Sunday, May 27, 2012

To be Mother

I Wonder
A reflection

When I had the chicken pox,
my mom powdered my face
and applied some lipstick;
the powder stopped the itching
and the lip color helped me feel better.

I brought a dog home from the pound once
and tried to keep it a secret from my mom.
She wasn't too happy about that
but three days later, smile and all,
she was helping me pull tics off the new pup.

I used to paint and draw all the time
and my mother was very encouraging.
She would give me boxes galore to decorate
but one time I found some nail polish
and painted the bathroom sink...

During my birth, and even after,
the doctors continued to tell my mom,
"Your daughter will not make it.
You need to let her go; she's going to die,"
predetermining the loss of her first child.

When my mother accepted this and took me home,
she loved me completely despite the circumstances.
During this time, I grew healthier
and the little child she held in her arms
came back to life.

I wonder what Mary did when Jesus got sick --
let Him sleep in? Skip some chores?

I wonder how often Jesus came home saying,
"Look mom! Can we keep him?!"

I wonder what messes little Jesus made for Mary --
food on the floor? Mud in the house?

I wonder what Mary felt when Simeon said,
"And you yourself a sword will pierce."

I wonder how many emotions ran through Mary
when her crucified Son was raised from the dead.

Monday, May 7, 2012

New Life

Jeremiah was born on April 19, 2012 at 5 lbs. 9 oz.  He was a month early, so there were a few things that still needed to be taken care of in the hospital before he could go home.  There was a tube to pump out the liquids that had made their way into his stomach during delivery; he wore an oxygen mask to help him breathe; and then he ended up contracting Jaundice.  Finally, my sister Johnele and her husband Andrew were able to take Jeremiah home on May 3rd.  When I talked to Johnele on the phone she said, "It hasn't quite hit me yet that I'm an adult, married, and have a son; but it's so exciting to know that this is my life now!"  It's hard for me to believe as well that the one who watched me zoom around the house as she crawled behind; who believed in my every word; and who has been my little companion for 22 years is entering into a life of her own as a wife and mother.  It's not surprising, though, that two little girls who did everything together but were complete opposites would be saying "Yes" to the Lord's call at the same time, yet in very different ways.

It is equally not surprising, then, that around the same time my sister is bringing home one of God's creations, I would be doing something similar.  When I was in Lodi, NJ a few weeks ago I attended a celebration in honor of Earth Day. There was a table set up with free things, so of course I had to check it out.  My eyes scanned the scene: there were some magnets, some wild flower seeds, some baby trees... What!  I had to look twice; baby trees?  Yes, miniature Norway Spruce trees.  I had never seen a baby tree before, nor had I ever planted a tree.  "It'll grow anywhere in the Northeast," said the guy standing behind the table who must have noticed my obvious fascination.  "What if I can't plant it for about another week?" I asked him.  "That's fine," he said, "just make sure it gets plenty of sun and that the soil stays moist."  Hmm... I've got a window and some water, I thought to myself, why not?  "I'll take it!" I said, and I walked away with a baby Spruce tree.  One of our council members, Sister Nancy, happened to be in Lodi at the same time.  She saw me walking around with the little tree and told me about one she had planted in Livonia, MI.  "I used to decorate it all the time," she said, "but now it's too tall for me to even reach any of its branches!"  The idea of nurturing something to such growth made me even happier about my choice.  I finally planted the little tree, which I named Joseph after St. Joseph the Worker, and he is now outdoors getting plenty of sun and water.

The wonderful thing about life is its diversity.  Nurturing a child and growing a tree both fall under care for God's creation.  In Jeremiah, Johnele is experiencing her part in the Lord's love for His people and for His creation.  As my tree grows and provides shelter for the Lord's creatures, I too can experience the love of God.  It's all around us!  How often we choose to take part in it determines how well we respond to love.