day 21 ~ the cross...

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Our hearts were never meant to break. That wasn't God's plan in the beginning. We were meant to live in full communion with the Father for eternity. We were never meant to know fear or worry. We were meant for love and all consuming happiness. 

Adam and Eve changed that for us. She gave into temptation and he stood by idly as she did. There is fault to be found on both sides. Even in the garden God did not abandon his creation. There were consequences for their actions for sure, but God was still there, walking beside them, encouraging and loving them through every difficulty and suffering they endured. 

I am always a little taken aback when I hear so many grumbling about the sufferings in their lives. Don't get me wrong, I am a compassionate and empathetic woman. I understand suffering intimately, both my own and watching those I love dearly go through it. What gets me is that they think they can avoid it in life. Suffering is not easy or pleasant in any way shape or form but it is pretty much a guarantee in life. At some point in life you will endure pain and suffering. It's how you respond to it that's important. 

When my father died fifteen years ago, I thought I would never smile again. We were very close and I did not know how I was going to make it through that pain that was breaking me. I had never lost anyone that close to me before. It was horrible. 

I remember talking to my mother some weeks afterward. She had nursed and cared my Dad for ten years as he battled non-hodgkins lymphoma brought on by exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. My mother's heart was shattered when God took her husband home but she still laughed as much as she cried when she talked about him

I told her I didn't know what to do without Dad here with us. Where was I going to go for advice and counsel? How was I going to find joy again when I felt such a deep sorrow over his death? Her answer has never left me. 

"You're father will never leave you Mary Beth. He stands outside of time now. Every lesson he was meant to teach you has been taught. You just need to dig in to figure out those answers. Listen for his voice in those close to you. He is at peace now, no pain of suffering. It's what every spouse wants for the other. That's why I can smile. He is feeling nothing but joy in the arms of Our Lord. It will be OK. Listen to you heart and he will speak to you. Do not be afraid of the hard things. You Dad showed you how to weather a storm with unfailing faith. Just do what he taught you to do. Everything will be OK." 

Just do what he taught you to do. Everything will be OK.

My father had a tremendous devotion to Our Lady. He had a rosary under his pillow for the nights he could not sleep during chemo. He would pull it out and say rosary after rosary for those on his prayer list. He taught me to do the same. Mine is next to my bed at the ready. 

My father always tried to put family first. He was at every game, every band concert, every award ceremony. He wanted us to know how much he loved us even if he didn't say the words. We knew by his actions. I have strived to do the same. 

My father would say "Don't waste your time on regrets. That's the devil's way of stealing your joy and clouding your vision. Look to the Cross. All the answers are there, written in blood."

I thought I knew grief when I lost my Dad. Then my Courtney died and my heart was shattered. I didn't have a clue what grief was until I laid my child into the ground. 

Today I look to the Cross and the woman who stood with Our Lord until the end as I stood by my daughter.  

Pray with me won't you;  

Dearest Mother Mary, 

You never left your son. Not once, even as He made his way to Calvary. You prayed for strength and fortitude that He would do as the Father had asked. What glory He brought to the Father as his plan was fullfilled. Every lesson we have ever needed to learn was written in your Son's blood upon that Cross. May we always remember the sacrifice He offered freely for us, so that we may know the joy of heaven. May we emulate His strength, His fortitude and His humility as we go about completing the plan God has for each of us. 

We pray this in the name of your Son Jesus, 


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