Lessons From Ohio

I learned a few things this weekend on my trip to Ohio, for the celebration of Stella Mariae 15th year as a household (sorority but not. Sisterhood is more like it. Sisterhood that prays and follows a convenant.) So I’m sharing my lessons.


# 1. Do not skip your child’s nap and keep him awake for the car ride to the airport by singing too loudly, with the hopes he’ll sleep on the plane. He won’t.


# 2. The Holy Spirit moves. He moves. Sometimes like a dancer across a stage, fluid and elegant and gentle. And sometimes like a storm. He chose the latter this weekend. He went behind my back and without my consent, moved. He used people and places and memories and words until He planted Himself directly into my heart, so forcefully He knew I’d be obligated to comply.


# 3. Not everyone is judging me. And not everyone is mad at me for getting pregnant. In fact, I looked into the eyes of some women this weekend and felt more love than I have in a long, long time. No hatred or comparison or harsh thoughts. Just love. Understanding even. Because we all sin. Mine was just for all to see. It’s ok to be transparent. Sometimes, it can even be good.


# 4. It is time to leave my home. That I need to be ok with living my own life, not always making my decisions off of the people around me. Like my parents. My parents, they have been nothing but good to me. My father, who by no fault of his own is losing more of his memory everyday. My father, who will never lose his profoundness, his ability to strike you when you least expect it with the blinding force of love. My father, who when I finally spoke the words out loud to him that I was pregnant, my eyes to the floor, looked at me and said, “No Johnna, this is not a tragedy, and don’t you dare call it that. Never again will I hear you refer to this as a tragedy. A tragedy is the family whose only son committed suicide yesterday. THAT is a tragedy.” My father, who loves Levi with his entirety. And my mother. My simple, kind, beautiful mother. Who has always put everything aside to help me. When me, after much protest and naturally aggressive words to my mom, turned into a pile of mush during labor and only wanted her mommy. I’ll never live that one down, that’s for sure. Well, it’s time to leave them. And that’s ok.


# 5. God may never move slowly in my life. It’s been 48 hours and suddenly I have a different direction.


# 6. That I’m not cool. Nothing goes with this one.


# 7. Standing in a room full of over 100 women and I could look to my left or to my right and begin to pour my heart out to any one of them. That is special. And rare. And should be treasured. That when we think we don’t need community we are lying to ourselves. That conversation can be like water to the soul.


# 8. Angels still sing loudly during mass at Franciscan.


# 9. That I can confidently be the unique mother that I am. And that my child, regardless of how crazy his mother is, will be attached to me. That every second is a calling to be the holiest, most honest version of myself, for his sake. I truly thought I couldn’t travel for two days on my own with my own son. I was nervous enough to almost throw up before that first plane ride. Where, I’ll add, a fifty something year old man scoffed at me when he saw his seat was next to me and mine, and immediately complained to the flight attendant, who then booted us to the very last seat on the plane, not exaggerating. So I started my trip with the walk of shame down the aisle, sweating like a tool even though it wasn’t hot. Thanks US airways. Anyway, by the flight home, Levi and I were one. He wasn’t anxious on the plane because I wasn’t a wreck. He follows my lead. And I learned that I can do this. Want to know how I know? Because in the airport on the way home, when Levi decided to crawl out across from our gate to the next, and right where he was heading was a bird sipping water from the HUMAN water fountain like it was no big deal, but because my son wanted to go in that direction I followed him, getting far too close to that bird for my liking, that is how I know. P.S. I’m deathly afraid of birds. Sob my eyes out if one touches me, afraid. Won’t exit through my garage at home if there’s a bird in there, afraid.


# 10. Sometimes we need to do things we don’t want to do. We need to cast out laziness and difficulties and just go where we are being called to go. I knew I had to go to reunion, but I hadn’t made the efforts to do so. But, the Holy Spirit used other people to get me there. I am so thankful. Kindness can go so, so far. So do the little things, always. Be small, because it goes a long, long way.


Gosh I learned so much so quickly, but I haven’t finished processing it all yet. I’m going to be making some changes soon, leaving home, going in a different direction, and I’m thrilled about it. I’m thrilled because I felt again this weekend what it means to have family scattered throughout the entire country, and how good it can be to just open up and let people in. Mother Teresa reminds us, “if we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”


So let’s pray for all those who do not have community, do not have someone to call their friend. Because the pain of that, it must be devastating. So we pray.


Now I’ve got to go to sleep, because I have an infection that is currently residing in my right ear, my nose, my throat, and my lungs, naturally. But it was certainly well earned.


Love.

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