instinctively would hold her hands in front of herself, resting on her belly, in front of you. I call it the Mother Pose.

Where she went, you went. What she ate, you ate. What she felt, you felt.

Mother made a home for you then and prepared one for your arrival into the World. She tried to make it as comfortable as possible, but sometimes things don't work the way it's planned. She may have had to move to a different place suddenly or had no money to insure a luxurious place for you. So, she did what she had to do...always.

When it was time for you to make your appearance, she found herself in a place of having to hope and pray all would be well. But she trusted that it would. She knew that it would.

You burst into the World with magnificence, Hope, and surrounded by love and welcomes!

From that moment on, Mother had to protect you in a different way. She felt such love for you that she would die for you. The sword through her heart always, was that you would go before her and she'd have to remain here without you.

She made sure you learned, had what you needed, even if it wasn't all you wanted. But, maybe you didn't ask for much anyway. Mother wanted you happy and carefree in your childhood. She knew being an adult in the World would be tough for you (understatement of the century!). She had many dreams for you but knew what happens, happens.

There were times you were hurt as you grew that she felt the hurt. You were insulted and so was she. You went without and she felt the pangs. Mother was at your side until the time came when she could no longer protect the child and had to let go.

As an adult you took off to live your life. Mother trusted that all had been done to prepare you for what was coming in your adulthood. She knew some of what you were doing and why...but not all. What momma does? Who really knows when and how life will be that they can fully prepare? Mother considered this and trusted. It was all she could do.

Mother watched as the World kicked you around, spoke badly about you, and betrayed you. You suffered and her heart felt like it would burn a hole in her chest. My baby! But, you aren't a baby, anymore. I think every mother has amnesia that makes her only remember you in her arms, right after birth, and that feeling of wanting to hold onto you forever, to smell your lovely little head, touch your cheek, or pat your back to comfort you.

I like to think that.

Yet I know there are mothers that are emotionally or mentally incapable of supplying affection, protection, or love to their children. I pray for them all. I've read and heard stories of emotional and physical abuse, attempts at harming or even killing, making sure a child feels worthless, and leaving them to wonder why they were even born.

All were born for a reason. Ask me the reason, I'll shrug. It is revealed in its own time for everyone. 

So, Mother had to watch as you died. Such sorrow is unimaginable unless you've experienced it, personally. She had to remain as strong as possible for her other "sons and daughters". She knew it was coming. She knew what she must do. She trusted.

She watched her son and her God die upon a cross. I can't conceive of the faith and strength that must have taken.

With His final breaths, He told her she was to be Mother to everyone now.

And with that, I think her heart felt a little lighter. As dedicated to being, as she said, the Handmaid of the Lord, she still feels the sorrow but it's different. We rejoice that she said, "Yes" to God's request of her and know that we, her children, can be comforted by Our Mother, today. We relate to her as a mother, as a woman, as a nurturer of all, whether we have children of our own or not. We all should know we have God's very own loving mother whispering our prayers into His ear and dispensing the Graces He sends. I love my earthly mother and my heavenly one!

I dedicate this to all children in need of mamas.

I, also, dedicate this to all mothers....especially those who have lost their children. Be at peace, for they are in the arms of Our Lord Jesus and His mama and our mama, the Blessed Virgin Mary.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Wandering Eyes Sometimes Catch Good Things

I sat next to yet another elderly lady that I only recognized by face and not by name.

Once again, as my eyes took in the scene around me, there were many others in the same category in my once-sharp brain. I've known many of the faces for many years, yet cannot, for the life of me, tell you their names. Still, we smile at one another, give each other a sign of Peace, and we listen together to passages of the Holy Bible being read by lectors and the Deacon of the Church, and we spend time together at different functions.

While the Monsignor gave his homily, speaking of marriage, of love, of commitment, of the trials encountered, and of getting through those trials, something caught my eye. It was a something but more of someone. In fact, there were two 'someones'.

A couple with names I know because they are the most American plainest names invented were seated about 7 pews ahead of me. John and Mary (Ellen). They sat together, close together, practically leaning on one another. They are a much older couple and very much in love.

I've known them a long time and know they have a beautiful marriage. He adores her and she adores him. She's a talented artist and he is her biggest supporter. They both show love in their greetings whenever we meet. There may be no such thing, they would say, but I would call them the Perfect Couple.

I felt embarrassed as if I was intruding on an intimate moment as Father spoke and they looked at one another, alternating whispering in each others ears and smiling and listening to our Pastor. It was such a private beautiful moment. I realized that I should have looked away but I couldn't. The more being said about love and marriage and weddings from the pulpit, the closer they got until he lifted the arm he'd had wrapped around her shoulders, the arm with the hand she'd been absentmindedly touching. He moved it because it had become uncomfortable. Since his ailment, I know that leaving a limb in one position for too long can become uncomfortable, even painful. But, he just had to do it. He was feeling it and did it.

Father was saying something about how you should know everything humanly possible about the man or woman you intend to marry. John leaned over smiling and said something quietly to his bride of many years. She laughed a little back at him. They'd weathered the storms. You could just tell if you were paying attention.

