Father, forgive me, for I have sinned…(and that’s about all I can remember as to how to begin a confession, despite the 12 years of Catholic School)..I am a hopeless dumb ass. An ungrateful. greedy, whining, capital D , Dumb Ass.
Oh, I talk a good talk. Materialistic folks make me break out in hives. I am subjected to nearly daily conversations in the operating room of their First World problems. Should they buy a bigger boat? A second vacation home? Biffy and Skippy sure hate having to stay with the little people on their trips to Aspen. Chip Jr. got into the 50 Grand per year Pre- K program where his opinions will be heavily considered during his weekly meetings with world leaders..blah, blah ..or something like that. I shake my head silently and hold back the bile when the talk of birthday parties surpass the cost of my wedding reception. I suspect I will completely lose it one day, and with the close proximity of sharp, metal instruments..it’s not going to end well.
Sounds like I get it, right? I have my priorities straight, right? Wrong.
Lately, all I can do is think about the things I don’t have. I am almost 50..when do I get MY vacation home? MY in-ground pool? MY trip to Europe? I have been working full-time forever…where is my dessert with whipped cream on top, damn it all. I am a good person. I deserve more.
So, after a full weekend of picking fights with the people I love the most, I skulked out of the house. I wasn’t sure where I was going, but someone did.
Two miles later, I found myself alone in Sister Hannah’s Angel Garden, suddenly alive with color. Vibrant purples, pinks, yellows and whites surrounded the hundreds of angels, placed by the nuns and visitors. Each time I visit, I am drawn to a different angel. This time it was a very stocky, weathered angel, holding a tiny angel, almost bird-like in the palm of his hand. My thoughts turned to two very early miscarriages , and I envisioned those pregnancies as these tiniest angels…weird. I never think about those losses..my clinical brain had accepted and moved on..so I thought. I thought of the two healthy boys at home who I had just berated, not to mention their father..and I felt terrible..and grateful. Time to get back, make amends, stop my bitching. Say “cheese” beefed-up angel..I snapped away, said “thanks” and headed towards home.
But, wait..there they were. That father and son I have seen periodically for years. The once healthy boy, forever altered from a teenage joy ride, held up in the church pew by his Dad, who would reach over and wipe the drool from his boy’s chin every minute or so. They were walking, slowly together, the boy now a man, being held up by his father, every spastic step along the way. I saw the Dad, now much grayer than I remember, reach over with his drool towel and wipe his son’s chin. I gave a quick wave, grateful I was across the street so that they couldn’t see the tears. A depth of love and commitment that has no words to explain it’s power and beauty.