Monday, April 30, 2012

The Stone that Was Rejected...

I feel as though I have been a writing machine these last weeks, just not here in my own blogspace. The class in families and aging that I took this spring is drawing to a close--one more page to write to hit the minimum, and after a good night's sleep, I am convinced I'll pass the minimum. I was greeted this morning with a reinforcement of yesterday's Mass readings in the form of Robert Sylvester's blog on the Notre Dame Initiative on Spirituality in the Professions site: I have felt that rejection so strongly and so deeply in the past two years. It began with our failed adoption process with our young great-nephews. Our family counselor projected the likelihood of failure based on their history and our--we were coming from two extremes toward one another. In the end, the story that our counselor helped us to write to understand the situation and to mitigate our overwhelming sadness and sense of failure has become the truth. That statement is misleading, in that I believe firmly it was the truth all along, but the world was pressuring me to make it my fault and my failure. I was not the right stone. I was rejected by the builder. For another time, for another situation, I am the cornerstone. From the failed adoption my life moved right into another failure, one that I shared a part but did not call my own. My mother's fading health and mental capacity, coupled with her failure to initiate Medicare Part B coverage in a timely manner from the time of her retirement date created a scenario which left me feeling hopeless, lost and at fault for my mother's illness. I didn't press her enough, I didn't care enough to force her to the doctor, I didn't take her back for her annual checkup. I didn't. She didn't either, and I don't hold blame for her. I don't hold blame for myself either. As a dear friend who has known great loss, and found great joy in its wake has reassured me, "It is what it is." The failings were amplified by my employment experience at the time. I did not fit the unspoken expectations. I was assured I was meeting the bar only later to be told it was a ploy to encourage and summon better performance. I can blame, I can gnash, I can snarl, I can strike back. I can accept: I am the stone rejected by the builder. I will be the cornerstone. I have had colleagues tell me that I had no support, was given no direction, was offered no help. That is not completely true. I had all the support I needed. I had the perfect directions. I was enveloped in help. The source was not my employer. I thank God and the love of Christ for taking my hand through the storm and for seeing me to safety. In all of this, at the very center core I have found forgiveness. I have offered forgiveness to others. I have forgiven. In what I view at the aftermath, one year later, I have found the direction I need and will be sustained in all that I do. I continue to learn. I continue to contribute. I continue to pray. I continue to love. I am the cornerstone.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Renewal through washing

Having just celebrated Easter on Sunday, I was awed by the power in the reminder of my baptism. I had attended Good Friday services, but stayed home with my husband on Saturday and did not attend the Vigil services. The sunshine came through the stained glass windows and covered me with light. As our priest blessed the sanctuary, the scent of incense filled me with hope, and then we renewed our baptismal vows. It is such a blessing to remind ourselves that we are forgiven. That we no longer need to bear the guilt of our transgressions as we are washed clean of our sins.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Did I ever tell you how much I don't care for basketball?

Oh, but I've learned to enjoy it. At the end of March, known for its basketball hoopla and madness, I was invited to attend our goddaughter's trip to the Lutheran Basketball Association of America (LBAA) National Tournament. It was close to home and while I had some competing priorities, everything fell into place so I could spend an afternoon and evening with our extended family of friends from Southern Indiana.

I will admit, I wasn't going for the basketball by any means. I've never really caught the fever, so to speak. I remember a long ago Chicago Bulls run at the NBA Championship. I can't tell you the year, I can only say it was just at the tail of Michael Jordan's era, and now I can't even tell you if they won or lost. It was exciting, and I hadn't watched or kept up with any team sports at that time. By the next season, I think it was delayed by some sort of strike or disagreement, I had lost all interest.

Enter in the day long visit with friends on the nearby Valparaiso University campus. We met for lunch in Merrillville, and parted for a few hours after so they could go back to their hotel and recoup. I realized it had been more than two years since our last visit. Somewhat shameful on our part, but I also recognize how busy each of our families have been in that time, and the personal tragedies we've encountered. The kids are certainly growing up quickly and they make me happy and proud to be their godparents.

I sat with the mom and dad and watched part of a boys' game. They're tall eighth and seventh graders, and they're focused and strong. The girls' teams are really no different. We faced a delay of game and waited to watch our star's team play. Our goddaughter didn't get any court time in the game I watched--the opposing team was aggressive in a questionable way, the referees were making dubious calls against our team, or not making calls against the opposing team, and yet the team was on fire. The energy was not merely on the court, it was on the bench and in the fan section as well.

I've been having a difficult time getting the impact of that energy out of my head. I don't want it to leave, mind you. It has become a vital part of my day. The sweetness of the support for these young women who were on the court after delays which served only to increase their nerves was unbound. And its message has taken hold and carried forth outside the doors. This was such a blessing to my Holy Week observance. I can't count the number of times I chanted, " I! I believe!" in moments of quiet, and in my head. While sports were at hand, I believe the voices were lifted in support of the Creator, in support of all that is good, in support of what it means to have a shared vision, in support of what it means to Believe.

I! I believe! (In Basketball and so much more!)