Saturday, December 6, 2008

"...and I'll fall asleep counting my blessings..."

I love the move "White Christmas." Love it. I remember waiting for it to come on every year as a child, and practically holding my breath until Judy and Betty appeared at the end in the gorgeous red satin dresses with the white fur trim. And the little ballerina girls would come out from the sides of the stage on their tippy toes and dance like little fairies, and then ever-so-delicately perch on the knees of the adoring little boys who raised their soprano voices in cherubic harmony.

Seriously--I am not joking--I would find a curtain, a table cloth, a bath towel...anything that could resemble a skirt if safety pinned around the waist, and dance around for the next several days, singing the theme song......"IIIIIIIIIIIII'm dreaming of a whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiite (a white) Christmas........

And now I have the movie on DVD. I try not to watch it until at least Advent, but I almost always break down around mid-November and just have to watch it. Can you blame me? It's the one pre-season indulgence I allow myself, for Pete's sake. If that's the worst I can do, I think I'll be ok.


I spoke with My Wonderful friend on Thursday....the Dear Friend who is missing her Dear Baby. She asked me how my little Snuggle Bug is doing. She sounded not sad--well maybe a little sad, but more wistful. I said that The Bug is doing very well....she's starting to fill out and look chubby around the neck and wrists.....and My Friend said to me, "Cherish it, please. Just love her and kiss her and look at her, and cherish her."

And I do.

And it didn't really strike me how deeply she meant that until we were gathered together last night after the First Friday events: our family, our three friends K., T., and V. and their families (we were at V.'s home) and three of our good priests, Frs. E., B., and L. We were talking after supper, and V. mentioned that she had spoken with Our Dear Friend. Our Friend mentioned that she just really misses holding her Little One and that his memory is fading so quickly and it was taking her by surprise.

And then I began to remember how it was after my dad died, and how I looked at his picture as often as I could so that I could see his face. And I plugged in the videos that we had taken regularly so that I could hear his voice. But there was nothing that could bring back how it felt to hold his hand or feel his arms around me in a hug. I could smell a shirt, but it wasn't truly him--it was the smell of the laundry. It scared me silly, because I couldn't believe how quickly I was beginning to forget him.

I remember buying tiles to fill out the floor in front of the fireplace, and how I knew I had found The Tile I Wanted when I ran my hand across it and it faintly felt like his hand. (And yes, I know how odd that sounds.) I felt like a child who sees a grown up for a while, and then not for a long time...and the next time you see that person they're so much different than how you remember them. I just wanted to always remember him just the way he was, and it was fading so rapidly.

My heart aches with such a raw wound for my friend, although I have the absolute luxury of being witness to her grief rather than being at the core of it. And while I know that right now, at the onset of her true grieving, her pain is growing steadily, mine is coasting and becoming familiar. And it just doesn't seem fair.

And still she ministers to everyone else with such love and wisdom and passion that she just continues to inspire everyone she knows. It's not always comfortable: her statement to V. was something like, "It was a SACRIFICE for us to have to give up our son. People have been asking what they can do to help us...they can sacrifice to make it to First Friday Vigil and spend time in prayer together."

We are on day 7 of our Rosary Novena for this good family. We have been praying for them each night, and last night it was with 20 children, 4 couples and 3 dear priests. We all sat together and prayed the Rosary for our friends. Somehow it didn't feel like the sacrifice that we ought to be making, but I know that God will use it for His purposes anyway.

But now, tonight, sitting by my beautiful baby's cradle, I find it all too easy to do as my friend exhorted me to do. I am cherishing, kissing, gazing upon my lovely child, and it is becoming easier, too, to allow the reality of this blessing sink in.

I will see my Dear Friend tomorrow at Mass. I know that she will come to me and we will hug. She will look at my baby and smile, and maybe cry a little. She'll touch her head and maybe kiss her a little, and her heart will just pour out the love that consumes her. And then she will remind me to cherish my beautiful children and to be thankful for every little blessing.

And I will.


Please pray in this Season of Waiting for those who wait in Hope: for healing, for forgiveness, for love, for new life, and for new life in Him, that they may rejoice in God's Timing as He remains faithful to those who remain steadfast in their faith in Him.

Please pray for those in need, whether it be the need for food or shelter, for a job, for acceptance, for a softer heart, for Jesus in their lives, for the Sacraments--that they may accept the prudence of God's Timing.

Please also pray for all those who wait, trusting in God's Perfect Timing for their families, that their hearts would be blessed for being so open to His will for them.

And please continue to pray for My Dear Friends, who have been an amazing example of accepting God's Timing. Tonight marks two weeks since their infant son's death...and not quite one week since it's just been Their Family (all the visitors have gone back home)...and they are finally beginning to grieve here and there. Please pray for them to just trust God to catch them in His loving arms when they fall apart. Please especially pray for the Daddy and the sons in this family.

A continued Blessed Advent to all of you.....


Carrie said...

A beautiful post, Laura; thank you.

Jenni said...

We just watched White Christmas last night for the first time this season, after we decorated our tree. We LOVE that movie!