our collective stories of personal epiphanies. wise men and seeing stars. big and little miracles and trustful surrender. wouldn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things unless they point to the fact that: GOD is all.
that is my motto for 2011.
i didn’t choose it.
it chose me 13 days ago when a wise man told me: “you must come to the mountains with your mother.”
“we never know,” he said, “how much time we have with the ones we love.”
“yes, daddy,” i said. ” i will go.”
i won’t lie and say that i didn’t briefly entertain all of the things i could get done with my husband working out of town. (maybe just sending the little kids in my stead, as i have done before).
but none of that matters now. because i did go.
and there was the miracle of snow. “i prayed for snow and God heard.” said the baby to me.
his beaming face so close to mine that i could feel his sweet breath.
there were deer.
and beautiful stars in the clear night sky.
life is so overflowing with miracles and God listening.
because what happened there. in that desolate place.
surrounded by majestic mountain peaks reaching higher than i could ever imagine climbing and pines hundreds of years old.
was one of those soul wounding, yet grace-filled moments.
that make you realize how every detail in our lives is so carefully placed and orchestrated by the hands of THE Creator.
for in that cozy home on a hill. a home that always has been.and still is. a place of refuge for us. when the busyness of life is almost too much to bear. my dear mother had a terrible accident. she lost her balance somehow in the split-level dining room and fell to the stone floor in the family room. hitting her head on a little wooden school desk on the way down she fractured her skull.
it all happened so fast.
in a literal instant our peace was shattered.
my little girl’s words: “help her mama, she fell.”
did not prepare me for the impact of finding my mother unconcious in a pool of blood.
a blow to her head. a blow to my heart.
panic and hysteria set in so rapidly.
how could this be? i kept thinking. she cannot die like this.
how could we be happily chatting about what we’d have for lunch. sipping tea by the fire and getting ready to do some hand-sewing one minute and in this terrible predicament the next?
we were alone. my girl. my mama and i.
my dad had taken the boys on a hike and the snow prevented me from doing so many things.
with limited cell phone service and what seemed like a million other obstacles we stepped outside of time and into eternity to entreat the help of Something. SOMEONE much greater than all of those obstacles.
stepping outside of those parameters of time can be so awful for those us bound in time. because every minute seems like an endless eternity itself.
the help that was to be had from 911 operators. firemen. paramedics. was all hindered by the snow and our location.
constantly shifting from that hysteria to anger. to shivering from fright. and/or cold. numbly. foggily. mechanically. i began to do what i could.
scared. limited. stupid. feebly. i began doing my best in my imperfect state of trust, the only rational thing that came to my mind: call repeatedly on THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS. and His Blessed Mother.
i begged God to spare her. to keep her safe. that help in some other form besides me and my daughter would come.
plagued by wanting my will to be done now. not in ten minutes or twenty. every minute that she lay there bleeding was precious.
this kind of fear is wild and primitive. the terrified kind of fear that nightmares are made of. the kind of fear that one does not expect to encounter in this age of technology and resources.
i had never needed God like i did then. so promptly and completely.
and never had i ever felt so abandoned by Him either.
“i sought Him and did not find Him, i called Him and He did not answer.” (Sg. 3)
not on my time anyway.
but at last He heard me.
and there were more miracles.
like how her wound had stopped bleeding by the time the firemen arrived. and how she didn’t need stitches or break anything else. how the bleeding in her brain remained stable enough not to need surgery. and how after 5 days in intensive care she was released with minor bruising. headaches and nausea. and while those things have been difficult to deal with, it could have been so much worse.
Fulton Sheen says: life is mingled with death. truth with error. love with hate. but GOD is the ultimate goal in life. from Him we come and in HIM alone do we find our peace.
it became clear later, “when my soul was suddenly illumined with the light of grace, cleansed from all defilement of sin, and felt itself filled with consolation. and with spiritual strength and unspeakable joy, i could then say to HIM: your Name, O Lord, is for me oil poured out. for the grace of Your visitation makes me fully understand the true meaning of Your Name, which is JESUS. Savior.” (Fr. Hilton, 1396)
the ONE Who saves. Who has the power to save. is not a disinterested spectator in the lives of His children.
even in a season of joy, we are reminded of the cross. the delights of Christmas and epiphany do not spare us from sickness. suffering. or death. (january 2011 magnificat p. 109)
He is ever-present.
not only in our grace-filled moments. but also our most terrified moments. and even in our ordinariest and mundanest of moments. all are very dear and precious to HIM.
so here is to happy endings. new beginnings. and second chances.
that i plunged into this new year totally out of sorts is very humbling.
i had so planned on getting my act together. re-organizing things around here.
but my father’s prophetic words continue to haunt me a bit. we really don’t know how much time we have with the ones we love. and there always be someone up for a game of scrabble. or wanting to snuggle and read a story. and then there are all those dishes and laundry that tend to pile up. especially when something terrible happens.
yes, life does go on.
everything has changed and nothing has changed.
we are a little busier. a bit more tired. going back and forth between my parents’ house and here.
a dear priest friend who said mass for us yesterday said that when the matriarch of the family has lost a considerable amount of blood it is like an oblation poured out. it is something holy. and our lives should be changed forever in the Eternal Word.
i feel like those words brought me full circle. back to where this all began. back to the Holy Name of Jesus.
ET VERBUM CARO FACTUM EST.
the Word Who is.
and how our whole lives are like an oblation that we offer to Him.
let us see to it that we take nothing of our oblation back.
and that, friends, is where i will end this.
this pouring out…..