Saturday, November 26, 2011
Building the stairway to heaven
I guess I’m being a bit nostalgic these days. November does that to me, as we anticipate the first Sunday of Advent (tomorrow), thoughts comes flooding back to me more so. November is the month I moved into this house as a single person, 25 years ago. November is the month we remember our beloved death and the hope of eternal life in Heaven. For me, it is also the end of the year inventory; I tend to take count of the blessings and mishaps of the year and where I personally need to change or strengthen myself, as well as my family. What more do I need to do to improve the state of our family, our life, and each child individually?…what more do we need to do as a family to ensure we are fulfilling our vocations God has led us to within our families and is continually forming us for life beyond our families?
Yes, all these thoughts and heaven too……truly Heaven too as my devotions this morning included the hope of Heaven, our true home, Our Father’s house.
Lately, if I remember just a few things, especially in the middle of the night when my son with anxiety awakens me, which he has done a lot lately…..then I can respond in a more loving and hoping way. These things are simple, and somewhat essential for me at this time as I am run-down…burnt-out ….exhausted. My blood work shows it, my swollen glands and chronically sore throat and achy body shows it. No, I do not have a bad illness, I just have a lot of mental, emotional, and physical work here at home raising the last two children, while still being connected and guiding the older two. One child is very challenging and taxes me the most. What has helped me recently (along with a good talk with my pastor) is to envision the corporal works of mercy and realize I am performing them, in regard to my family….and especially in regard to my special needs children. One child alone fits “caring for the sick…..and visiting the imprisoned”…my son with anxiety (OCD) is ill and somewhat imprisoned. I find myself calling upon the strength Mother Teresa had – the love, the compassion, the endurance. But alas, I am no Mother Teresa; I am being put through the crucible though, and I have come to accept and surrender to God what selfishness has been left in me. When at this time in a woman’s life, her children are older, (or older ones are at home, that can help with the younger ones), and these woman are “out and about” able to have some freedom away from home awhile, I am not. My son has had a set back this year that has been very difficult for everyone, but for me personally as it takes ME to deal with it – separation anxiety, and heightened driving issues. If I believed in reincarnation, a mystic would probably say this child lost both his mother and his own life in a car accident – he is very needy for mother and fears and dreads driving (a phobia of his). Even with anxiety medication and motion sickness medication, going longer than 40 minutes usually results in an uprising of panic attack and makes for a stressful drive for all involved. And of course this year has included a lot more driving…isn’t that the way it goes? In caring for my youngest autistic son, we have weekly therapies now added to the plate – and because I can’t leave the anxiety ridden son with someone at this point, or alone, he must accompany us much to his dislike. Much to my dislike also – I would like nothing more than to leave him safely behind. Someday……I am hoping.
I will admit a couple weeks ago, I gave up hope. I really did. Having someone ill with you, even an invisible illness - 24 hours a day without much break except early in the morning when they are sleeping, or out to play – is draining. But, I am doing what I can at home to help myself – little things – breaks within the home – I’ve even resorted to playing Angry Birds …and I stay connected with adult friends whom I need to talk with – by email or Facebook. It helps me to feel connected to the larger outside world around me.
So, after a good spiritual direction session with my pastor, a good confession and re-evaluation of my very life and family, I can indeed determine I am building the stairway to heaven in my life one difficult step at a time. Each step seems to represent some momentous conversion or shedding of selfish pursuits, or even just acceptance of the entirety of motherhood. I didn’t accept my motherhood, part-time…..how fair is that for my brood or even my spouse?…I accept it full time – hook, line and sinker, with the sacrament of marriage and the promises and vows made therein.
So, I am soul searching, re-evaluating, re-thinking and locating my building materials….I’m remembering what is important and what isn’t important. I am looking at each child individually and addressing what will help them best in education, Christian formation and developing their talents to prepare them for their lives. I am also rekindling HOPE in my life with baby steps, but all the same, they are steps. Hope is important for the journey and important to help us keep sight of the journey’s end, which will begin anew in Our Father’s House. …where there will be no more night, and all will be healed and whole…..and like Mother Teresa once said:….sleep…there will be time to sleep when we get to Heaven. (Amen to that).