I love going to church on Sunday mornings. There is a mass at the small catholic church, St. Nicholas in town at 8:00. The mass is less than an hour long so I can leave the house at 7:55, beat the priest into church, and be home at 9:00. Amazing. It’s a small crowd at mass and you get to noticing the familiar faces. Familiar faces but other than a forced handshake when we extend each other our hands in the sign of peace my presence is internal. I always find something useful from the mass. A quote, a reading, the priests sermon, observing my signs of faith.
Lately, I’ve been having a hard time making the 8:00 am mass as I can’t wake up in time. Lizzie’s sleep schedule seems turned upside down and as such we’re also struggling to get in each minute of sleep we can. More often lately I end up at the 5:00pm mass also close but more vast and modern in its feeling. I prefer St Nicholas but some days you just have to make due. St. Nickolas is a more traditional Catholic service and the other church is more modern and I find more comfort in the tradition of my childhood so it’s hard to go to the other church. But I like to go every week so some weeks I opt to be more modern!
Last week I slept in and needed to go to church to pray for a friend’s son who was having problems. So off to church I went. Once I’m there it is ok but still not the same feeling as my traditional church. Mind you all my friends prefer the other church so go figure! This week needed motivation to go modern as I slept in and I thought what could be better motivation than my mom.
My mom suffers from Guillan Barre Syndrome, a neurological disease. She was struck with this rare disease at work, 27 years ago today and went from a bouncing energetic and the fastest walker in the world to not being able to move or walk within a day. The paralysis migrated up her body and luckily has receded but not enough to give her full function. Mom has walked with canes but as she has gotten older is more in a wheelchair. She’s had her car modified so she can drive and other than her chronic pain has a pretty good life. She has 5 children who love her and many grandchildren who think the world of her. My mom has the best outlook, the happiest demeanor and has long been my source of motivation and guidance. So, since this is the anniversary of her illness she was my motivation that day to pray for in church.
As often is the case when I go to church I look for any sign of encouragement that I am in the right place. Of course god rarely disappoints me as anything is a sign to me. The sun shining in the windows, a certain parishioner being in attendance and singing, or some special words that touch me. As I was sitting in the pew I looked over to my left and in comes a man in a wheelchair with his wife. He is a tall man and quite disabled. When they reached the front of the pew his left leg was tapping and I know the signs of myoclonus. Gently his wife put the leg rests on the wheelchair and lifted his leg up and placed it on the leg rests. It’s obvious she is a caring caregiver. I glanced over at him here and there to see what might be the cause of him being in a wheelchair. I knew it something that had happened to him later in his life. I started to think what would my mom expect me to do? What should I do? I wanted to reach out and say hi to them but wasn’t sure. I thought about my mom and she would want someone to come say hi to her so as mass ended I approached them. I wasn’t sure what I was going to say other than hi . So, I said, “hi”, and “my daughter is in a wheelchair and I’ve been thinking of bringing her to church.” I think it wouldn’t have mattered what I said as instantly they were quite gracious. I then noticed on the man’s tray of his wheelchair a sign which said, I had a stroke. There was our connection. As it turned out the man, nonverbal, was able to communicate with his eye gaze to a communication board. His wife was quite adept at being his translator. He asked me if my daughter was a quadriplegic. He asked me where my daughter’s injury was. Obviously his brain was intact. Come to find out he has a family of four children who attended the local Catholic schools and many friends in church. Many people approached him as I was standing there. Come to find out he has a blog and his wife gave me the site. My job today is to check it out.
The lesson of the day is a source of motivation is always important. Thanks mom for being mine yesterday and so sorry that this is your anniversary. I love you.
A prickly feeling of exhilaration came over me as I read “motivation”. Thank you for the beautiful tribute. Personally, your words are also a tribute to yourself. You show compassion and a caring heart in all activities in which you are engaged.
In the words of my Dad, who was born in 1897, I will have a “jag on” all day and many days to follow. Love you and I mean it. Mother
What a touching and loving tribute to your mom. She’s such a wonderful person, as are you. Thanks for sharing this story. And I hope the sleep cycles reverse themselves so everyone gets enough sleep!