“Writing poetry is too hard.” This is the offense I hear my high school students protest frequently. I get it, but I don’t think it’s entirely true.
I wrote this post the morning before Christmas Eve. At 10pm that night, my husband had a stroke. Changes in circumstance can’t change what is True. We were, are, and continue to be grateful.
[Editor’s note: We’ve decided to take the last few days of 2018 to repost some of our favorite pieces of writing that showed up on the blog this year. The second piece we’re sharing is “Awkward Saint Crazy” by Adam Whipple, in which he earnestly and skillfully asks how the Church can best engage with mental illness.]
“Why don’t we have a little sing-along?”
For many years, those words filled me with irritation. A lazy evening after dinner trying to decide what to do—watch a movie? Read? Play a board game?—and then would come Mom’s inevitable suggestion of a family jam session. None of us seven children ever met the idea with enthusiasm.
Christmas can be a time of joy and celebration—but it’s also a season of lament for many of us. For my family and me, we’re just past a season of grief; lament always remains a prayer on my lips. We live in a broken and hurting world, after all, and if we’re not currently grieving, we know someone who is.
Of the six of bedrooms I can remember from my childhood, only two were completely my own, and the time I lived in both of them was less than two years. The rest I shared with my sister. In college I had five different roommates in three different dorm rooms and one apartment, then I got married. So I guess you could say I never really had a room of my own. Until now.
We just read this in our home, and we hope you will too. Use the free download link at the end to print out a copy for your family.
This Thanksgiving, we offer you this liturgy. Wherever you are today, and whomever you are with, we invite you to join us in praying that all our shared meals would “strike at the root of the lie that would drain life of meaning, and the world of joy, and suffering of redemption.”
Racial diversity is important to me, not only as a member of the body of Christ but also as a mother through adoption, for I have been given the incredible privilege of raising five beautiful children of color. All of them different. All of them fellow members of the Church. Yet, for my family, finding a church (or even a ministry) that represented us, all of us, has proven to be difficult for too many years. I longed for community as it will be in eternity.
Near the end of his life, Pope John Paul II was seated on his chair at the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. He was in his eighties and suffering from Parkinson’s. He had trouble sitting up straight, and even holding up his head was a chore. Yet there he was, in front of hundreds of parishioners and visitors who filled the cathedral to capacity. Thousands, indeed millions more watched him on television outside in the square and around the world. He looked tired and rather glum—not an office-holder of stature, but an old man hunched by the many failings of his body.
A few years ago, my parents rented a beach house for a family reunion. Each of us cooked a few meals during our time, and for one of the meals, we made BLTs. My husband stood over the stove, making enough bacon for over twenty hungry people.