“Home” for the Holidays

What was happening? Describe the circumstances.  During the week between Christmas and New Years I was sitting around the table in the evening after dinner with my husband, our children and their spouses with the young grandchildren playing in the background. Nothing profound was being said, just reliving the same old stories and memories of years gone by.

How did it feel? I felt so complete like the proverbial chicken with her chicks gathered around her. Wholeness. At home. Peaceful. Contentment. The word “happy” is so overused and hardly means anything anymore but I felt truly happy.

What meaning do I give it? Coming from a family where I was the only child I have always longed for a connection with family members–to be a part of something larger. Also, having lost a daughter, I had the feeling that my remaining children and their families were all safe at that moment–I couldn’t ask for more.

What did I choose to do with the energy? What happened? I was so filled with emotion that I wanted to share my feelings with the family gathered around me. I tried to explain to them how happy I felt at that moment and how they were each and every one of them part of that moment. Unfortunately, I think my grateful tears left them uncomfortable and eye rolling at Mom’s mushiness!

–Gathering wisdom. What you learned about yourself.  Nothing really new. The experience just confirmed what I already knew about the importance of family and connection in my life.

–What did you do in response? After gathering my composure, I reminded myself that their response wasn’t important nor did it minimize my feelings. They are young. They’ll get it sometime later in life and hopefully will look back with fondness at that too. What was important was that I tucked that frame in time into my memory, which brought to mind the several times in Scripture where it is said of Mary, “…and she kept these things in her heart,” which also brought the connection I so long for.

Tenderness, Grief, Excitement

It was a first meeting with a jr high aged client referred to me by the parish religious ed teacher of the hispanic ministry.  The young man was reported to the school for cutting himself.  I waited for him at the front doors of the church.  We met in the sacristy while his father, sister, and 4 yr old brother waited in the pews of the peaceful, dimly lit sanctuary on a cold winter night.

I felt happy that he made it to the appointment, and tender at the sight of this sweet young man accompanied by his gentle family who clearly cared for him.  I felt waves of grief over the situation of his life as shock, denial, anger, and bargaining, all swirled inside my being.  Through the hour together he remained open to my presence and I felt the hunger of his soul to connect, to be heard, to be nurtured, to matter to someone loving and kind, mature and accepting.  My heart both ached and rejoiced at the gift of his sharing, so full of hope and need.  Somersaults of the soul rolled around as fireworks of potential lit up the dark starry skies of my mind.

I had let go a 17 year career in the corporate world with fear and trembling but I knew during this hour that I had come home, and that everything that happened in my life had lead me to, and prepared me for, this moment of love and a knowing that transcended what ego thoughts could grasp.  Peace like a river attendeth my way.

When I asked him if he would like to meet again next week his eyes twinkled and grew wide.  Yes, he replied with a smile.  I told him we would figure out the payment knowing full well that I would be more in debt to him than he to me when all was said and done. He…for having an accepting person to talk to; and me…for being ushered into my vocation.

As I walked to my car the crisp, cold air hit my face wet with hot tears streaming down.  My heart is still trembling at the awe of the human spirit, the resilience of our souls and the part of us that cannot be touched by finite hands but only by the infinite orchestrations of its creator.

I open myself again and say yes to unconditional love that will not let me go.  Whatever trials may befall, I am open, and I say yes to a life of faith.