Posted in family life

sickness, trucks, and night-time prayers – a rather rambling post

It’s been a long week – Rondel woke up Wednesday morning with a fever but essentially no other symptoms; by Friday he was up to 103 and throwing up. According to the doctor at the urgent care, he had an ear infection and probably strep throat as well, poor kid. We’ve been very thankful for antibiotics and firetruck videos this weekend!

(For anyone else with truck-crazed toddlers, there is a cool series called “Mighty Machines” that we’ve been enjoying. It basically just shows you what different types of trucks do, using real trucks with voice-overs so that it’s like the trucks themselves are describing how they work and what they do. It’s at a kids’ level without talking down to the audience, and has a slow, relaxed feel to it so it won’t get your kid too hyper!)

On top of the sickness, Rondel has been having a resurgence of separation anxiety, which from what I’ve read is fairly common at his age, which means either my husband or I (usually my husband) has been lying down with him to help him go to sleep. (I’m of the opinion that meeting my kids’ needs with love is better than ignoring them, or leaving him to panic and cry alone until he falls asleep from sheer exhaustion – after all, if I were anxious and tired and just wanted someone to hold me – which has definitely happened in my adult life and is more likely to happen at certain hormonal junctures if you know what I mean! – I would feel so much more loved and valued if my husband met those needs. Or wants. But they’re pretty powerful emotional desires, and while I can rationalize enough to understand that they’re not necessarily needs and that my husband has other demands on his time, I don’t expect my two-year-old to have that ability. But I digress.)

Anyway, last night I laid with him and he didn’t fall asleep until almost 10. I kept thinking he was asleep but then I would move and he would roll over and not feel me there and his scared little voice would say, “Mommy?” so I’d have to reassure him again. I was really starting to feel exhausted and exasperated – I just wanted to walk out and tell him it was time to go to sleep, and let him cry, because my reserve of love to give was just about dried up. I tried to pray but even my prayers felt dry, my words hollow, my heart not in it. Maybe this was because I was just praying for him to go to sleep instead of praying for the grace to love him better…

I don’t remember why, but instead of continuing to try to pray those futile, self-centered little prayers of desperation, I started to pray the Rosary over my boy as I sat by the side of his bed and held his hand (my back was hurting too much by that point to continue to lie down next to him). And as the words left my mouth – written, memorized, unoriginal words, as my Protestant background would call them – my heart seemed to fill back up with love. I prayed the three Hail Marys for faith, hope, and love, and I realized my own lack of love for my little boy who just needed and wanted the reassurance of his parents’ presence and love for him. His little hand tightened on my fingers and I thought about how Mary must have felt at the foot of the cross, seeing her baby boy dying in excruciating pain, unable to help him, maybe remembering how his little hand had slipped into hers so trustingly and innocently all those years ago, at that moment when she knew she’d never be able to feel his hand in hers again. And I prayed the first decade for the day – the glorious mystery of the resurrection from the dead – and prayed with all my heart for my son to enter into the fullness of life that her son came to give us, and for my life here and now to be filled with that new and righteous life as well, that I might love more completely.

It’s been a long week but we are not alone. Even in the darkness in the middle of the night, our Mother is there to hold us and help us and take us back to her Son, our Lord, who is even nearer than she, and loves us even more.

Posted in musings

My Prayer

That peace would make his dwelling in this home –

That anxieties and fears would fade away.

That love might write the music of our hearts,

And shape the words our lips will come to say.

That faith would guide our footsteps through the years –

That in hard times our hearts would seek God’s light.

That hope would give us strength to run with courage

In the beauty of the day or the sorrow of the night.

Posted in musings

which way? thoughts on blind bartimaeus

“And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.’ And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ And the blind man said to Him, ‘Rabbi, let me recover my sight.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your faith has made you well.’ And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.” – Mark 10:46-52

Blindness was an incredible limitation in the ancient world; Bartimaeus would have been unable to learn a trade or seek employment, and was reduced to begging on the side of the road, likely without family or close friends, marginalized, on the edge of society. It’s no wonder he cried out so passionately for Jesus to show him mercy and heal him! And even his pleas were hushed up by the crowd, who, perceiving him as less valuable than a seeing person, thought his cries for mercy irritating, embarrassing, or simply not important enough to bother Jesus with. (Do we still do that today? Yes, of course, for a plethora of reasons – we shunt away the pleas of the poor, the oppressed, those who tax our resources or drain us emotionally, telling them to stop bothering us with their cries for mercy. We could stand to be a lot more like Jesus and less like the crowd…)

What really stood out to me in this passage, though, was Bartimaeus’s choice following his miraculous healing. Surely he had been holding onto cherished, impossible dreams through all his years of exclusion and inability – surely there were things he had been longing to do and to see his whole life, as he did the best he could in his poverty and loneliness! But with the whole world of opportunity opened up before him by the gift of sight, with the open invitation of Jesus to go his own way and follow his own dreams, what did Bartimaeus do? He followed Jesus on his way.

