Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Full Communion

My son has started going to mass.  Sometimes, he has to walk one and a half miles to the nearest bus stop in cold temperatures to catch the bus.  This morning, he paid a friend gas money to take him to the 7 am mass at our local cathedral.  After mass, he went to our catholic book store just down the street and purchased Matt Talbot holy cards and a crucifix, St. Rita and St Maximillan Kolbe medals and a chain. 

His great and urgent desire is to come into the church.......Yesterday!  This is an answered prayer.  So, why do I fear this.......miracle?  Why is it that I prayed fully believing in the possibility of this very thing only to see the possible pitfalls and visions of the past? 
I am Peter.  I keep looking down.  I keep forgetting the possibilities when our Lord steps in that just aren't available without Him.  And so, I am allowing "other voices" to influence seeing this happy time of prayer come to fruition. 
When he went to the bookstore, he told the lady checking him out that he lived in a half way house and she gave him a prayer that I imagine they frequently give out to the homeless and others less fortunate.  It really touched a soft spot in my heart, for many reasons.
One, I know that owner of the book store.  She has a really large section on addiction and she has strategically placed it in a place where those who need to be there have a little privacy.  She doesn't know my son, but my son received the fruit of her works of mercy and I am humbled. 
Secondly, this is the first time that I have ever heard of him showing raw and honest humility.  This shows me real healing.  It really does take an honest spiritual awakening to put away pride and have the joy that comes from realizing that God is with you.....even here.....even at the bottom.
I am so proud of him.  He's digging up and out.  Slowly and taking a lot of steps that are humbling ones.  Sometimes, I look at what he is doing and I think of the fact that this is so far out of the realm of anything I had ever imagined for him, and yet I am amazed.
And so, when he said, "Mom, I just really want to take the body of Christ, when I am at mass."  I pinched myself, and called my best friend in disbelief, making sure that I hadn't been punked or delirious. 
Today, I say a prayer of thanksgiving for miracles.  I ask for an increase of faith.  I pray for my son and yours and for Henry.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Silence is Golden

I traveled to Atlanta Georgia this past weekend to attend a silent retreat based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.  The spiritual exercises are a compilation of meditations, prayers and contemplative practices designed to aid in consideration of creation, sin, repentance and redemption which should help to better discern God's will. 

I arrived at 6:00pm EST on Friday night.  I had been quite stressed because I had allowed fear to take over, once again.  When I arrived, a volunteer named Mary, wearing a blue sweater met me at the door.  Outside of that door there was a sign which reminded me to, "Be still and know that I am God."  My room was simple and beautiful, free from any distractions.  I had a bed, a desk and a bathroom.

We were greeted with a welcome reception and fresh fruit, cheeses and cru de te platter, wine and other soft drinks.  Then we had a marvelous blackened fish dinner with roasted broccoli and strawberry shortcake.  After dinner we went to the chapel and had evening prayers and then silence began.

At first, it was a little odd, but afterwards, it was more of a burden lifted.  I was there to be quiet with God.  It is in silence where you are really able to hear and to calm yourself.  The talks were so fruitful.  The spiritual exercises have a lot of similarities to the 12 steps of AA and there are 12 step retreats held there as well. 

There is so much to say about the retreat that I am saving it for future posts.  I just wanted to point out a few things.  First of all, everyone should try to get away on retreat.  It takes all responsibilities off of your plate for a little while.  And with all of the clutter out of the way, real contemplation can occur and with it comes peace. 

Secondly, I am just in awe sometimes of our recovery community.  I purchased a book called, "Breathing Under Water, Spirituality and the Twelve Steps".  I noticed that another retreatant had been carrying the same book around.  And, so being in a silent environment, we noticed one another.  One day after mass, she walked over to me and just hugged me, and walked away.  I never talked to her.  I didn't have to.  We walk a shared journey.  The characters do not matter.  She could have been the addict, or the mother or wife or sister or doesn't matter.  What matters.........really matters in the whole scheme of things is that we are looking to God for healing and that my friends, in my humble opinion, is the answer.

Praying for you and yours and Henry.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My Dad...(is better than your Dad)!!

The days grow longer.  The seconds of daylight have turned into minutes.  They are beginning to add up enough to feel the difference.  They add up to hope.  I am truly a girl in need of the sun. 

