Two weeks ago my mother-in-law passed away. She died Monday and her funeral was Thursday. My mother drove to be there. It was the first ever non-Catholic funeral I had ever been to. My mother-in-law was Presbyterian and her minister made myself and the kids feel very welcome. Even Shelby, who made it the entire service. It was shorter than Mass and she wasn’t exactly quiet during it. She takes Psalm 98:4 and Psalm 100:1-2 very seriously, after all.
Sunday morning we attended 7:30 AM Mass, which is our parish’s earliest Mass. Afterwards the boys and I stopped at Dunkin Donuts and then came home. Sometime that afternoon I realized my phone was missing but didn’t think anymore about it til Monday morning when it wasn’t in the house or in Jeff’s car. I made it 6 days without a phone y’all. And I was totally not freaking out to where I had to have a phone but Jeff was and so yesterday I bought my first ever smart phone (because technically the last one I had I found out was a multi-media phone not a smart phone and the Blackberry I had before that–which I lurved–is also not a smart phone?). My brother Matt will be disappointed to hear I went Apple all the way. Iphone 5s. Straight Talk.
So you know what happened, right? This morning when we got to Mass, William says, “Mom, guess what I just found?” It was stuck in the driver’s seat itself (I usually drive Jeff’s car to Mass). Apparently because I am short and Jeff is not when I moved the seat forward, it jostled the phone free.
I’m pretty sure the Holy Spirit had a big hand in all this. Especially because I mainly used my phone to communicate with my co-workers, it forced all of us to be more intentional. Maybe. I have no doubt the Holy Spirit was all up in my grill though. That’s just how our relationship is. I’m all unsuspecting and He’s all grabbing my face by the sides and being nose to nose.
Yesterday was First Communion rehearsal. William will be making his First Holy Communion May 20th y’all. He did so well. He didn’t process in too quickly (some kids thought it was a race), remembered his praying hands, genuflected (a surprising number of kiddos did not), and despite being adamant about receiving in his hands, did on his tongue at rehearsal. It’s just rehearsal, so we’re going to practice at home with Cheez-Its (I know, I know).
Shelby’s turning into a teenager on me. She’ll be 11 in July. She’s been slamming doors when she’s mad or trying to make a point but she also has done it in peoples’ faces. Subtle this princess is not. The last 2 days of school last week she ended up in time-out for the first time ever for throwing things. And not following directions but mostly it was the throwing. They have been teaching her to nod for yes and shake her head for no. The shaking her head she’s not quite gotten but the nodding she’s mastered (well, her version of nodding because Shelby does almost everything a little different). When I asked her if she was throwing things in class, she nodded. When I asked if she went to time-out, she nodded again. She’s definitely not stupid, that’s for sure. She knew what she was doing and she knew it was wrong.
Joseph has told me he loves being in AIG. He’s doing pull-out with a group and he enjoys the challenges of the activities they are doing. He’s also slamming doors and the office chair in his room. Because he could never be outdone by his sister… Apparently one slamming of the chair was on his bed which William witnessed. William said the chair bounced and “stuck the landing” which William found very impressive. (His description had Jeff and I rolling…that kid…)
Distraction. The devil has put a lot of it in my way. Maybe that’s what the Holy Spirit was telling me. Monday a student at Jeff’s school was killed crossing the street to get on the school bus. He wasn’t one of Jeff’s students, but some of Jeff’s kids were on the bus and witnessed the accident where a driver going the opposite direction failed to stop and struck the child (passing a stopped school bus is against the law either going around it or passing it from the other direction unless it is a 4 lane highway with a median). His funeral Mass was Friday at Church 2 of 3 and it’s hit out tight-knit community hard. Many students and staff were absent or left early Friday. Jeff stayed to cover another teacher’s class (the funeral was during his planning period). The boys have said their teachers have gone over bus safety a few times in the last week. In the midst of all the tragedy, I’ve found myself in awe of a community where we support each other and there is always a shoulder to cry on, a hug to be given or received, and genuine care and concern when someone asks, “How are you doing?” Between the death of my mother-in-law and this student, I’ve witnessed God in some really amazing people caring for one another. In the prayers freely offered without asking as well as those given without question when asked, I have felt His immense love.
With every death there are questions. With my mother-in-law, my husband wondered why God allowed her to suffer in her last days rather than take her more quickly. With the death of this child, why God would take someone so young, so full of life, so good in an instant. This week I got my iPhone and have been hard-core listening to podcasts including Jennifer Fulwiler’s interview of Leticia Adams, whose son Anthony tragically took his own life on March 9. It is a hard listen, but trust me, very worth it. The questions for God and the anger and all the feelings…it brought me to today.
This Gospel…you know which one…John 11:1-45…
Martha and Mary had questions too. And they dared to ask them to Jesus. To His face. When I heard the Gospel this morning, I thought of Leticia going up to the Tabernacle and confronting Jesus. I realized that it’s really okay to tell Him that we know “there’s a plan” and all that but to acknowledge that sometimes…things just suck. Yeah, maybe it’s our human condition, but Jesus can take our pain and anger and frustration. He may not raise our Lazaruses from the dead, but He can take it and He does not hate us for it or resent it. And He wants us to give Him all of it because only He can heal it. Eventually.
I lost my phone but like Lazarus it was returned to me with something greater. My faith is bursting because I am aware of the distractions. And I know that my God is bigger than all the BS stuff that I put up with: the pain, aggravation and frustration. And when I collapse and say I can’t do this anymore, He’s cool with that. He won’t give me the answers necessarily, but He will hold me and let me cry til there are no more tears to be cried. And for the first time in my life, I can say that in all my brokenness, it is well with my soul.