St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

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.
Perpetual Help madonna-and-child-2
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 Smile  …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… 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).


Megan@TrueDaughter said...

Denise, I have been so busy, I haven't been blogging, or reading blogs, and barely paying attention to Facebook, but know that I am praying for you, I am here, and PLEASEEEE use me if you can, somehow. You have us a good bit worried about you. I totally understand and respect the act of surrendering to motherhood, but at some point, you need a little for yourself. We don't want you going postal or anything, which I would have done by now, I am afraid. PLEASE let us help, if there is any way. We are willing, and we want to. You are all in my prayers.

Home School Mom: Denise said...

Thanks so much Megan, as always. When I wrote this things had been really tough with Mike for at least 3 months and it was rising terribly...we had been to the doctor for re-evaluation and a change in medication and you know how that went (all the weight gain and growth),now after at least 3 weeks+ into the new med and dose, he is doing better and things are at least calming down more. He's a bit more cooperative and doesn't complain, whine/cry every day like he was doing. He did that 6-8 times a day, every day, several years ago - pre therapy and medicine. We are getting there..very slowly ....the therapist does talk with me to, and we all have homework this month - me, Pete and Michael. I'm hoping the holiday break will bring a few break throughs, in his reactive anxiety separation. The driving is getting there and we are doing better -- but he has to practice driving with out me in the vehicle...(his security blanket)...but we can't just yank it, we have to work into it - so the therapist says. I appreciate your kind thoughts and words and support and prayers. I know we will get through this -- it's just long coming. Then we'll celebrate! with a lot of liquor! hahahah :)

Elise said...

Hi! I stopped by your blog after reading your comment on Jenifer Fulwiler's piece on mom bloggers. I especially like this article. I often say my kids are my stairway to Heaven, so it rang true with me.

Stop by and visit me at I'll be back!

Home School Mom: Denise said...

Thank you Elise! It's a hard climb for sure~ Your blog is very nice and I'm glad to know of it now -- one good thing came from that article...more Catholic mom blogs to discover! :) Many blessings!