Saturday, June 9, 2012

One Life For Another

After the Corpus Christi procession the other night, I finally got a chance to talk to this beautiful lady I see every Sunday at Mass.  She is here finishing up her post-doc as a Psychologist and will be moving back to Canada at the end of August.  That is a pretty awesome accomplishment in its own right, but what makes it extraordinary is that she has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and is wheelchair-bound.  She has to have someone get her up, get dressed, get her from A to B, and put her to bed at night.

I know this because my mother is in a wheelchair and requires all of these things as well.  Her mother lives with her and is her primary care provider.  At different times, her entire family has relocated so she can pursue her education.  Right now, her brother (who is also wheelchair-bound with SMA) and father live in Canada.  They can't wait to be reunited! 

I wanted to write about this because I was bowled over by this mother-daughter team!  The mother has poured (and is pouring) her life out for her daughter to chase her dreams.  In this case, it consumes her life.

My mother was in a car accident and broke her neck when I was a junior in high school.  I was one of her primary care providers for several years, and off-and-on after that, depending on the unreliability of the aids who were hired to help her.  She also lived with my husband and I for four months shortly after we were married. 

I tell you this because I know what it is like to care for another full-grown human being.  It is the hardest thing I have done in my life.  I did not do it well most of the time.  I was often bitter, angry, selfish, and joy-less.  Fortunately, my mom has had many people come into her life who are able to love and serve her better than I was able to.  She is still able to live alone, go to Mass and Adoration, host Bible study, and go out to eat from time to time.

As mothers, we are expected to sacrifice ourselves for our children; Especially when they are young, but then less and less as they are able to do more for themselves.  In this case, this mother is still going strong after 27 + years of sacrifice for her kiddos.  I marvel at her level of commitment, love, and joy. 

God has given her a grace beyond all imagining.  Jesus tells us that "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends."  This mother has the greatest love I have ever witnessed.

It is ironic that while I was talking to this mother-daughter duo, I was telling them that one of our priests, Fr. Edwin, was the most Christ-like human being I'd ever known.  Upon further reflection, I think I was talking to the other most Christ-like person I have ever met. 

I thank God for the opportunity to talk to these beautiful ladies and for the re-commitment I want to make to serve the people in my life. 

Dear God, Thank you for the example of the limitless love in this mother-daughter pair.  Please bless them abundantly.  Thank you for laying down your life for us, your friends.  Lord, please forgive me for not serving and loving my own mother better.  Please help me to sacrifice for love, more and more.  I cannot do this without You.  Thank you for the people who have sacrificed themselves for me.  I love you.  Amen.

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