What a treat we received this week! Was it really mid-April and not April Fool’s Day? So much snow covered everything when we woke and blew about in the air, but we had clear roads, and colorful blooms peeking through the blanket of white. Tree branches hung lower than I’d ever seen - heavy, wet snow able to weigh down both branches and leaves. All around was seen an incredible, unique beauty. The trees' new shapes were accompanied by colors not usually seen with snow – an abundance of green, rather than winter brown, at the edges of leaves and visible on the ground. Holes in the snow’s blanket let daffodils and tulips continue to display their yellow and red blooms and provided a white backdrop for purple and pink tree blossoms. Driving to school that morning was a gift.
As the scene expanded with each mile, I could only think, “Wow! This is incredible! Thank you God!” A snow day would have been fun for children (and teachers), but I was grateful for this early morning forced drive – without it, I’d have forever missed this artwork! Trying to soak it in, without slowing traffic, I constantly nudged my son to look out the windows and appreciate this once-in-a-lifetime beauty as well. God is an amazing artist!
Ironically, the drive had already been growing in beauty before the snow, as spring replaced barren branches with a green backdrop and the pink, white, and purple tree blossoms. The afternoon drive restored this growing beauty with only shaded snow pockets remaining. At first, there was a sadness. Oh, to see that rare morning beauty again! But reason recalled that this view had been lifting my spirits each morning as winter faded and spring took hold.
Is there a message here from You, God? Perhaps my own admonishment to our boys when a great thing ends – Remember and be grateful for the gift you received, but without holding the sorrow at its end. There’s no point in giving you a good thing if it will only leave you in sadness. Words I need to remember for myself! This is the struggle when we lose someone we love. Our grief spills over the memories and drowns the joy of previous experiences, at least for a time. But the happiness of the gift enjoyed should rise again and cover the grief, eventually. Not erasing sorrow for the loss, but reducing it below the remembered joys.
God, help me have gratitude for all the good I had with this person and let their life not become just a sorrow, but all that brought us love instead! We know everyone and everything in our lives are temporary – God never said otherwise, except for Him and His Love. And with these come an eternal reunion with our loved ones who sought to be with Him. And there comes an eternal life with the most loving, kind, and caring people who ever lived. And yes, fun too! Read the saints’ lives – they loved fun and laughter.
During one moment of savoring our late-winter gift, St. Paul’s words to the Corinthians echoed, “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him,”
As incredible as was that beauty, heaven holds beauty that makes this look, perhaps, childish. We tell our children they need to be patient, to study and work hard now so that they become self-dependent, having the choice of an employment they enjoy. We parents need to recall that for ourselves, seeing our lives now as preparation and putting aside the equivalent of frequent college parties, video-game all-nighters, and general, overriding self-indulgence for the sake of retaining our opportunity for perfect happiness.
While friends might preach “Do what feels good,” God and history make clear that what "feels good” needs to be “true good.” For ourselves and our children, we need to recall and better learn the Ten Commandments and all of our faith’s Wisdom to know the “true good” so that we can partake in what God has ready for us. They need this more than ever or no job on earth will bring happiness.
Hug your children tight, remind them that they can only make good choices if they know what "good" actually is - and God is most willing to help us know! May God bless you and your family abundantly!
- Linda Bader, CRE St.Thomas More
P.S. Did you know.... St. Gianna Molla was a young mother, wife and doctor, born in 1962. She lived a life of selflessness, true holiness,and simple joy that reminded those around her to entrust their lives to God. A working mother and faithful spouse, she believed in the value of all life, including the elderly and unborn. Gianna was recognized as a holy role model for young mothers. During her fourth' child's pregnancy, a tumor in her uterus had to be removed. Aborting the child would have preserved her life, but she refused to kill her child in order to save her own life. The tumor was removed while preserving the child's life, but shortly after delivery of her child, Gianna died. She was canonized, publicly recognized as a saint, in 2004. In 2003, St. Gianna's intercession was sought for an unborn child facing fatal complications, but the child was miraculously carried to term and born healthy.