My Dad hated winter.  I remember on particularly cold days....say 20 degrees or below, when we would have days strung together so cold and brittle, that he would look at me and say, " I think it's warming up."  He would have willed winter away if he could have.  I am so much like him.  I never saw it,  until he died.  I loved his spirited personality and his eternal optimism.  I loved his appreciation of the outdoors.  I loved that he came from a rough beginning and did not let it define him.  Most of all I loved how safe he made me feel.  I loved that he never doubted me and always saw my possibilities instead of my limitations. 

My son is doing so well.  Yet, I seem to see all of the possibilities for failure.  I am so thankful that he doesn't live here, for his sake as well as for mine.  I wish for my Dad and his calm steady strength.  I wish that he was here to say, "he's got this, that boy can do anything."  I miss him strutting across the floor "doing his little dance" when he was feeling good or trying to cheer us up. 

My son looks like my dad.  He is quite handsome.  I know you're probably saying,"spoken like a true mom".....but, really he is so handsome.  He;s got my Dad's beautiful dark eyes and skin and his Dad's tall physique.  He is really a good looking fella.  And, he's as smart as a tack.  He's beginning to find his faith.  There is every reason for hope. 

I guess this boils down to me needing to find my faith.  I am reminded that the days grow longer.  The sun shines warmer.  We are about to approach springtime and Easter and new births.  What better things to fertilize my faith? 

My prayer for today is one of thanksgiving for such a loving home that I came from.  I am thankful for the progress that my son has made (he's started telling me about his God moments!)  I pray that one day, I can do a little dance around the room and be the one to remind my kids that they are amazing because they were made by God.  I want to be the one to help them see just how great they are.  I pray for an increase in faith, for your sons and daughters and for Henry.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

On the Journey

I've been busy during these holidays but have slowed enough for a quick update.  Son finished 60 days at the 12 step immersion program and is now living at a recovery house.  He looks so good.  I could be wrong but I believe he has had his own "spiritual awakening."  He has a beautiful new attitude and is working the program.  Thanks be to God. 

Daughters are doing well.  We have signed up to run an upcoming half marathon in April.  I am in the least athletic shape of my life.  This is really just a goal to help get into better shape; better health. My real goal is just to commit to the training required to run it.  Then if I can cross the finish line whether I run, walk or crawl, I don't care.

Christmas was lovely.  We were moved.  Travels completed.  Kids were all together.  I had finished all of the shopping and wrapping and was trying to be very cognizant of what I bought each person and why.  And, then I wrote a little piece that I wanted to read to them.  I think I will share it here.  Merry Christmas everyone, (It's still Christmas till Sunday, you know). 

I buy these gifts, keeping in mind, who you each are as individuals, created uniquely by God, and try to look for items, tokens, that will make your life easier or better, or perhaps just bring you joy.  And, I do this because I love you so much and this is a concrete way for me to show you that:  You are loved, You are loved, You are loved, You are loved….in a way that I am able to show you. 

But, sitting in adoration one Saturday, I began to unpack the reasons why I shop/select the items that I do and why I do it.  I was trying so very hard to look at each of you to boil down your real needs and I came to the conclusion that your needs are all the same.  You each need to be loved.  You need the assurance and trust that you are loved. 

You need to know love, from me, so that one day, you can fathom the love that our Father in heaven freely offers.  That is THE gift of Christmas and every day.  The best gift that I can give you is love.  There is no material item that I will ever choose that will substitute your need to be loved.  So, please know that these gifts are not intended to put a price on your value.  They are merely items that will soon be forgotten. 

Our family has been through so much.  We have weathered deaths, illness, storms, financial difficulties, and a world of change.  And, here we are, together.  We are all working to heal in a myriad of ways. 

We are trying to learn to love in such a way that the other knows, feels and understands the depth of the love that Dad and I have for each other and for each of you individually.  We won’t always show you love in beautifully wrapped presents under the tree.  Sometimes we will show you by doing the hard things, saying the unpleasant things and choosing a more difficult path.  We won’t find pleasure in any of it.  But, we will do it because we are learning to love as God did.  He loved us so much that He gave His only son up to death on a cross for us.  That kind of love is hard for us to show, but we are learning that it is the kind of love that cannot be avoided if you are to be happy and healthy. 

Our greatest job is to help you one day find your way to heaven.  As I watch the news, I realize that it is not an easy task.  But,  I pray that each of you can  begin to grow your relationship with Him each and every day.  I hope this for you because when you do, you will discover who God created you to be and when you start that find your way, it will bring the most amazing joy, regardless of any obstacle that might have brought you down before.  That is the gift I would give you if I could.