return to me...

This weekend was an emotional one for me. Last week one of Courtney's classmates passed away and yesterday was the funeral. It was beautiful and so profound. I watched his grieving parents hold their heads high with such dignity and grace. Their hearts broken and arms empty.

I sat in the most beautiful church surrounded by the love for this young man. He was a Melkite Catholic as his family is Middle Eastern. The church was lined with stunning icons and adorned with scripture written in Greek, Arabic and English. The service was rich in thousands of years of tradition with the cantor singing the Scriptures and the priest singing the prayers.

When it was time for the homily, I was having trouble keeping my emotions in check. The smell of incense and the ringing of the bells reminded me so much of the Roman Rite which my family practices. The words the priest spoke wound their way around my heart and have stayed with me. He spoke of God's mercy and how Joseph's life was a gift to his parents. I smiled as the tears streamed down my face I could only think of my own gift waiting for me at home with all of those crazy curls and a 1000 watt smile.

He reminded me that our children belong to God and sometimes God asks for them to return to Him sooner than we would like. But imagine how it is for Joseph. He is free from a body that held him back. He is free from the pain of seizures and other ailments that plagued him his entire life. He is dancing, running and playing at the foot of the throne of God. Hopefully one day we will join him. He spoke of the privilege we were granted in knowing him, caring for him and loving this miracle of humanity. God chose this family, this community to love His precious creation.

This is what has stayed with me. God chose Jerry and I to be Courtney and Jonathan's parents. We were chosen to love and care for them in all of the uniqueness. Joseph's parents were chosen for him and when the time came He asked them to make the ultimate sacrifice. To return Joseph to His loving arms in heaven. As a mother, my heart aches for any mother who is asked to make that sacrifice. I know that I too may one day be asked to do the same. I don't understand it. I don't like it, but then it doesn't really matter does it? It's His plan, not mine. It's His decision not mine. It's His will not mine.

As I said my final prayers by Joseph's casket, I thought of Mary and her "yes" to Our Lord and how that changed the course of history. She had no idea how this "yes" would change her life or how it would break her heart. She just trusted completely in God, that he would guide her path all the days of her life.

I pray that I may do the day at a time.

+Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them him.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the Mercy of God, rest in peace.

So on this Monday I am so grateful for:

 # 97 ~ 
a beautiful daughter who cannot see, cannot walk or talk but speaks the language of love directly to my heart 

#98 ~
a son who stands straight and tall guarding his sister's innocence, protecting her from a world that says she is disposable

#99 ~
for my husbands strong back as he lifts our daughter day in and day out as we do our best to be the hands and feet of Christ

#100 ~
a heated home that protects us from the elements of wind, rain and snow

#101 ~
a job that allows me to take a mental health day to be with my sweet girl, loving her and creating new memories

#102 ~
a support system that surrounds my family with love and encouragement, no matter what

#103 ~ 
for the life of a wonderful young man who taught the world what love really looks like

#104 ~
for the teachers and staff at Kilmer Center who love the special ones of this world every single day. May God Bless you all!

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