Posts tagged ‘Perspective’

December 14, 2011

Your Rod and Staff Comfort Me

Over the past few months, we’ve heard a lot of tough news in our circles. Friends have lost a mother, a grandmother, a grandfather, and just yesterday we learned that friends of friends lost their two-year-old son. He went to sleep Sunday night and didn’t wake up Monday morning. What grief, what pain.

 

As we remember these families in our rosary each evening, I am struck by how fleeting life can be, how quickly it can end. Since Jacob was born, this sort of news, and the idea of our family without John or Jacob—or me—can frighten me so much I am almost paralyzed. We need to make the most of every moment. Should I have been cross with Jacob when he didn’t listen earlier? Should I have spent the afternoon working and only occasionally reading to or playing with him?  Was it really more important that dinner was made than that I gave Jacob an extra eight million hugs?

 

But living lodged in fear that way means not living at all. Jacob needs to be disciplined, because we have the hope of his living a long and happy life. I need to do my work, because I have been blessed with a fruitful business and it is my responsibility to help it to grow. And let’s be honest, we need to eat.

 

When I think of someone ill or passing, I can’t help but think of the moment that person was born and the moments that person’s children were born, if they were a parent, too. How little we can think of the end of life when it is so new, and rightfully so, of course. But when you have the perspective to look back on a whole life like that—wow. It brings you to your knees.

 

In considering this and reflecting on what the season of Advent means during a walk around the park yesterday, I could only think of how much more I need to live the joy in my life. Being mired in the fear of what could happen, what someday will happen, means not being truly grateful for what is before me, in my home, in my arms, in my heart.

 

To make that more tangible for me, the other side of the coin is making itself known in our prayer intentions as well. Our list of families who are expecting children is approaching the status of litany.  And while this is no comfort for those who have lost loved ones recently, there is a very important breed of hope embedded in there.

 

A couple of lines from a hymn have stuck with me this Advent: “How silent all rebellion! / How loud the angels’ praise!” In the end, there is God and there is love, and all the rest will pass away, so I’d better praise what is worth being praised every chance I get.

 

If you’re interested in helping out the family who lost their little boy, here’s a link to a fundraising effort through the end of the year: http://www.giveforward.com/charliesway

Advertisements
December 8, 2011

Dear Jacob XVI

Dear Jacob,

 

Little by little you are figuring out your world. Sometimes it gets you in trouble. Most of your tantrums are precipitated by your trying to do something I do and landing yourself in a situation in which it’s likely that a) you’ll get hurt or b) you’ll break something. In those times, I try to see that you are only trying to figure it all out. Sometimes you are simply testing your limits, but even that is a natural part of growing up. And you really are growing up.

 

I admit I slacked off a little bit on the discipline the past few weeks, because I was having trouble figuring out what was making you lose your mind, and eventually I just wanted to avoid the tantrums. But since I’ve put my sheriff’s badge back on, you’ve responded very well to the boundaries I’ve set, so I think I dodged that messing-the-child-up bullet, which is good for everyone.

 

Now I see that when you do have tantrums—unless you’re really tired—they are with good reason. For the most part, you seem like a person who is able to laugh at himself, and I think that is a very good thing. You are still a pretty easygoing little guy, and the other day your dad and I kept saying to each other, “He’s such a good boy. . . . He’s just such a good boy.”

 

If your exploration doesn’t get you into trouble, it gives often gives me a great laugh. The other day, I cut your toenails in the morning (which you didn’t like at all). That evening, when I was putting you in your jammies, you found the clipper on the changing table and started to put it on your toes, like I had done. I’m not sure why you wanted to repeat what seemed to be an incredibly traumatizing experience, but it was funny all the same.

 

That day, too, you took another step toward properly using a spoon. You were holding the spoon in the right orientation, so I put a piece of chicken on it. You smiled, moved the spoon to your mouth, and ate the chicken. I celebrated! You put a blueberry on the spoon. Good job, I thought! Then you proceeded to take the blueberry off the spoon with your fingers and eat it. You moved to the next one: put blueberry on spoon, take blueberry off spoon, eat it, put blueberry on spoon, take blueberry off spoon, and so on. Essentially you were bouncing the blueberries off the spoon on the way to your mouth, which again was silly, but I see where you’re going. Who decided what the “proper” use of a spoon was anyway?

 

You also know that socks go on feet (though you haven’t figured out your socks don’t fit on my feet), you’ve figured out how to imitate a lot of what I do in the kitchen with your play kitchen (though it still frightens me when you come at me for a hug with your dull play knife in hand), and of course, you know how to give hugs and kisses/head butts.

 

It is so much fun to watch you figure out this silly world in your silly way, little man. And even if you never use a spoon “properly” (though I hope you do), I will love you forever and ever.

 

Love,
Mom

P.S. Sorry no pictures, Uncle Michael. More tomorrow, I hope!

December 5, 2011

A Gift of a Lifetime

It’s easy to watch a little baby interact with his world and make assumptions about what he’ll be, what he’ll do when he grows up. Sometimes it’s funny, too.

 

When Jacob was younger and rounder, it was fun to joke that he’d be a football player, maybe a linebacker. Or better, the whole line. Still I tried to remember that on Sunday afternoons he was simply enjoying the flickering lights of the television screen, not the action it was portraying. And really, these days he could care less about the lights.

 

When he walks around with books held over his head and triumphantly holds a Cheerio up to the heavens before eating it, it’s easy to say he’s headed for the seminary. And when he chases after dogs at the park, it’s fun to imagine that he’ll be a dog catcher—albeit a bad one; I don’t think you’re supposed to take them all home to play with them.

 

This weekend John and I had the pleasure of seeing his brother Karl play violin with a semi-local singer/songwriter. It was incredible. Karl is so relaxed and yet focused when he plays—and he plays beautifully—and his contribution added another dimension to what would otherwise have been a guy and his guitar (admittedly, my favorite kind of music).

 

While watching him perform, I was struck by how influential a decision his parents made almost twenty-five years ago has been. All John’s siblings, and my brother and I as well, took music lessons at some point in time. It stuck more for some than others, but not for anyone as much as for Karl. These days, while he pursues a career in business, his violin is a source of supplementary income, a social networking tool, a key to keeping him involved in a very active ministry, and—you can tell by watching him play—a source of joy.

 

Saturday night, all I could think about was the hope we have the foresight to offer Jacob the right opportunities and to encourage him to pursue his talents in ways he will enjoy. I hope in this way we will teach him the virtue of hard work and that the fruits of his diligence will serve him for a lifetime, the way they have for Karl.

%d bloggers like this: