Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pink Candles

This past Sunday was Gaudete Sunday, or "Pink Candle Sunday" if you are one of my kids. Rejoice. Fat chance, right? 

This was a weekend that our children could do no wrong. Waking up in the middle of the night with Molly snuggled up against me brought no irritation. I scooped her closer to me and rested better with her body near to mine. That body, it is so beautiful. Her milky skin and freckle dappled face, her pink lips and pointy chin and merry eyes all bring such joy to us. What would I do without that body? I would still love her, wholly as always. How could I live without the heat of her back against me, the feel of her delicate fingers stroking my face as she does, the scent of her hair and breath?

Understandably many people are outraged and angry. I suppose if I dug deep enough I could get pretty angry too. It's not so much the Sandy Hook horror that makes me angry. That just makes me sad, deeply inconsolably sad. It's more of the political opportunism of left and right, atheist and theist, etc. Can we not take a few days to just have broken hearts, to just hold one another tighter, smile at our kids' naughty antics and try our very best not to let our pain dribble over into irritation at the innocent? But I refuse to get too worked up about those things. 

I could get pretty angry about this too. Here is a man, who is well respected, openly advocating for the forcible murder of babies he deems too much of a drain on society. I could get pretty furious that there are people willing to vote for him in spite of this, since they refuse to be a "one issue voter". Or that there are many who, in the recesses of their hearts, agree with this utilitarian eugenicist. Yes, I could be very angry about that.

There are many things in daily life that frustrate me so much I could muster up some serious rage. Kids getting sick at the worst possible time, a child who I can not seem to get to nap properly, the time that slips away when I should be preparing for the upcoming school break and Christmas holiday. All of these things can build and build and build until....KABOOM! Mommy's on a rampage through the house listing all of the things that are wrong in the house, the neighborhood, the city, the country and the world. STOMP STOMP STOMP SLAM!

Instead I'd like to share my prayer these days:
Lord, give me peace and joy this season, but if I cannot have it, give me a peaceful and joyful face, voice and body. Let my heart suffer in silence while my body becomes a vehicle for the peace and joy you wish to share with the world. 

Or in the case of an emergency: God help me fake it.

Yesterday I heard of one of the children of Sandy Hook being buried in his favorite jersey. I thought of Paul and if I had to bury him I would not put him in "button pants" (pants that are not elastic).  He hates button pants. I do not wish to live in a world where I consider, even for a moment, what my child would want to wear in his casket.

St. Therese wrote of living life "The Little Way". St Therese translated “the little way” in terms of a commitment to the tasks and to the people we meet in our everyday lives. Meaning that we, in each moment of our lives have the opportunity to act with purpose, consideration and kindness. If we see our jerky kid left his stupid socks next to the couch last night, we don't blast him either aloud or under our breath. We pick up his socks and say nothing or, if you've really perfected it, say a blessing for him.* We wake and get busy about the tasks in our lives happily rather than grudgingly, and yes, that means dealing with school traffic with patience. The "little way" has a way of becoming bigger and bigger in our lives and transforms us into saints.

I think starting small is the best way to keep the devil in check. I'm sure he is dancing victoriously over the vitriol that has spilled over from the tragedy, as I'm sure he danced with delight at the moment of the tragedy. I quit this game. I'm saying no to the anger and vitriol and petulance. I'm going to let myself be sad, let myself hurt and pray I can be a beacon of comfort and joy for those who need it. While I grieve for all the loss this past Friday, I will light a candle in my heart for the deceased. But it will be pink, if just to win one for God. Gaudete indeed.

Gaudete in Domino semper
iterum dico gaudete.

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