Summer Storm

The last week has been full of family, a much needed distraction at this time.

Rocky and Miffy spent a week with their cousins. My dear sister-in-law Miriam invited them to her home in the midst of all the heavy news around here. If the pictures are any indication, they had an absolute ball at Camp Miriam.

During the week they made cream puffs, sourdough pain d’epi, and rosemary and dill-chive crackers. They played dress-up and swam for hours on end.

There was bracelet-making and all kinds of arts and crafts. There was ice cream, donuts, and an epic four cupcake dessert night. Miriam texted that the five girls even reached the “cousins bickering like sisters stage.” So the week was an absolute success.

Michael and Johnny drove with me to drop the girls off at Camp Miriam. We did a college visit on the way home. The campus was empty but we managed to bump into an Assistant Dean and professor who graciously talked with us about the University. Johnny was having none of it. He dropped anchor under a tree and announced to everyone that he was never going to college. As we were leaving, we bumped into another kid from Michael’s high school who was also touring the campus. Ironically, he was wearing a baseball cap from my brothers’ high school down in Texas. Small world.

We then stopped at my sister’s home for the afternoon. My niece Kathleen (named after yours truly) and I went for pedicures which was a treat. She chose Bubble Gum pink nail polish. I went with Wonder Woman red. I’m sure you can read plenty into those selections. Kathleen is a nursing student and told me all about her summer work at a local hospital. She has a grunt job on an oncology floor and absolutely loves it. Before dinner she took my blood pressure and rated the edema in my legs.

On the drive home, we hit a massive storm system. Michael had been sleeping but woke to the sound of hail. After assessing the situation for a few minutes, he told me calmly but firmly that I needed to get off the freeway. He was right. There was a sudden surge of rain and I could hardly see in front of us. There were claps of thunder, flashes of lightning, and gusts of wind moving the car side-to-side. I was frightened.

Michael kept talking to me and we eventually came to an exit. As we pulled off the highway, we saw a light glowing in the distance. We followed this beacon to a large Baptist church. Several other cars were already idling in the lot.

I put the car in park and finally took a deep breath. Johnny said, “Mom, I’m just sayin’ that I think you need to pray a Hail Mary.” I asked if he wanted to join me. He declined citing a pressing need to build his new Lego set (my sister is always good for new Legos). The irony wasn’t lost on me: a Hail Mary in a Baptist Church’s parking lot. But a quote from the movie Steel Magnolias came to mind. “God don’t care where you go to church as long as you show up.” The storm was so intense that I had time to pray the entire Rosary.

There was a lesson for me in this. I am currently in my own life’s storm. And I can’t keep barreling down the highway at 70+ mph. It’s time to pull over, find a safe place to stop, and pray. So many of you are praying for Baby Ocho, from nuns in the Philippines to monks in Wisconsin. Ironically, I find myself praying less and less for this child as I pray more and more for those praying for us. For your intentions and needs, some known to me, most known only to God.

I don’t sleep well anymore so when I wake in the middle of the night, I do whisper a prayer to Blessed Columba Marmion, my monk in the sky. I recently bought an icon of him and stuck him on the wall next to my kitchen sink. So I see him all the time.

This is my simple prayer:

Through the intercession of Blessed Columba Marmion, may my child’s heart be totally and completely healed.

That’s it. I figure God created the four-chamber heart. He doesn’t really need the details. I’ve never prayed about the Downs. I suppose there is a .5% chance that this diagnosis is incorrect. But I don’t focus on that. We willingly accept our special needs child. But I could certainly do without the heart condition.

That’s the miracle I seek in the midst of the storm.

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