Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mary, the first Steel Magnolia

I've often talked about how we enable the addict.  I had done just that in many many ways.  I had protected him by hiding something from my family because I wanted to eliminate another bomb being dropped.  I felt like I had hit my stress quota.  It was dishonest and I lacked faith and for those things, I am truly sorry.  The problem is that the bomb tends to grow with time, as does my fear of exposing it. 

The truth came to light and the bomb exploded, imploded and threw shrapnel.  My intent was to protect but it just never really works out. 

Now I felt injured.  I felt misunderstood.  I felt like what was already broken was just continuing to break.  I started to fear.  I started to imagine all sorts of bad endings.  I started to panic.  Feeling totally alone, I called my best friend.  She listened and said in a very determined voice, " You get up right now and go to the adoration chapel."  She went on giving me a laundry list of prayers that I was to say.  "You need a mother right now;  pray the rosary;  Mary will help you through this time."   She didn't say, "Aww bless your heart."  no, she gave my frozen self that smack in the face that brings you back to reality.

In a childlike stupor, I did just what I was told.  I got in the car and drove 15 minutes to the adoration chapel.  Once inside, I begin by praying, "I don't know what to do."   Psalms 46:1 says, " God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble."  He, the real presence, was there.  I saw him, felt him. and heard him.  I began to calm down.  I began to hear his fatherly advice.  No, I didn't hear a voice.  I began to get thoughts that were real ways of positively moving on. 

A wise saying is that you should talk 10% of the time and listen 90% of the time.  I think this is the beauty of the adoration chapel.   I was forced to listen.  I arrived in this place a humiliated soul.   I was at the bottom.  Any pride that I might have felt before was gone.

The idea that humility is a bad trait is such a misunderstanding.   I have heard some define humility as the state of being teachable.  C.S. Lewis said that "humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less."
I spent two hours in this holy place.  I read about humility.  I prayed.  I listened.  I began to see a pattern of the strong women in my life.    My best friend did not have the world's reaction of giving advice on how to proceed.   No, she sent me to Mary and Jesus.

 My friend has eight children.  They are of various races, from different places, with different capabilities and she is this tiny person who makes it all work.  I have seen her go for an entire year praying for a child that God had set aside just for her and then travel to Ethiopia to bring her home.  Language, learning and culture barriers have not been able to keep the love away that she brings to this child.   She makes it work with God's beautiful grace.  She is such a role model.  She even has time to parent her aging friend. 

Then I thought of my favorite cousin.  She has three children.  Two of her children battle a chronic disease.  She has a full time job of tending to daily treatments and medicines which are necessary to keep them healthy.  She is the most humble person that I know. 

The other day she told me the most interesting story.  She was part of a chat for parents of children who have the disease her children have.  Another family had requested prayers and if anyone could,  some financial assistance.  This disease makes it so hard for both parents to work.  Another person in the chat started complaining about her request.  My cousin had the right perspective.  She said that the way she felt about it, that even one more prayer obtained for her children was a blessing.  She felt that there shouldn't be any other judgements.  Do what you can or what you like. 

What struck me about this story was the value that she placed on prayer.  That was such an extraordinary display of faith.  I was so impressed.  She is also a tiny little gal that no one should ever underestimate.  She quietly, strongly gets things done in the midst of fear and worry. 

Then there is Mary, our role model.  She said "Fiat."  She gave birth in less than ideal circumstances, knowing that she would give her child up.  Then, she stood at the foot of that cross and watched what no parent would ever wish to see.  At her son's direction, she still mothers us today.  She prays for us when we ask.  She prays for our children. 

Robert Ludlum, author of "The Road to Gandolfo", said "There was a will of steel beneath the soft magnolia exterior.  This describes the role models that God has placed along my path; steel magnolias.  I am so blessed. 

If we remember in times of adversity, to go to our Lord, we will get the right advice.  But, there's a bonus.....there's peace and direction.  Today my prayer is for anyone who suffers to always retreat in prayer.  I am thankful for my wonderful role models.  I pray for those suffering from addiction and as always, a prayer for Henry. 

1 comment:

coffeemom said...

now you made me cry. (and can I say revisionist memory? but….works for me).