They stayed close together until she arose to fulfill her duty as a Eucharistic Minister. She'd done it so smoothly and unobtrusively that I must have looked surprised at her suddenly holding the Host in front of me as I approached, reverently. I'd never seen her move, which shows how deep in the moment I was!

"Body of Christ."

After the final Blessing, as everyone pushed to find their way out to their cars, I kept my eyes on the tall, handsome John. He made his way slowly up the aisle with eyes downcast and holding tightly to his walker while his lovely wife said her greetings to others near their original seat. I've never seen a man use a walker and still exude such dignity and humility, simultaneously.

People slowed behind him until they finally, bottle-necked where he was laboriously making his way out. As he passed, I had little care for how it looked or if I held anyone else up. I made my way directly in front of him, put both hands on his arms. He looked up, smiled big, and said, "I love you!"

I told him, "I love you, too. And your Little Church makes our Little Church stronger.". He knew exactly what I meant.

Because, you see, to be married is, indeed, to have a vocation like a priest. It is a vocation. My husband and I and others have little churches that are meant to show what God can do with us (when we let Him!), to do good works, to be charitable, and to spread love as we were blessed to be given each other and joined together in matrimony. I couldn't think of anything else to say that would have meant more so I kissed his cheek and walked away, brightened by John's million-dollar smile that could melt a heart.

He continued on his way. I reflected on the earlier scene and imagined The Meeting, The Courting, The Wedding, The Fights, The Make-ups, The Planning, The Children, The Family, The Aging, The Wonderful Life they'd had, so far, together.

I wept with joy praying we all can be a fraction as loving, strong, happy, and faithful as John and Mary Ellen.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Strange Children

If I were to list how I was as a child, you'd question my sanity.

I'm going to do it, anyway.

I took things apart. Clocks, telephones, tape recorders, radios, a typewriter, and anything else I could get my hands on. I never put them back together. I just wanted to see what was inside.

I hid in closets waiting for my mom and brother to look for me until I, eventually, fell asleep. I don't know if they looked for me or not.

I folded foil chewing gum wrappers onto my teeth to pretend I had orthodontic braces.

I poked the lenses from cheap sunglasses to pretend I had prescription glasses. (Future Nerd, here!)

I folded cellophane tape around my fingers to pretend I had long, glamorous fingernails. (Future Karsdashian, here!)

I unfolded wire hangers, stretched rubber bands across them and played the 'harp'.

I had a talk show. I had a variety show like Carol Burnett. I was a prima ballerina who also tap-danced like Ginger Rogers but never made it up onto my hurt.

I wore t-shirts on my head to have long hair like Cher and the Barbie dolls I didn't own.

I sat backwards on the closed toilet seat and created Chemist's experiments with whatever fluids, powders, and granules we had in the house.

I would find the smallest place as my go-to place to read my books...Again with the closets.

I rowed boats from the inside of empty cardboard boxes.

I drove cars from the same box.

I would lie underneath our Christmas tree looking up at the lights for hours.

I punched the buttons on old house phones in numerical order, 1-2-3, 11-12-13, all the way up to over 1,647...possibly more.

I dreamed of exploring old decrepit houses with many floors and many rooms, just to see what was there.

I listened to old music and watched old movies that were definitely out of my age-range, even foreign ones.

I had to jump around on the furniture to avoid the 'hot lava' on the floor.

I'd lie under tables to read my comic books.

I decided I wanted to be a botanist in 3rd grade. Even after I'd lost interest, I continued to say it because it seemed to amuse the adults in the family.

When my mother tried to tell me about menstruation, I asked, "Do you mean like administration?"

I have  a scar on my chin from being held by my older brother, yelling for him to let me go. He did.

My favorite place to go was up a tree in the middle of Lincoln Park in Chicago.

My favorite food was fried rice mixed with cole slaw.

I never had a favorite color. Still don't.

I had  'crushes' at 7 years old on Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson.

I can remember crying uncontrollably when Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. I didn't know why. I just knew it was sad.

I'd also cry every Easter when I saw a crucifix, at Christmas, and whenever people talked of Jesus.

I liked having "P" parties where you buy all things that started with a "p", like potato chips, popcorn, peanuts, Pepsi, get the idea.

My least favorite place to go was the Laundromat. Although, I'd often imagine what it would be like to be inside of the rolling drum of the automatic dryer.

I thought my Grandparents' bedroom was a mysterious place, especially their closet where Paw Paw's old saxophone sat dusty and un-played for so many years.

I envied Pippi Longstocking's life.

I could go on. I won't.

I think my imagination has served me well into my adulthood. I'm more observant, can anticipate actions of others, and can still amuse myself.

Why do we grow up and leave our imagination behind? We shouldn't let that happen. It makes us feel immature or 'goofy' if we give in to impulses once we are grown-ups. We shouldn't let that happen, either. The children around us are thinking, feeling, considering, imagining, creating private little worlds, and they should never be discouraged. You never know what may come of it.

If you noticed, I didn't mention a video game, cellphone, store-bought toys or computers. Curiosity must stay alive and well in us all and our Free Spirits kept alive or we risk becoming those 'bored', boring, sad, angry, unsatisfied people that no one wants to be around.

Challenge? Do something silly today. Reboot.