Friday, October 09, 2009

friday five: moments of our lives

At RevGals Sophia ruminates about a pending event, and writes: "This has me thinking of the special rites of passage in our lives which we participate for ourselves or in which we support and bless others: baptism, confirmation, marriage, ordination, graduation, funerals, etc. Such important days, so exciting and joyous, but also sometimes anxiety provoking or deeply painful....So, this week, please share five memories of such sacred moments with God and her holy people from your life and the lives of those you love."

I'm going to do this in chronological order, just because

1) One of the most profound privileges of a sacramental ministry occurs during periods of vulnerability in a person's or family's life. The death of a loved one, particularly, invites poignant sharing and the opportunity for extraordinary ministry. I have come to treasure these moments spent with the dying and members of their families, and in compassionate tending while others have grieved. These are sacred times of deep love, and an opportunity to offer, according to God's mercy, that divine peace that passes all understanding. This columbarium holds the remains of some for whom I cared, who from their labors rest.
2) One day my dearest friend called me with great excitement in her voice. "We're going to be grandmothers!" she burst out with the news of her daughter's pregnancy. My relationship with Kathy and her family was wonderfully integrated, and I was folded into her clan with generous hospitality by all of them. I enjoyed easy relationships with her mother, brothers and extended family, and had an especially close relationship with her daughter, Carrie. And so a grandmother (with a small g) was born.

A year after Katie was born I baptized her. It was a joyous time, and offered the opportunity for a technological first: one set of godparents were in Virginia, but we put them on speaker phone via a cell phone and they participated in the promises and vows by voice. I can't put my hands on the pictures from that day, but I did put together a hastily assembled scrapbook page of the event. I love the picture of Katie reaching/pointing toward the flame of the altar candle, and saw in that gesture what became the title of the page: reaching for the light.

3) Ken's son, Kenneth, Jr., is like a son to me. His father is retired army, 82nd Airborne and then some. Growing up Junior was eager to follow in his father's footsteps, kicked up a notch. Four summers ago he graduated from Ranger school and became a full-fledge Army Ranger. It was a dream fulfilled for him, and a moment of pride for those of us who love him. Junior is now in the National Guard after completing six tours to Iraq and Afghanistan as a Ranger.

4) Our wedding! I waited a long time to be married (I was 48!). We actually had two weddings: a civil ceremony (conducted by the state's supreme court justice, and an Episcopalian!), and then a blessing of our marriage several months later where we could do the church thing and have everyone there (except Junior, dang it all, who was off learning how to escape and evade). This is my favorite picture of us from that day.


5) The birth of Luke, our first grandchild. Luke was eight days when we first met him. This picture of Ken kissing Luke's forehead is one of my favorites of those few days we spent getting acquainted. We saw Luke again when he was six weeks old and haven't seen him since. He will be two in November. A difficult relationship between father and daughter took a painful twist after that last time with Luke, and it remains to be seen, still, how it will be resolved, if it will be resolved. Grandchild number two is about to enter the world and we don't even know if we'll learn of his or her arrival.

Even without any real relationship with Luke, his arrival in the world tagged me as Nana. In spite of the pain of not being able to live into that role, it is a role nonetheless. It is agonizing to fall in love with a child and then be parted from him and all news of him. But I hold him in my heart and remember the few precious days of holding him and cooing over him and falling in love with him.

8 comments:

Mompriest said...

beautiful memories and photos!

Mary Beth said...

They are. So sorry about the rift. May it be healed in God's time. May that be soon...

KimQuiltz said...

I loved having my first cup of coffee with you this morning and hearing a bit of your Story (complete with illustrations!). Thank you!

RevDrKate said...

Lovely photos and memories...sorry that some of them are bittersweet as well.

Jan said...

Such lovely photographs. Thank you for sharing all those memories, reminding us that the sweet goes along with the painful. (Esp. as I am currently reading Rohr's latest book "The Naked Now" and he stresses our habitual outlook of dualism as a hindrance to the present moment.)

Deb said...

Thanks for the pictures, and for sharing your heart... may little Luke and his sibling come to have a relationship with their Nana again.

And it's nice to hear there's another Johnnie family out there. I don't have to explain the program to you! LOL...

Deb

Jayne said...

What a beautiful post my friend...

Sophia said...

This is stunningly beautiful, Altar Ego! So glad I finally got to read it.

Love and prayers for the pain here and the one you mention above. I am here offfline-email, fb message, or phone number shared in those contexts--if talking it through would ever help. Except for today with the laryngitis!

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