Right in the midst of the great crowd who had been silencing his pleas for mercy only minutes earlier.

Jesus was greater to him than all the hopes and dreams he’d held of a restored and normal life. Jesus was greater to him than all the condescension and bigotry of the people following him. So he decided that his way would be Jesus’s way, and he went with him on the road.

Posted in family life, phfr

{pretty, happy, funny, real} – sister time!

For the link-up at LMLD this week I have the pictures from my sister’s visit from Seattle! It was so nice to have the whole family together for a few days, enjoying each other’s company.

{pretty}

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Just look at those beautiful fat baby cheeks! Limerick may be short but he isn’t lacking when it comes to rolls of plumpness.

{happy}

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My sweet little sister playing with Rondel – he took to her right away despite his typical reservations around new people – maybe he remembered her from his infancy, or picked up on the love and family vibe going around. Either way it made me so happy to see them together, two of the people I love most in the whole world.

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And another happy! My sister’s husband acting silly for the benefit of the baby 🙂 Funny how babies always seem to bring out the ridiculous and disarmingly un-self-conscious side in people.

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And when it comes to funny things babies do? Apparently Limerick decided that beer would be a tasty and appropriate substitute for his normal milk and water! Watch out dear Auntie!

{real}

For the real I don’t actually have a picture, just a confession – these pictures are from way back in June! I just finally uploaded them onto my computer this week. But the joy of spending so much time together was too good to pass up on posting, despite the delay.

”round

Posted in musings

the reception of love

When I’m closest and most intimate with my husband, my mind ponders the nature and essence of woman as woman and of man as man. I believe that our bodies and our souls were both designed by God for function and beauty, and that as a result our bodies reflect truth about the nature of our being. Put another way, our bodies are gendered, so some aspect at least of our being is gendered, and understanding our femininity or masculinity is necessary to understanding the fullness of our being. Our bodies of course are broken and subject to sin, and the image of ourselves and of God that we see in them is faulty and incomplete. But even in the beginning, when the world was unstained, “God made them male and female.”

I’ve never come across another definition of the essence of masculinity and femininity (and the difference between them) quite as beautiful and succinct as Leila Lawler’s over at Like Mother, Like Daughter, where she describes the man as the one whose vocation is to give and the woman as the one whose vocation is to receive that she might give in return. So in marriage the man gives his love and the woman receives it, and in the receiving gives back the love in the creation of the child. (Read her post for more depth – I don’t want to take her ideas and anyway, she expresses them more beautifully and clearly than I ever could).

This understanding of man and woman then becomes my springboard for understanding the church. For the church is the bride of Christ. We are all, in the cosmic sense, in our relation to God, feminine. A church that relies solely on the masculine image of God, that sees the good only in the initiating, powerful, authoritative things, will fail to understand who God is (God in whose image both male and female were created) but will even more completely fail to understand its own nature and purpose as the Bride. We, the church, are intended like the woman to receive love that we might pour it back out in return. God bestows, we receive; and our reception is not the end of our love and vocation, but the beginning. The church gestates within herself the new life that God is preparing for His children and for all creation, and it is through the church – through our labor of love, through our suffering in childbirth, that the new life will finally come into its own. It is of course His life in us, His love in us, that is making it all happen. But He has chosen to make it happen in us and through us, just as He chose the new life of the baby to come about in the woman and through the woman, though without the life-giving seed of the man it could never have come to be at all.

Posted in family life, musings, quotes

our world

we are a little family in a big world.

ours is a little home in a big city.

but if our family and our home can be a little drop of peace in the ocean of chaos

or a little oasis of grace and renewal in the parched and barren desert

or a little open window into the great wide expanse of beauty and wonder

then we will have done well.

“The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. I realized that if every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness and there would be no wild flowers to make the meadows gay… Perfection consists in doing His will, in being that which He wants us to be.” – St. Therese of Lisieux