On my second round trip drive from St. Joseph Parish School’s tonight all I could think about was a heating pad and my comfortable, warm bed. The thirty minute commute to Andrew’s school is worth it for many reasons, but a sore back and late Back to School Night had made me less than happy on this particular evening. Needless to say I was not planning to write a blog post tonight.
And then it happened. I had casually turned on my podcasts and hit random when a favorite speaker’s deep voice spoke out abruptly in my dark car as I sped through winding, deserted back roads toward home. “The Resurrection in faith tells us that death…you don’t win! This world as we know it is not the final reality and we are not meant to live here permanently. We are meant to be born into a higher world.”
I burst into tears thinking about the meaning of these beautiful words that I know to be true. How did God know that I needed to hear these words now…tonight…alone in the darkness of my car? Why did that particular podcast of Bishop Barron’s come on? Mom always told me there were NO coincidences in this life and I don’t think tonight’s episode was one. I think it was God’s voice, prompted by her – because she knew how much our family needed to hear from her to know that she is exactly where she is supposed to be.
Sometimes when life is difficult, it is hard to believe in and live our faith. But these are the moments when it is essential. Mom knew this and taught me this important lesson. When her cancer progressed a few months ago, she didn’t stop praying or going to Mass – deep held practices which sustained her for 75 years. She may have questioned or been frustrated, which is normal, but she still persevered. Even though she may not have felt anything, she still made an act of faith and this very effort gave her many graces to endure the challenges of the last month of her disease. Mom knew, This world as we know it is not the final reality and we are not meant to live here permanently. We are meant to be born into a higher world.
My mom lived her Catholic faith and knew that heaven is real and she taught all of us to believe in that reality with the hope that we would one day meet our Lord in His glory. We used to ponder what it would be like in heaven. I’m not sure but I liked my brother’s description from his beautiful eulogy: Heaven is like pulling into mom and dad’s home on Graybirch Road, Cape Cod. You arrive with your family and bags of treats, enter through the side door and turn the corner with anticipation and there on the counter are flickering candles and fresh flowers. Trays of cheese, fruit and wine adorn the side counter and the lights are dim and welcoming. Coming toward you with arms wide open is the loveliest woman you have ever seen – she is pure love – wide, joyful smile and so eager to embrace you. “Hi mom!” That sure sounds like heaven to me.
Despite the pain of desperately missing her, I hold on to God’s promise that someday I will see her again. But until then, I will try my hardest (in this life) to follow her heroic example to be a woman of deep faith, unfailing hope and unconditional love. Afterall, she’ll be watching.