Sunday, November 28, 2010

Life, Death, Skunks and Refrigerators

For the last two weeks, I keep thinking to myself.... I haven't blogged in forever. Alright maybe "forever" is a bit much but its been a while.  Life has been swirling around me in many ways.  We've been busy, the routine of school has gotten a bit easier (when everyone complies with the routine!) however, the shortened days make for a challenge and the thought of a long winter with six little ones stinks.  Hopefully, we'll all stay healthy and we're already setting the stage by 'mandatory outside time", unless it is pouring rain!  Our parcel of land is small - 50x 100 but I'm always amazed at what new games, activities and surprises the kids come up with.  It goes to show me that they don't need the world - they already see the world at their fingertips... oftentimes in the postage stamp back yard and  - if the weather doesn't cooperate - we resort to 'indoor explorer mode'.

At the start of this month I lost a colleague to death. It was very unexpected - a reminder for me of today's Gospel reading and the whole purpose of Advent.  She was only in her mid 50's.  As it happened all I could think of saying to God was "this stinks".  This was the thought in my mind for days until... John Paul showed me - during a MOT (mandatory outside time) that my thoughts were like a skunk....stinking up my life and that I had to set a trap to scare them away. 

Of all our children, John Paul and Patrick are philosophers in training. They don't mean to be, of course, but they seem to be the voices through which God gets to me most often. They have very different styles of doing it but both do.

My skunk trap encounter with John Paul in the back yard  was followed up shortly thereafter during a snack break in IEM (indoor explorer mode) when I spotted Pat alternatively scavengering for a 'banilla' yogurt and testing the theory of the refridgerator light. (Come on, we've all done it as some point in our life.... we had to get the answer to the question of what happens to the refrigerator when we close the door!)  He was unaware I had the Ipod running and seemed bound and determined to catch the exact moment, mechanism and means by which that refrigerator light was controlled.  He's not unlike his mother - thinking that God should show me all the intricacies of His plan, explain them ahead of time and allow me to determine when the light comes on or goes off.  My friend's recent death was the  proverbial fridge "light bulb going off" for me. 
As I watched Patrick trying to capture the exact moment of the change and understand the cause - I marveled at my own lack of faith.  Haven't I always believed that death changes life, it doesn't end it?  Just cause the light in the fridge goes out, doesn't mean the food isn't still there. God has promised me that he will provide me   - and my friend Mary -with eternal life.  So why do I keep testing the door of the fridge instead of trusting? 

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