Sunday was bookmarked by two separate encounters with our 13-year-old son that left me awestruck by a God who had brought such a child into my life through no merit of my own.
Yesterday morning came too early for me; I had stayed up very late at a neighborhood block party and had to rise with the rest of my family as we scattered in different directions – Greg to lector at an early Mass, and our 10-year-old son to a Little League baseball playoff game. That left Gabriel and me at home, where I attempted to supervise his remaining homework before the 11 a.m. Mass, where he was an altar server.
This was a morning of poor parenting; my frustration with his disorganization devolved into my raising my voice, speaking to him harshly, and then dissolving into tears of regret and exhaustion. Mass and the Penitential Rite (“I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault…”) could not come soon enough.
My husband had church and baseball and work commitments yesterday, which meant I was home most of the day without him or the car and with the children and our new yelping puppy and the pouring rain. My mood lifted after Mass and a long nap. When Greg returned last night, we ate a quick meal and I left to go grocery shopping. I drove home bone tired, the van filled with bags of groceries.
As I pulled up to our home, I could see no lights on and I figured everyone had gone to bed. As it turned out, Greg and our younger son were asleep. Gabriel padded downstairs when he heard me come in. “Mom,” he said. “Let me get the rest of the bags out of the car.” I thanked him and I sat down. He brought every bag in and then said, “Let me put these away for you.”
I logged onto the family computer to check emails as he put away cans of chick peas and black beans, a carton of ice cream, boxes of whole wheat pasta, and bags of grapes, apples and bananas. Then he asked if he could try the coconut milk I had purchased. And while he sipped it, he talked to me about his progress on his PowerPoint on nuclear proliferation for social studies class. Except for the light in the kitchen, the house was dark. Except for our conversation, the world had the quiet sound it does after much rain.
At Mass yesterday, the readings focused on forgiveness. The Gospel passage, from Luke 7, was as Msgr. Charles Pope puts it: “a Parable about two people who had a debt which neither could repay. Note carefully, neither could repay.” This passage weaves well with a notion that has kept striking me over the past few weeks and returned forcefully to me last night: God loves us so much that He willed us into being from nothingness. Nothing we did or can do merit His love.
And then, I thought last night, God showers us with blessings all through our lives. He gave my husband and me this extraordinary boy-turning-man to raise and the little one sleeping upstairs. He gave us these boys to raise not because we were especially good or deserving. He did so because He loves us all more deeply than any of us is capable of knowing this side of Heaven.