To The Editor:
I remember grieving the loss of my still born son who died at birth. I struggled with the loss for quite some time. While in prayer, I asked God to come into my heart and heal the brokenness I was feeling.
My brother-in-law gave me a book called The Living Word, a Scripture study that helped me to grow in my understanding of Gods love. The next thing I know, I was at Mass and Father Brown played a tape of a beautiful talk Ellen Drinkwine gave. I felt inspired to go see Ellen.
I am glad I did because in those few months I spent with Ellen I felt closer to God then I ever had. I felt like I experienced a taste of what heaven is all about. The minute I opened up my heart and spirit to Gods love and healing, I felt a zest for life like I never felt before.
I looked forward to being with Ellen. God became present to Ellen and me through the warmth of his love. After Ellen died I felt a void. The void grew deeper as I continued to suffer the loss of extended family members, close friends and spiritual companions, my nephew and father.
Growing up for me was difficult. Every time I went away to relatives for a week or two I would cry every day until I was back home in my familiar surroundings. I struggled with this into my first year of college.
Working in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains for a summer helped me to see my way through the feelings that homesickness often plagued me with. I loved being in the mountains surrounded with sounds of the forest and the song of the Loon birds. The reflection of the sun and trees on the lake made me feel at peace. The smell of the evergreen trees was a breath of fresh air. Listening to the bubbling brook quenched my longing to be at home with family when I was away from my own.
While in prayer, I realized that I am experiencing what it is like living in exile away from our heavenly home. For we know that when the tent that we live in on earth is folded up, there is a house built by God for us, an everlasting home not made by human hands, in the heavens. 2 Cor. 5:1.
When I was a teenager I remember being told by an adult that my parents were overprotective making it hard for my siblings and me to fly out from underneath their wings. As I look back on my childhood and teenage years, I felt secure in the world my parents brought my siblings and me up in. They began to teach us the importance of building the temple of our hearts on solid ground when they introduced us to the faith. I felt safe and loved.
I can say with St. Paul, We are always full of confidence, then, when remember that to live in the body means to be exiled from the Lord, going as we do by faith: 2 Cor. 5:6-7. Trials, hardship, sorrow, and suffering are a part of lifes journey. Theres no getting around it.
Rather than let the struggles of everyday living get to me, I am trying to learn to accept them as a part of my journey in faith. Its not easy but it can be done. Deuteronomy 31:8 tells me God himself will lead you; he will be with you; he will not fail you or desert you. Have no fear, do not be disheartened by anything.
When I am going through difficult times, I will go for a walk, or sit on my porch and just simply be one with nature. I have had the grace to see three birds together whether they are finding nourishment on the ground or spreading their wings as they fly through the sky. This is Gods way of affirming Deuteronomy 31:8. This is what gives me hope and affirms that God is real and truly present in my life. Asking God for an open heart and an open spirit is a step towards healing in the brokenness of the wounded world I live in.