Imagine my surprise as I prayed over the past week – prayed the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary – imagine my surprise when the words of the prayers did not include:
Oh, God, bring Michael back
God of Heaven and Earth, let Amy go back in time and forcibly take Michael to the doctor
The Third Glorious Mystery: Time is transcended, Michael has his cell phone on him and Amy is contacted immediately instead of 5 hours after it happened.
Blessed be God, let Amy feel Michael’s presence.
I didn’t hear or read any of that, anywhere.
Instead it was all about God.
God here, God there. Thirsting for God’s presence, for God’s love and justice. Rejoicing, even. Rejoicing in the Word made flesh, embracing the cross. Mercy was sought. Mercy was begged for. Peace. Refuge from enemies. Eyes looking forward, hearts aching, spirits racing for God.
And there were mysteries.
I was tempted to dismiss it all out of hand. “Who needs that crap,” I thought, “we have a crisis here.”
I sat on the floor with the rosary he had in his pocket, the other hand resting on the shadow box full of relics, and probably a shirt of his near at hand. And even though I knew he would be saying, “Are you nuts?” at the sight, I thought, “If I do this, I will feel close to him. It will be like we are just sitting on the couch watching Big Love.”
The truth shot back at me and almost knocked me over.
“Seek God,” the Truth said, “not Michael.”
Another set of thoughts:
For years – 26, to be exact – I have practiced letting people belong to God, not me. It is my mode of parenting, to try my hardest to respect the child as a child, first of all, of God. The road was seriously paved for this when my oldest left home for college 8 years ago, totally on his own journey. And as he and the others grow and developed, I worked harder and harder on it inside my soul.
Let go. They are the Lord’s. They walk with Him, they do not belong to you, they do not exist for your satisfaction or pleasure or entertainment or for any affirmation of anything you have done. They are the Lord’s.
Little did I know, never could I have imagined that this effort of mine would be so deeply put to the test – most deeply put to the test – not by my children’s lives, but by my husband’s.
From where I sit on my bed, I count 6 icons, 2 crucifixes, one image of St. Francis, one image of Adam and Eve being lifted from death, and that relic box. Oh, and I see a Guadalupe. And a Florida Gator basketball schedule.
None are “mine.” they were all his.
He prayed the Office almost every day of the last 25 years or so. Prayed the rosary every day for longer. Went to Mass almost every day.
He prayed, and knew intimately all those words I have been praying – or trying to pray – so intensely over the past week.
Thirsting for God. Rescuing from the snares of the enemy. Letting Christ live in me, being consumed, taken over by Christ, the Risen One, alive in Him. Praying for that. Every day. Asking God for mercy, for forgiveness, for peace. For the total embrace of Love.
The hope strikes me, again with great force.
His prayers have been answered.
How can I, even as I acknowledge the crushing, puzzling, confusing loss and my shattered heart – for even Jesus wept – how can I say that I love him and that I believe all this stuff we both said we believed is actually true – and not allow some gratitude, albeit limited and struggling gratitude – to creep into my soul, for that thing, which is not a small thing, but a great thing?
That his prayers – all those prayers, all of the seeking and yearning and hoping have found their blessed end?
Imagine my surprise.