“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.
I offered a prayer for you and yours today dear Janell while I was on a brief pilgrimage to Walsingham.
May you be blessed.
Isn’t it funny-strange how there so often seems to be a “primary parent”. It’s like being right-handed or left-handed, or having one eye dominant. It was your mother, but it was my father. Even though he’s been gone for 30 years, I appreciate him more and more as time goes on. (Yes, a shameless plug here, but you’ll enjoy it. My current entry is filled with photos of Dad and me, from stroller to senior prom. They needed to be organized, rather like your living room, and the blog was a good way to do it!)
Your poor living room, on the other hand, is funny-amusing. How many times I’ve gone through that – taking things from one place to another and being completely unstrung in the face of the task of figuring out where everything “goes”.
Out of curiosity, I went looking to see who the patron saint of decorators might be. Turns out it’s St. Paul. That makes sense – everything in his life got thrown topsy-turvy and left him a little befuddled until he figured out how to rearrange things. 😉
Best of luck – I actually think the rearranging is the best part of moving. I might move some furniture around today myself, just as a gesture of solidarity!
Thanks for thinking of me and mine in prayer.
Surely I’ve run across Walsingham in my reading, but at the moment, I’m having a hard time recalling it. But a pilgrimage there or anywhere sounds lovely at this time in my life. Not to run away but to run toward something big enough to catch me and hold me in the palm of their hand, as Isaiah preaches about somewhere, I think in the forty-ninth chapter.
I hope your time there was fruitful for you and whatever you sought. As for your petitions on my behalf, I confess to feeling better today. No blues or tears. My visit with Sis and my aunt yesterday helped restored my equilibrium — and of course, they did ‘save the day’ in my living room. Story to follow later.
Blessings to you, dear friend.
The blog is always a good way to organize thoughts, Sometimes I don’t know what I think or feel until I write, as it requires me to scratch the surface of an uneasy or restless state.
Father’s Day was good yesterday, in spite of not having my own father to celebrate. I sit on the sidelines as the kids came, one by one, to wish my husband a Happy Father’s Day. His joy was mine. Yet, I can’t imagine thirty years without my own father; though somehow, I take comfort in how you embody pieces of your father and his principles — and in this way, you celebrate and honor him every day of the year.
Perhaps on my best days, I do too — with both Dad and Mom. And as I think about it, even on my “worst’ days, Because as much as I loved them both, love or death can’t blind me to the fact that neither were perfect, in spite of their goodness..
Here’s to much more life full of shameless plugs. May they all be like yours.