June 26, 2009
I've been pouting a bit lately. By pouting I mean prone to buckets of tears with no notice. By pouting I mean, having myself a little pity party. A friend once said, "sit on the pity pot but don't forget to flush." Well, my pouting self has been sitting on the pity pot one magazine too long. But to give myself a little bit of grace, there are reasons to pout.
Two of my sweetest friends will not be in or at my wedding. I am happy for them and can't wait to meet the babies that will debut just after September 26th, but I am pouting because I want them there. I stood with them and I want them to stand with me. Solace comes from the fact that when I get home from our honeymoon, I will be smothering their sons with my kisses. But I'm still pouting.
I'm pouting because in what is supposed to be a very exciting, special time in a gal's life, I am at times disappointed. Well intentioned friends are understandably wrapped up in their own lives. I am no hypocrite so I will not hold this against anyone. But Lord knows I have a new respect for those who make commitments and keep them. I am pouting because I want to be excited about this time in my life but around every corner is a new stumbling block.
And around every stumbling block is a missed call on my cell, likely with new news of violence in Afghanistan. I miss my brother. He has been in 3 attacks in 4 weeks. He has watched people he cares for get maimed and killed. He sleeps with the sounds of rockets and missiles. He is 25 and is my baby brother. This is not okay. And, drum roll please, he will not be at my wedding. Now I know things like middle east peace trump the Sullivan-Ninness nuptials, but it's my pity party and I'll cry if I want to. (sorry, cheesy). I want him there. I need him to tell me I look beautiful and hug me. I need him to separate Katie and I if we start sparring. I need to see his face for myself and know he is safe. But, all signs point to that not happening. And excuse me sir if I am not quite done stomping my feet and throwing a temper tantrum.
I'm pouting because I will miss dear friends at my wedding and because despite my best efforts not to, I got caught up in what a wedding means to the secular world. I am pouting because my fiance deserves more than the racoon-eyed blubbering girl he got. I am pouting because I cannot shake the fear in my heart that the next call about Pat will be a really bad call. And I almost put the icing on the top of my pity party cake this morning. Almost.
I crawled out of bed after a restless night sleep and went to the gym. My preggo gym partner wasn't there and the only thing on the news was about Michael Jackson (may be rest in peace today). I did not have the energy. So, knowing I would be mad at myself, I got off the elliptical after 9 minutes and 40 seconds. It was only when I got in the car and saw the clock that a glimmer of hope for flushing that pity pot actually shone through. It was 6:52.
Exactly 8 minutes later I arrived at the Gift of Grace. I quietly walked into the tiny cell block of a room and sat behind the 4 sweet nunlets as the first reading was read during morning Mass. Commence the end of the pity party. By the time we stood for the Gospel, the chant of the Alleluia was flooding my heart. As always, this celebration of the Eucharist fills up my soul. As Father began the gospel, I asked the Lord how I should pray. Should I pray with confidence that Patrick will be home for the wedding? Is that a selfish prayer? If I do, how do I prepare my heart for the possibility that he doesn't come home, for the wedding...or ever? And then Father began the reading from Mark chapter 14 about God telling Abraham and Sarah they would have a child. Father Al referenced this kind of faith to Mark Chapter 1, when the leper reaches out to Jesus and says "If you want to, you can cure me."
I would have bet you the $121.92 in my checking account that he read, "if you want to, you can bring Patrick home to us." The swiftness with which my prayer was answered about knocked me onto the concrete floor. With a deep breath, I write with conviction that if God wants him to, Patrick will be home for the wedding. If God wants to, God will bring him home unharmed. This feels right to me. Because, as my blessing of a fiance said to me today, maybe God has other plans for Patrick. Maybe on the day of my wedding, an Afghan child will need to be protected. Maybe on the day of my wedding, Patrick will save a life. Maybe, he will be sitting bored but will raise the spirits of a saddened soldier. For any of these reasons and more, I can trust that Patrick will be where God needs him to be on September 26th, and on every day. The Lord has used that boy (man now) to enrich bazillions of lives. The Lord has used that young man to bring giggles to hundreds of children and to tickle his sisters until they scream. God's plan for Patrick to better the world is soooo much bigger than September 26th. It is sooo much bigger than life on this side of heaven.
So, in answer to my question, yes, I will pray confidently. Not that Patrick will be home. But that wherever he is, is exactly where our God wants him to be.
And as for the rest of my pouting, maybe good ole Jesus was teaching me an itty bitty lesson. This wedding Mass will be a sacrament. And while the people that bless us with their presence are there to witness and support our marriage, the three people that matter most will be there. The bride, the groom, and the savior.
Bottom lip now tucked safely in. Pity pot flushed.