This past year has been hard on me. It's been hard on my entire family but since this is my blog, and I wish to respect the privacy of other family members, you get to hear all. about. me!
Anyway, after my niece was born, I prayed. I prayed for her to grow, develop and come home. We all wanted her to be one of those micropreemies who, yeah, maybe has some delays and yeah, maybe, comes home on oxygen but there was no reason why she shouldn't have survived... and thrived.
I did my part. I prayed. I asked other people to pray. I asked the intercession of St. Therese, the Little Flower, who is known for helping the smallest and meekest of us. I sacrificed. I offered up. And in the end... well, I can't type out what happened but most people have filled in the gaps. I was left numb, crushed and, as I told my mother, "God and I are not BFFs right now. I'm glad I believe in God because it is nice to have someone to blame for all this!" These are normal feelings but they are hard feelings to have. Nothing made me feel more rejected than thinking, feeling, that God wasn't listening to me. I told a friend, "I believe in miracles. I just don't think they will happen to me anymore."
I won't say I had a crisis of faith or that I rejected God. As I did some thinking and praying and loads of therapy sessions, I realized that this is part of my grief process. I was assured, as I knew, it is a-okay to be grumpy at God. He knows my true feelings and if I said, "Oh, no, God, I'm not mad at You!" He would know I was lying.
April 13th, my son and niece's birthdays, ended up being a happy day. A new baby came into the world. We celebrated Joe and I talked to my sister on the phone. I was anticipating a hard day but it ended up being really, really good.
On Monday the 14th, a phone call came. See, rumor has it that our parish wants to start the Catechesis of the Good Shepard program. (Read about it here and follow the link for more information.) I cornered both priests at the Fish Fry and said, "I heard you want this to happen. I'm a Level One catechist. What can I do?" I think Father Engineer nearly dropped his plate. I mean, who volunteers for "whatever you want me to do"? Father Youngin' just laughed.
I e-mailed the director and she called me. We spent a good hour talking on the phone. She told me her plans and they are sound. They have the materials, they just need people to teach. I explained to her about my children and their special needs and the weird school routine the kids are on. She was supportive and told me ways they could help out so I could teach. (Read: child care.) She mentioned I might be able to receive small pay for it in a year or so. (And just the week before I had made a comment about God not providing the means for all the help our kids need!) Then she said, "We've got to include more of the children with special needs in this program. Could you help?"
People, I like-a cried.
Okay, I didn't really cry. But I was close. After feeling rejected by our parish and facing criticism about our children, this woman wants kids like mine in the parish. Active. Learning. As part of the Body of Christ. She has experience with this and understands.
I got off the phone feeling really, really good about these changes. I had chores to do so I grabbed the vacuum cleaner and pulled it back to start vacuuming. Underneath it was... a lady bug.
Let's back up here a moment. For a variety of reasons, lady bugs are associated with my niece. We've found either ladybugs or perfect 2013 pennies on important dates related to Miss Who or when we just miss her. Finding a ladybug right after this phone call was a little reminder that she is there, praying for us. She is interceding for us. I knew all this, but to see it, to have a physical reminder of it... was powerful and humbling. God is indeed listening to me and hearing my cries.
I feel, very strongly, that this program will go through and that our children's physical and spiritual needs will be met. After all, I found a ladybug.