Some of you know I teach high school English. Others now know. I have eighty students and fifty-seven essays I need to finish grading before Friday. Add to that Halloween with nine of ten children even if most are adults, and there just has been no writing time or spare moments in the past two weeks. Also, I’m an Astros fan so I’m watching and hoping they can beat the Phillies in the World Series…and so far, that’s been a little too exciting for words.
I am still writing and have a piece over at the Catholic Standard today; “Fifty-one Ways You Can Help Your Parish.”
We held a ministry fair last Sunday as part of the inspiration for the piece.
In the course of normal parenting, we talked about how love for one’s siblings is often a willed experience that we discover we want to will more as we age and wish we’d willed more when proximity wasn’t an issue. I called my sister in Pearland because cheering for the Astros without her or my brothers or my mom or other fans is sort of disheartening even when they win –because joy shared is multiplied, and suffering (when they lose) is halved when there is commiseration and unhealthy foods to share and alcohol.
Writing remains a fierce love and ministry that often reveals to me both lessons I should not have forgotten, and thoughts I didn’t know I had. Parenting does that too, but writing is less taxing. Parenting, teaching, writing, all of it is a form of discovering over and over again, what God wants from us, is all our hearts. What God who is love wants from us is love. What does that love look like? It looks like the cross. It always looks like the cross.
Love is about discovering how much more than we planned to surrender, we must. Love is about embracing the cross with everything –and that most especially includes when we don’t feel like embracing the cross –and let’s face it, few of us get excited by that prospect. It’s ugly. It’s hard and damn if it isn’t work. Pray for all of us on this All Souls Day, that we may one day be celebrated on November 1st. In the meantime, pick up your cross, hold onto it with everything, and press on. God will provide the grace even if we receive it through gritted teeth. I love my teens more than they can know…and more than even I know sometimes. How do I know? It looks like a cross when they’re cross.