Sunday, March 3, 2013

Too Pooped to Tweet, Pio, or Chirp?

     A number of life events and circumstances have contributed to Kevin and me both feeling too exhausted by the end of the week, or the middle, or sometimes even the beginning, to be as involved in the regular gatherings and goings on of two ministries through which we’ve made some of our closest, dearest friends: Cursillo and Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP).
     I’ve felt guilty about it, frustrated, and upset, but it hasn’t helped (no surprise there).  Recently, as well as in previous months, some things have happened that reminded me that Kevin and I often end up being there for people who we’ve become friends with through Cursillo and/or CRHP even when we are doing so outside of the pre-arranged activities and gatherings. 

Back to Basics

     I have needed to be reminded that ministry can be defined in many ways.  Being a good friend, there to listen when someone needs to process aloud, offering support when things get rough in whatever ways we have available to us, and sometimes just being present can be a very important and often overlooked way of serving others. 
     As Kevin and I discern what God wants of us and where He seems to be leading us, over and over again, He’s made it clear that there are many day-to-day things that seem small, though they’re actually quite important in expressing God’s love to those around us. 
     We haven’t been to an Ultreya recently, but we were there for a friend who was really struggling spiritually and unsure of what to do next.  We weren’t at the last organized gathering, but we prayed for all of the participants at Mass and at home while they were on their weekends
     I haven’t signed up to host a month’s gathering with the CRHP ladies with whom I made my weekend and served on team, but when one of them who’s now in graduate school in Illinois texted one afternoon this week and said she’d like to meet that evening if possible, I dropped everything and was there, grateful to spend time together. 
     In Cursillo, the newly initiated participants are called Babe Chicks for the first year.  When Kevin and I were still considered “Babe Chicks” in the Cursillo community, we faced some extremely difficult times.  That’s when I first coined the expression that we were: “too pooped to Pio!”  Babe Chicks in Spanish say pio! pio! pio! and that was more than Kevin and I were up to during a particular period. 
     That’s when we found out the deeper meaning of Christian community and discovered the importance of “lovelines” (rather than strictly bloodlines) family. 

Sisters in Christ

     I have to admit, sometimes it’s still really tough not to be as close with my biological family as other people are with theirs.  At my sister’s baby shower when she spoke about two of her friends from church who had really supported her and encouraged her throughout her pregnancy, I felt bad I wasn’t one of the people included in that circle.  Fortunately, I also thanked God for giving my sister such loving, caring friends to walk with her on her journey.  After all, my one sister and I have never been close. 
     She passed her due date (as of February 26), and she hasn’t had the baby, yet.  Even after 9+ months, I’ve still never seen a single ultrasound picture, don’t know what names my sister and her husband are considering for the baby (whose gender they will find out upon his/her birth), and, though they only live about 10 minutes away, I haven’t even seen the nursery, yet.  Other than bringing them some meals, checking in on my sister via text message, sending her an occasional e-mail, praying for all three of them daily, and joining her and my mom for lunch sometimes, I feel like I’ve been quite a failure as a big sister through this major change and blessing in her life, just like I have been a monumental disappointment through so many other key moments for a variety of reasons.  Through the grace of God, my mom's been a constant support, and my sister has had many sisters in Christ who have walked alongside her.      

Forever Friends, Lovelines Family

     I’ve had more open and honest conversations with my best friend from high school in recent weeks than I have with either of my sisters.  There are instances when that makes me feel really down, and other times I know I’m blessed to have close, loving friendships even if they’re not with people in my (traditional) family. 
     I really don’t know who Kevin and I would be or where we would be if it weren’t for the friends who have become family to us and who, in turn, treat us as family members.  Thankfully, we haven’t had to think about that in quite some time.  And hopefully, if we’ve been doing something right, there are people in our lives who know they are family to us.
     I’m not saying that family relationships aren’t important.  (They are.)  Or that I couldn’t do a lot better at staying in touch, reconnecting, and/or maintaining the ones I have.  (I could do way, way better.) 
     What I’m saying is that I’m grateful and feel very blessed that my husband, sisters, mom, friends, and I all have people who aren’t related to us who love us, pray for us, care about us, and encourage us.  Where there is love, there is God.  God is love.  God is in us and with us, and if we let Him, working through us, and that’s what most important. 
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