On Columbus Day, my husband and I spent a wonderful day just driving around and enjoying the autumn scenery. I don’t know about you, but I seem to have an unusual sensitivity to the beauty in nature, and was once again overwhelmed by the beauty of the bright white and yellow streaks of sun streaming down through the white puffy clouds. Such a sight always encourages me as if reinforcing the fact that yes, there are clouds, and yes there may be rain, but that sun is still up there in the sky, overseeing it all, just waiting to break through and make things better. As an added visual treat, the sun shone so brightly on the tapestry of peak autumn leaves: oranges, reds and yellows, that I felt a need to wear my sunglasses, but with them on I would not be able to fully appreciate the effect of the over-the-top, gasp inducing colors. No photo, piece of artwork or beautifully sung song could have replicated the intensity of happiness that brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart.
My husband and I sat, holding hands as he drove. There was no need to say anything. We were at peace, pleased to have such a respite after a hectic week of raising children and dealing with problems. We were in our own beautiful bubble, cell phones turned off so as not to ruin the interlude. It was a wonderful day!
Upon pulling into the driveway of our home, I spotted the two small maple trees which Marie had planted a few years ago. She had excitedly dug them up when they were fragile saplings with broken branches, and planted one on each side of the driveway. She had added gravel at the base of each, and attached a tall, straight, thin stick to keep them growing upright. I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed them before. I had NOTICED them, of course, but I had never really SEEN them. They had grown to be about four feet tall, straight and strong. My breath stuck in my throat as the brilliant, bright yellow leaves danced happily in the gentle breeze. They were a growing metaphor for my daughter, blossoming and beautiful and holding the promise of a bright future in their little yellow leaves. Despite once being fragile and broken, they would grow tall and amazing and fit perfectly in this world, reassuring me that my daughter, who was also once fragile and broken, would grow tall and amazing and fit perfectly in this world.
Posts tagged ‘God’
I led a very eclectic lifestyle when I was a child, traveling around the country with a vagabond family. It was a wonderful life, made all that more meaningful by a mother who possessed a natural spirituality. We may not have gone to church Sundays, but our life was naturally filled with the presence of God.
Because I feel that I know you all, I am going to share a personal, life altering childhood experience. We were camping high in the mountains, a favorite spot for my father because he could sit and look out over the valleys and little towns below. For him, it seemed to minimized the stressors of life. How could life be so bad when the people were the size of ants and the lakes the size of large drops of water? For whatever reason, he seemed to feel safe in the mountains Things were good. Things were peaceful. We were content.
One night while I was sleeping, I was awakened by an extremely loud, earth shattering noise. My body shook with such a ferocity I thought I was going to fall out of my top bunk. Although it was later determined to be a nearby bolt of lightning, I will never forget how I felt immediately when I woke up; I thought it was the end of the world! I thought life as we knew it was over. My immediate reaction was such profound joy and love that my heart wanted to burst with happiness. I was deeply disappointed when I found out it was only thunder, and not a joyous entrance into the world beyond and an opportunity to meet God.
As a child who had never read the Bible or been “religious”, in retrospect it is surprising that my first thought was not fear at the concept of the end of the world but joy! It was not something I had learned about in catechism, or had even thought of before. My first feeling was automatic and unbelievable happiness and love. And it is that feeling that I carry with me to this day. For I know that the heart of that child so many years ago experienced a true and prophetic revelation…that God lives in the hearts of all of us, we just don’t always see it. Wouldn’t the world be different if we all knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a joyous eternity awaits us? I was so very fortunate to have learned that at an early age…
We adopted Dinora from Guatemala at the age of 6 weeks, and I was so thrilled to have a daughter!!! She came with a variety of diseases common in s 3rd World Country, scabies, intestinal parasites and malnutrition. But we loved her and fed her and she blossomed into an adorable baby with big black eyes and shiny black hair.
At the age of six months, it became apparent that Dinora was deaf. She had not yet started to babble like other babies her age, but she also did not turn to her name, or looked at the dog when she barked, or seem to notice the footsteps of me coming into her bedroom. She would be laying there awake when I walked in, (and, believe me, I am not light on my fight.) When she finally would see me, she would startle. She had not heard me. The day I knew it for sure was a day she was sitting next to me on the floor while I was doing the dishes. I accidentally dropped a huge lobster pot I was cleaning and it made a horrendous clang on the floor. Dinora happily sat there playing, her back to the pan. She did not startle. She did not cry. She did not hear it.
We then made the rounds of the doctors. She flunked regular hearing tests, and had a brain stem evoked response test. Her brain did not respond up to 90 decibels. The doctor informed me that she was severely hearing impaired and that we would try hearing aids to maximize her hearing, although they would not be strong enough for her to hear normally. They took the impressions for her ear molds.
That evening, our family went for a pre-Christmas visit to a shrine beautifully decorated with Christmas lights. I was feeling sorry for myself. I had a two year old son who was legally blind, and now I had an infant daughter who was deaf.
There was a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes surrounded by prayer water and many large candles. There was also a large display of crutches and wheelchairs of people who had been healed by her. I helped my son, Francis, who was 2 1/2 years old, light a candle. Because it was almost Christmas, and the only candles he had seen were on a birthday cake, he merrily sang “Happy Birthday Dear Jesus”. I remember saying a non-de-script prayer, still upset that Dinora was deaf. I still thanked God, but was not quite as enthusiastic as usual.
The next morning, the dog barked and Dinora woke up! I thought it was a coincidence until I started to walk into her room and she turned to smile at me. She had heard my footsteps! I started talking to her and she started babbling back. Only a day earlier she had been fitted with ear molds for hearing aids! I excitedly called the doctor, who agreed to see her that day. Her hearing was tested and it was normal! Neither I nor the doctor could believe it. He said in his 29 years as an ear doctor he had never seen anything like it. He told me that it had to be an “Christmas miracle from Above”. The visit the night before to the shrine came to mind. A miracle HAD occurred, and I was embarrassed because I had not thanked God more enthusiastically the night before. He had granted me a miracle even though I did not ask for one.
Dinora is now 28 years old and has had perfect hearing ever since that day! And I have lived life with a peaceful,generous heart because I know, without any doubt, that God is with me.