Monday, June 6, 2011

Tears and Laughter

Yesterday morning at Mass, I found myself getting teary-eyed at the sight of a sweet moment of exchange between Father Paul and a family whose son has special needs. Father's sincere smile and gentle ways touched me. Although it took place at the the front of the altar as the family brought down the Eucharistic gifts, it wasn't an exchange meant for everyone's eyes. People were supposed to be singing a hymn at the time. But I could not get through the song. I took a few minutes to walk downstairs, to give myself a little time to regroup. For it was not just the sweetness of something I'd witnessed during Mass that had made me tear up. It was a mix of intense recognition of the joys and the sadness of life. How can one feel so aware of one's blessings yet feel the acute sharpness of pain for loss at the same exact time?

It's similar to when a family sets out for a day of family fun, heading to a lacrosse tournament, only to get grumpy and tense when they become lost on the way to the field. "I feel this family fun day has become a family flop day", one of my children said. Yet, a few hours later, this family was back on course, happier than ever when the family fun day was reclaimed in the pen of a pet shop as they met and fell in love with an eight week old puppy.

This morning I woke up to my cat Boo walking around my head in bed. Where others might find this annoying, it made me start my day with a smile. At 5:45am I greeted an extremely happy little puppy who was delighted to get out of her crate. She'd slept the entire night through without whimpering. We went outside in the morning air and when she spent the entire time at my ankles, making sure I did not leave her sight, I began to giggle.

Around 6:15am, with five minutes before we were to leave the house, I was reminded that Paul had a field trip today and would need a packed lunch. Emma did not think twice and quickly offered hers. Although I said no and quickly made Paul a fluffernutter, I couldn't help but think of her sweet gesture all day long.

From 7:00am to 10:30am, I found inner motivation to correct papers. I worked hard to make a serious dent in my workload and it felt good to start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Summer is coming. I'm starting to breathe more deeply.

After arriving home to my adorable new puppy who gave me a homecoming I have missed for several months, I stopped and spotted my husband smiling at me. He did not even wait for me to ask, "WHAT?!" "You're really happy", he said simply.

In a day of sweet moments, it was Eric's spoken observance that was my favorite. I am incredibly blessed. Loving children are wonderful. Having the unconditional love of a dog has taken hold of me again and is making me feel more like myself. But to know that I have a husband who sincerely feels joy seeing pure joy within me, brings tears of complete humility and gratitude to my eyes once again.

I would not exchange the laughter of my heart for the fortunes of the multitudes; nor would I be content with converting my tears, invited by my agonized self, into calm. It is my fervent hope that my whole life on this earth will ever be tears and laughter.
--Kahlil Gibran

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