During a cross country trip traveling with my daughter, we sat in a roadside restaurant somewhere in South Dakota. Our attention was directed to a little girl about 3 or 4 years old, I am not sure what she did to get our attention but I remember commenting to her father about how cute she was. “Well, she is definitely a leader” her father commented, and with a chuckle he continues to tell us “I said to my wife, we better make sure she goes down the right road, because if we don’t she will be taking a lot of people down the wrong road with her”.
That quick encounter happened 19 years ago. I have recalled that moment many times since, the memory always brings a smile and a chuckle, and makes me wonder where and what that sweet child is doing now.
In that moment while my daughter and I sat admiring a child who couldn’t contain the Joy the day was bringing her, each one of us were unaware of the events that will be yet to unfold in each of our futures.
Recently during caregiving, the wife of a person I was taking care of stated to me, “if I knew before hand the death and illness my family would have to face, I would never even have gotten married.”
Time is irreplaceable. Life doesn’t allow for “do overs”. It requires us to dive into unforeseen adventures.
Is there really such a thing as “the right road” or is that “road” forever changing and relative only to each precious moment in time?
I have learned that life teaches by experiences. We can try to prepare ourselves and do our absolute best at living “right” and staying on the “right road” but in reality, each moment of the day we are called to improvise and navigate through the encounters life brings to us in that very moment.
The maturity of our faith can change with every new event we experience; new person we encounter or conversation we share.
22 years ago my mother who was nearing death was attempting to prepare me for navigating through my life without her. What she was telling me wasn’t making sense in that moment. It appeared as if she was hallucinating or deeply confused. It wasn’t until after her passing when events began to unfold and the memories of those moments began to become clear.
For months afterward I searched every memory for a deeper meaning, trying desperately to understand the hidden messages she was attempting to place before me. I never felt so alone and unprepared for what was next to come. I prayed desperately for understanding, wisdom and strength to continue on and know what to do next. I searched each word that was spoken to me for a deeper meaning. I ran each sentence over and over in my mind trying to decipher its intended message. Finally, at the point of exhaustion I lay down in a field one night crying hysterically asking God “please just come and be me, because I don’t know how to be me anymore”.
Deep in my heart I knew mothers can’t give up. Responsibilities loom and love reaches out beyond all limitations. It wasn’t until that night laying in the field under the stars when I ask God to take over and help me be me, that I wholeheartedly understood that He doesn’t want us to be doing this alone. He is more than a Prayer; He is our inner strength. He is the very breath we inhale, the Blood that keeps our body alive. He is our Soul. The heartbeat in our earthly body that keeps us alive and carries us through difficult experiences.
My life from this point on has not been easy it has included devastating sorrow with the loss of our 11-year-old grandson but also great appreciation for the Blessing of his presence with us for those beautiful and precious 11 years.
The Holy Spirit within continues to keep me strong and resilient, fills me with understanding, empathy and respect for others, but most of all fills me with Joy every time I am able to share in the daily Miracles and Blessing that continue to prove God’s Love for us.
With Respect, Hope, Joy and Love, Carmela