The first time I had chicken pox, I was in third grade – and I was excited. In mid-December, an outbreak occurred on our bus – and my best friend, Jina Lilly, got the pox. I was excited; I hadn’t yet had the pox – and I wanted it. You know, because then I wouldn’t ever get them again. (Insert irony)
I got my wish. I got the pox right before Christmas break. At first, I was glad – you know, because I got what I wanted. …and then, the reality of illness set in. I had to miss my Christmas concert at school, the Christmas party…and, as the days wore on, I realized that I was going to have to miss Christmas Eve service. As my mom recalls, I was heartbroken.
Fast-forward twenty-five years (crazy, right?) and my second bout with the pox. During the week, I didn’t really think it was going to be this long. I figured that by the weekend, the pox would be dried up and be on the mend. I was feeling more energetic by Friday. And, it’s Holy Week, right? So, if God is healing my body, He’ll have me healed so I can take part in Holy Week, right?
…and, then, yesterday, a tiny new outbreak, just a few bumps. …but enough to indicate that I am still contagious. I might feel better, but who knows who has come to worship this weekend alongside me with an immune system at-risk?
The reality of having to “sit out” the most sorrowful,, solemn, and joyous services – well, they have left me heartbroken, again.
You see, friends, since September, I have been walking alongside a young lady, who desires to be Catholic. It has been such a blessing. I can’t even begin to recount to you the pure joy that I have had in becoming friends with Michaela, and the ways that God has made us similar, and the lessons that He has taught me this year. I have been so blessed.
And, the pinnacle was last night: Michaela received her first Communion and Confirmation at Easter Vigil, with two others, who have become dear to me.
When I saw those little pox, my heart sunk. When my aunt confirmed that I should stay home, I cried. …for like twenty minutes.
This morning, when those little pox were bigger, I realized that I would need to stay home this morning, too. As my husband and parents-in-law got ready to leave, I started crying. I sent my mom a text saying, “You raised me right; I have to stay home from church – and I’m crying about it.”
She wrote me back saying how much she wished that I could be at church, too. …and then I realized that if I am heartbroken about not worshipping with my brothers and sisters – about not being able to share in this Easter joy with my community…how much more does God want this for me? For you? For US? He made US for community – and He wants US to celebrate together; to worship in Spirit and in Truth – together. As one Body. Isn’t this what he prayed for, with tears, and loud cries, and anguished soul – right before He offered Himself up for US on that cross?
I pray not only for them (his disciples), but also for those who will believe in me through their word (US), so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and I in them.
John 17: 20 – 26
As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said, let us sing. Let us sing, Alleluia, together – for our King has come, and He has risen…. And, we have a Living Hope.
Enjoy a little “throwback” – I Can Only Imagine, by MercyMe. This brought me to tears today.