"Be opened." In today's Gospel reading, Jesus says these words to a deaf man with a speech impediment. Jesus heals the man's physical limitations that caused him to be isolated and even ostracized from society. Physically he is healed, and we can extrapolate that he is spiritually healed as well -- although I've often wondered if being the recipient of a miracle of Jesus automatically heals you spiritually forever. You know, maybe they let it go to their heads afterward, who knows? Anyway.
There's been a drought in my spiritual life in the last year or so, and this feeling of being closed off -- despite participation, despite good intentions -- has just lingered. It's like I don't know how to pray anymore. I am just so tired. It started with my last pregnancy and has just persisted -- this physical and spiritual fatigue.
I want desperately to be opened again -- to have the peace and direction I once had.
There's also been a drought in my physical life. I've spent the last 11 months caring for my baby 24 hours a day. And the older 2 boys as well. I'm not necessarily complaining, but it's left little time for self-care. I'm able to get hair cuts (because I have to take the boys) and get groceries and vitamins (most of the time) and that's about it. I have felt shitty for almost a year, I guess. And I can't see this changing in the foreseeable future -- at least not without God's help. Divine intervention. Serious divine intervention.
Dear Lord, please open my heart and mind! Burn out all that is harmful and plant seeds of wisdom, perseverance, mindfulness -- and most of all, love. Amen.
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Isn't it funny how sometimes you just know you should be friends with someone?
It doesn't happen often, especially as you grow older, but when it does, you should throw caution (and nerves) to the wind and pursue it. Sometimes it doesn't happen right away, and that's okay. If it's meant to be, your paths will cross again and boom.
I call that the Holy Spirit at work, but it doesn't matter what you call it -- fate, destiny, whatever. What matters is this: you keep yourself open. If you close yourself, turn inward and hide, then let me tell you you're missing out on wonderful connections, even in this crazy, misguided world.
Friday, May 15, 2015
Every once in a while, when things slow down and are mostly quiet, I'm able to see things as they are, in the moment. It's rare, but it happens.
I look at this face, this person -- person -- who has been entrusted to me, and I'm in awe. That awe I felt when I first saw them, but a little more.
It's easy to forget in the day-to-day stuff, the meals and please-just-listen-for-once and aaaaaall the ass-wiping -- this is a person you're forming. With every sound, tone and movement. With the baby, I see such potential. With G and B, I see where I have failed so many times.
And yet, there's hope.
Saturday, May 9, 2015
Ever since I had kids, severe weather has made me seriously anxious. As soon as I had G, the thought of someone or something taking him from me instilled a strange mix of anxiety, anger, determination and utter fear.
That first spring was a doozy for me. Not that anything out of the ordinary happened weatherwise, I just started packing a go bag again. You know, the bag with clean clothes and underwear, maybe water and shoes and other things you would need in an emergency.
I started keeping a go bag packed when I was in elementary school, after reading Night of the Twisters (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/646730.Night_of_the_Twisters). That book preoccupied me for weeks. My mom grew up in Oklahoma, so I was taught very early how to watch the skies and appreciate storms. Tornado threats were met with near nonchalance by my mom, and I only remember one time where we actually retreated to the bathtub. But I think that was to make my sister and I feel better.
After I read that book, though, I was scared of tornadoes. Not irrationally, I mean this is North Texas. I was scared of losing everything I had and everyone I loved. I guess it eased with age, but once kids were in the picture, forget it.
There's a storm headed our way now. Long, low, rumbling thunder. Everyone's in bed. I'm sure the sirens will wake me up , right?
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
It only gets more painful watching G struggle with fitting into our world, particularly school. Homework is so hard for him. It's completely outside his learning environment, I don't know the teaching methods and some of it (the math especially) I don't even know. It's frustrating for me so you know it's 10 times worse for him.
I can see the pain in his body language, I can hear it in the way he talks to me but most of all I can see it in his eyes. And it guts me. Every day.
I've read blog posts by other autism moms about their kids' abilities or lack thereof (the "at least yours can talk" kind of talk). I have to say I'm humbled by so many of these women and their struggles with their kids. So much so I don't always feel I have room to lament. I mean, G is so high-functioning, "he doesn't seem autustic," according to some.
But let me say, the struggle is real. Really hard, really painful, and yes, sometimes really rewarding. But it's real. And it hurts.
Sunday, April 19, 2015
I'm still in awe of this day. Everything that happened this day.
My baby boy was baptized today with two other baby boys. Father Jim so lovingly baptizes babies. I could hardly hold back the tears as the prayers began -- so many people there to share this with us! So many people I love -- new friends and old.
I'm holding him as I type this. This tight little bundle of God's love and grace snuggled up on me, warm and snoozing heavily (finally). The smell of the oil of anoiting is still on his sweet head -- I never want to wash it off. I want to freeze this moment -- this feeling, this grace. His soul so perfectly clean, his body so warm and cuddling against me.
Lord, help me to remember this feeling of utter peace and contentment. I feel so strangely, happily empty -- as if I've done something important, fulfilled a task with much meaning. This love and gratitude I have is a reflection of the love and mercy and grace you pour out on those who love you. Thank you, thank you Lord!
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Seven years and one month ago, our oldest was diagnosed with autism. We had suspected for a while, so it wasn't a complete shock. But it was sobering and a little overwhelming.
What most people don't know, though, is that while I was pregnant with Gabriel and reading all those insipid pregnancy and parenting magazines, I was absolutely terrified that my baby would have autism.
Autism was getting a lot of press in 2004. And since so many parenting publications seem to purposefully instill fear and implicitly encourage a sense of inadequacy, autism became the the thing I prayed to God that my baby wouldn't have. In fact, I remember standing in the kitchen of the apartment I shared with my best friend and praying, "Please God, anything but autism. I want my child to be able to love me."
Now some would say God ignored my plea. I disagree. He answered my prayer by conquering my fear. He answered my prayer by showing me what love really is. He answered my prayer by showing me another facet of Himself.
So on this day, the day the rest of the world waves the autism awareness flag, I remember the day we were blessed with this gift to the world. And I pray that the world will accept this gift, because he and everyone else with autism have so much more to offer than a "cause."