“Life is relationships. Everything else is just moving furniture.” — Sister Elizabeth Molina
My sister and aunt are coming to save the day on my living room, which for the moment, bears an uncanny likeness to “Grandma’s Attic.” My grandmother didn’t have an attic but if she had, it might have looked like my living room.
Saying Sis will ‘save the day” sounds a bit dramatic, especially when the phrase marries the task of rearranging furniture. But the words just slipped out on to this white digital space, so here they will stay, in spite of reminding me of all those Saturday morning cartoons of my youth — the likes of Underdog and Superman and Mighty Mouse and even Rocky and Bullwinkle, who not only saved the day but saved their cartoonish worlds from evil.
This trinity of words stops me to wonder how many people we know — either now or ever — that could easily bring to mind this phrase. In my life, it was Mother, for one. With Father’s Day tomorrow, I wish I could say it was Daddy, but it wasn’t. Daddy had his place in my life but it was not saving my world. If anything, Daddy was one in need of being saved.
No, in her way, it was Mom who saved Daddy just as she saved us all. She saved the day for many, especially in her prime, with all her wonderful bag of tricks — sewing, painting, restoration — but mostly just by dropping everything and showing up in my life and others to set things right with her rock steady presence.
Sometimes, of course, Mom couldn’t put things right but it didn’t keep her from trying. Over and over again she picked up the pieces of my brother Jon’s life — picking him up at Crack Houses, picking up Jon’s low self-esteem as best she could, picking up his trail of hot checks left all over town with money borrowed from others. Only to have the entire ‘save the day, save his life’ routine begin again — over and over in endless waves of need — until Reality hit.
The summer before she died, Mom came to realize, that no matter how hard or often she tried, she’d never really be able to save the day for Jon. Sometimes I wonder if this played part in her readiness to quit life here, to leave Jon’s messy life to bigger hands than hers, to someone that maybe really could save Jon. Reality’s a hard thing to swallow even for superheros; so why am I now suddenly recalling those ancient words whispered by another in a dark garden, with a trinity of friends sleeping on the job of keeping watch nearby?: “Father, let this Cup pass from me — yet not my will but yours be done.”
What a brave thing for anyone to say — to admit one’s vulnerability, to give up pride, all semblance of control and their bag of tricks, especially with an angry mob bearing down on them. Instead, this Savior chose to trust in the goodness of an invisible Father; he chose to believe that all will be well in the end, in spite of current evidence to the contrary.
I do miss my mother, especially when I think of how she loved me no matter what. How she judged me not. How she took me as I am and not as I could be. Or should be. Maybe I loved her most for all of these because in these ways, she bore the greatest family resemblance to one greather than her, whose sandals she was unfit to tie.
And in my life, on this day, where my living room needs saving and furniture needs to be shuffled around, Sis bears a huge resemblance to my mother and Father. I’m so glad Sis is coming, and bringing our auntie with her, whether or not we move a single stitch of furniture.