My son, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials…
It is Super Bowl Sunday. I want to care, to have a team that gives me hope and is fun to cheer for. I want to sit around with good company and eat fresh salsa and talk about things that absolutely don’t matter at all. Instead, I stayed home and laid with my back on the floor, my son in the same position next to me, and told him all about life in Haiti. I told him about change and difficulties and how I swear to God I will build an underground castle if that’s what it takes to protect him. Then we’d laugh for a good while, because why not?, and all the while he looked at me like I was passing down to him the secrets to life.
There’s a heaviness in me today that cracked open during mass this morning, and has been since slowly spilling out of me. I stood in the back, alone, Levi was napping at home with my mom, and I longed so deeply for community. To look to my left and right and see my friends, the ones who have become family. I closed my eyes and saw them scattered around the world. Katie in her sundress, swatting the heat and flies from her face in Haiti. Bach, in her elegant way, walking into mass, greeting the whole campus of Franciscan. Megan, most likely asleep still, her blonde hair a tangled nest shielding her ears from the billion calls I had already made to her that morning. There are so many of them, friends, who all come together in the Eucharist. But I wanted them next to me. I want to feel them near me, to remind me that moments of heaviness pass, that I’m not really alone.
And of course, we have days like these to remind us of who we are. To refocus us. To make us feel the cross for a bit. It is winter still, the bitter and the cold are still with us. The thawing has yet to begin. I remember when I first moved to Haiti and having that incredibly overwhelming knowledge that you can’t do something hit me. Sirach 2, it became my shield.
Accept whatever befalls you, in crushing misfortune be patient
I would walk through the mountains with these words pounding through my head. That with Him there is hope, there is always change, and there is always something for you.
Now, these words hold even closer to me. They rock me to sleep and they sing me awake. They echo in my walls as I pass, the creak on the stairs when I step. They remind me to breathe. To embrace.
You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy, turn not away lest you fall
Turn not away. Now that I have put so much behind me, it does often feel like I really am just living on “play.” No rewinds or fast forwards. Just here, now. I play “where’s Levi?” for so long I start to imagine what I look like if someone saw me, but the joy inside me, the kind of joy that isn’t felt but rather grown, it curves all around me, calming me. There is absolutely nothing I would trade for motherhood. Well I should say, for Levi. For the ability to slow down, to live inside this moment, however lonely it may be.
So when I finally stopped pitying myself for not feeling like I had anywhere to go tonight, I realized how lucky I am to have a little dude to laugh with. A little man who has no clue how crazy of a mother he was given. At least not yet. It’s 8:49, and I’m blessed to be going to bed.
I think I just wanted to say, that no matter how alone you feel, you’re not. You’re simply just not. You’re not a failure either. Be patient in trials. In transitions. In moments that make you bleed. Because,
For equal to his majesty is the mercy that he shows.