Happy Easter, Every One of Us!
Are still carrying the joy of the Resurrection in your hearts this morning? We should be. That is the promise of the Easter message, isn't it? We are now a people of joy--not just happy people, for the "feeling" of happiness is fleeting, but people filled with the joy only God can give.
At Easter Mass yesterday, spread between two small pews (and one more on the altar serving!) I gazed upon my family. Big girls led little girls in singing "Jesus Christ is Risen Today!" with loud, deliberate choruses of "Alleluias!" My husband engaged a squirmy toddler with a board book of the Lord's Prayer, while snuggling a sleepy three-year old girl against his side. At one point, the five children sitting with us squealed with delight as their oldest sibling walked alongside our newly minted Monsignor to bless the congregation with Holy Water. Joy was bursting out of every pore on my overly-sentimental mommy face.
But for a moment, my thoughts spun wildly out of control. This moment that I was soaking in every drop of was fleeting and the sudden realization put an instant lump in my throat.
Why do we continue to be open to life after six children? Heck, why after two or four? People ask us this all the time and while it's been something that was always known in my heart, it's been difficult to verbalize. But now, I know. We have been blessed six times over, through births and through adoption, to care for these lives that God has entrusted to us; but at some point it will end--and whether we like the timing or not, won't be a question we'll be asked to answer.
Some day, from our squirmy toddlers to our crying babies, from our sleepy-headed little girls to their helpful big sisters, and right down to our one old enough to serve at our Mass, will all be gone. If we've done things well, hopefully, we won't look back and wish for more time we should have spent with them and more memories we should have made. But in reality, the finiteness of this life--I think-- will always leave us wanting more.
There is a story on the Couple-to-Couple League's website told by a couple while they were engaged and trying to discern if they would be open to life on their honeymoon, knowing that it was a fertile time. They did and nine months later their first--and ONLY--son was born. Ten years later, he's still their only child.
So many times this world tells us WE are in control. WE have choices. WE can have what WE want, when WE want it. But if you've lived long enough, or hard enough, you know that reality can be a cruel mistress. Ask that couple who is "unexpectedly" expecting. Or the couple who waits for news that they'll finally be parents. Talk to the parents waiting for an adoption to finalize. Or the couple who is busy meeting with a funeral director instead of decorating a nursery, attending a soccer game or scheduling college visits.
Our children aren't ours, created from an "add water and mix" packet readily available on every corner. They are gifts, given to us, by God, who lovingly allows us to assist him in co-creating His precious children. Looking among the pews at church Easter morning, my joy was complete, not because of anything I had done, but because of everything God had done for me.