Reflections

{Summer Afternoon}

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
― Henry James

 

At Home With the Gadbois Family | {Summer Afternoon}

 

I’m usually a straight-out-of-the-camera (SOOC) gal.  But I’ve been experimenting with editing software.  Not sure how I feel about it yet…

While I Was Yet Speaking…

Before they call, I will answer; while they are yet speaking, I will hearken to them. – Isaiah 65:24 (NAB)

There are days and times when you know beyond all doubt that God has put you precisely where you need to be when you need to be there.  That time came this afternoon.

I awoke again this morning with worry in my heart – worry about mistakes I’ve made, what I should be doing to repair them, agonizing about the future.  I have become overwhelmed by all that I do {for those of you who have been wondering… yes, I am capable of doing too much even for my energy level}.  It has made me loud, impatient, short.  My work and social circles have made me care too much about how people view me and what I do.

Don’t you often find that days that start that way often continue to deliver difficulty?

I had to take the boys out for haircuts.  We couldn’t find shoes.  And Georgie needed a feed just as we were getting ready to head out the door.  And it was raining.  And I noticed that the inspection needed to be done – and my license is ready to be renewed.  And the ATM at the bank malfunctioned.

At some point the misery becomes too much and I remember to ask for help: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me.”

The barber had no waiting, and the boys’ hair turned out great.  They were presented with lollipops AND new T shirts.  Happy, happy.  Calm began to return…

And then I needed to run to the grocery for dinner provisions.  The brand new grocery store.  I anticipated being overwhelmed, confused, frustrated.  But it went well.  Strangers cooed over Georgie and his charming older brothers.  The boys were helpful, polite, and extremely well-behaved.

We queued up in the checkout line, the one with a very tall gentleman working the register.

I asked the boys to empty the cart for me.  And while they did, our cashier made polite conversation.  He asked about the baby in a voice both kind and gentle.  I’m sure you have met – or know – people who have a special gift of instantaneously setting you completely at your ease.  I blurted out merrily that he is our ninth.  To which the cashier replied, “There need to be more generous people like you in the world”.  Which promptly melted my heart.  More pleasantries while he scanned items and then,

“Do you attend a church?”

To which I replied, “Yes!  We attend Our Lady of the Sacred heart, where my husband is assigned as a deacon”.

“You’re Catholic.”  He beamed.

He wanted to know if we lived in town, I told him that we lived in the neighbouring town, but that we would be moving – soon we hoped – to a farm in yet another town.  His eyes lit up even more.  He asked if I knew of yet another town, which adjoins the town our farm is in.

“Oh yes”, I responded.  “It is a beautiful little town”.

“Do you know the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity?”

“The Maronite Community?”

“Yes, I was a monk there”

I omitted that we had an offer on a farm right around the corner from it.  It didn’t seem important how I came to know about that particular monastery.

He encouraged me to take advantage of the perpetual adoration chapel, which is open to the public.  I said that I would.  And I said that that quiet time with Jesus is a special treat for busy moms like me.  He smiled knowingly.

More pleasantries – by this time the man helping with the bags had struck up pleasant conversation with the boys.  As we finished checking out (and waited for money to be transferred to the bank account), he prepared to say goodbye by offering us a blessing.  Right there in the checkout line.

I can’t adequately describe the feeling I had.  It just washed over me.  I know that I have received a great gift.  It is a feeling redolent of blessing.

I do hope that we see him again before we move.  In the meantime, I will be praying for his transition from the cloistered life to life outside the walls.  And thanking God for the gift of “Brother John”.  And for the desire that he inspired in me for greater humility and meekness.  Two qualities that he exemplifies in person and manner.

I am filled with gratitude for this most precious gift, given, as it was, on a day when I had been feeling so in need of His guiding hand.

Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus. (repeat after each line)
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,
That others may be loved more than I,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. (repeat after each line)
That others may be esteemed more than I ,
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,

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Joy and Gladness

 

 

Home should be a happy place.  Most days, this is what ours looks like.  Laughter – and a cup of tea – makes everything better.

It has been more than three months since we received the sad news that our new baby had died.  And it was a long, long wait to see if I would deliver her naturally.  After 12 weeks, it was decided that I would have to have surgery.  Through it all, I felt well enough in myself, though my heart ached.  My Lent was chosen for me this year.  What I experienced most was the quietude of acceptance and peace, rather than sadness.

And just as Lent was coming to an end, we were sent the gift of the flu, which spent four more weeks with us.  It culminated in a surgery (mine), a fruitless trip to the ER with Joséphine (who, it turned out, had pneumonia an an ear infection), and a visit to our own doctor (who diagnosed her correctly and treated her right away).

And then the spring cleaning began.  And we packed up the bassinet.  And the box of cloth diapers.

And then my heart broke again.  Like those first days after discovering that our baby was gone from us.  When I cried out to The Blessed Mother for comfort.  A cavernous void needing to be… what?  Filled?  Cleaned out?  I’m not sure.  Maybe just acknowledged.  Put on life’s map.

“Here Is The Cave of Sorrows.  It was created by the swift slipping away of a much loved child… a unique, unrepeatable, irreplaceable person”

Perhaps it seems selfish to grieve over the loss of one child (or three, or four) when one has eight beautiful children, living, here on earth to hold.  But a mother’s heart isn’t made that way.  It matters not whether she has one or twenty-one, each loss is heart-stopping, breath-taking and life-altering.  You are never the same without that child.

But she isn’t lost after all.  She is in heaven, waiting and praying for me – for all of us.  I am – we are – blessed.  I will be able to hold her again.  Someday and forever.

And life goes on.  And we rejoice, in our yesterdays, our todays, and in our tomorrows.  All is grace.

“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into joy: thou hast cut my sackcloth, and hast compassed me with gladness” – Ps 30:11 (Douay-Rheims)

Beatrice Faith, born into Heaven – February 2012.  Her name means “happiness and confidence in the Truth”   It is the way we should live, as people of God.  Her short life is a precious reminder.

Jesus: Joy for the journey

I saw the Lord ever before me,
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted;
my flesh, too, will dwell in hope,
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.

Acts 2:25-28

 

 

“Lord, if it is Your Will, please help us to make this land our home” A prayer said on a hilltop, in the chilly, windblown drizzle, four years ago.  It was the first time.  The first time we prayed together outside of church.  And it changed our lives in countless ways from that day.

Forever.

That hilltop is not so very far from this tree.  This tree, which we returned to with our (then) six children, a little plaster statuette of St. Joseph, a shovel, and hearts overflowing.  We gathered under its branches, dug a small hole between roots outspread, placed the blessed effigy, joined our hands, and prayed once again.  As a family.  For the first time.  We had always asked a blessing over our meals, and said ‘bed-night’ prayers with our children.  They had been taught  the prayers of the Church and various devotions, but this was the first time we prayed together for something from deep down in our hearts.

And it has changed our lives.  Forever.

From that day, we dwelt in hope.  And we traveled along that Emmaus road, not always recognizing Him as our constant companion and guide.  And he brought people into our lives, people likewise nourished by prayer, to share the sojourn to where we are today.  And beyond, to where we do not yet know.

And through it all, though the path was steep, we kept each other from falling.

And we are filled with JOY in His presence.

Reaching heavenward.

Twined trunks. Strength in co-reliance. Hope in life.

 

Here you can see where lightning has grazed the trunk of the tree. It is scarred, but still strong and healthy.

And moss grows in the cleft of the intertwined trunks.

Budding to new life. A resurrection reminder.

 

May all of your prayers be answered.  Amen.

May you find faithful friends to share your journey. Amen.

May God bless you and keep you all the days of your life.  Amen.

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