March for Life: I’ve Lost Control Again: The only reason I have time to do this today is because my grade schooler is going to take a sick day (stomach discomfort and a purple-red sore throat… I see a strep culture in her very near future) and my teenagers are on a bus to the March for Life.
Why am I not going? Because I can’t find a bus willing to take me. I have a life-threatening allergy to peanut proteins, so bad that I have ended up in the ER because someone ate peanuts around me. Now, since I’ve started taking olive leaf extract, I’ve not had that kind of reaction, but I’m sort of gun shy about getting on a bus on a Friday full of faithful Catholics opting for the PB&J over ham sandwiches, it being Friday and all, and finding out that the OLE decided to stop working, but the only way to get me to an ER is to pull over on a jammed I-95 and hope an ambulance can get through, oh, and who’s gonna take care of my kids while I’m being whisked away?
Anyway, every group I’ve contacted about their bus said there’s no way they can ask people to avoid bringing peanuts, so I’m too much of a liability. No MFL for me. But the parish youth group is going, so our teens could go if they wanted to.
They wanted to.
I used to work and volunteer in youth ministry. I now have kids of my own who are at an age to be involved in the youth ministry. The other people’s kids I worked with in the ’90s-Y2K are now grown ups… and very, very few of them still practice the faith.
My eyes are open enough to know that where my teens are now may not be where they end up.
Oh, that’s hard. Oh, that hurts. It hurts enough when it is other people’s kids. I don’t care if they don’t agree with me. I do care if they think they’re escaping the suffering of this world by running into hell. It’s like Ian wrote in “Decades”:
Where are the young men, the weight on their shoulders?Where are the young men, oh where have they been?
They knocked on the door of hell’s darker chambers.
Pushed to the limit, they dragged themselves in.
Rather than just keep carrying the weight on our shoulders, asking God questions about it, hoping that if we just hold on, He’ll comfort us beyond our deepest imaginings… we ask to be let into hell. In our hurt and fear, we trust instead that hell must be better than whatever pain we face now.
This has been breaking my heart a lot of late. I can’t go into why without telling other people’s stories, stories not mine to tell. I have my own story to tell, of course, but that’s what this blog and my books are for.
But today my kids are Marching for Life. I say that and then warn myself, “Today is not the end of the story.” I think of my youth ministry kids, knocking on hell’s door. God, however, the God of all consolation, reminds me that today is not the end of their story, either.
None of them were ever “my” kids, anyway. They were and remain His. So I let them go, because that is Truth, and God is WHO AM. In other words, He is not fear. He is not lies. He is not humans possessing other humans. He is not control.
He is reality. Sometimes reality hurts, but I’ll take reality over lies any old day.
Open Book: Aaaaaand on that cheery note, I initially started this post to let anyone led back here from 7QT/TATL that the best kept linkup secret in the world of Catholic readers of books is Carolyn’s 1st Wednesday Open Book linkup.
It’s a really supportive community of Catholic book bloggers who are on the cutting edge of what’s going on with the present-day Catholic literary scene. If you haven’t checked it out already, you really should. Carolyn is a gracious host, and while, yes, Open Book has added to my already sky-high TBR pile, it’s also helped me weed out some stuff that I otherwise would’ve wasted time reading.
It’s not just Catholic books, either. Admittedly, my time constraints limit my contribution to whatever we’re doing for that month’s Sabbath Rest Book Talk. Still, several of the linkers blog what the whole family is reading, including the kids, and that’s where I’ve gotten some of the best-loved readalouds for my once-struggling reader. She’s less-struggling now, in part due to the great recs from Open Book bloggers.
Oh, and if you want links to watch each Sabbath Rest Book Talk as it happens emailed directly to you inbox, I have a handy SRBT reminder sign up here.
Les Mis: Last year we took the kids to see a high school performance of Les Miserables. I love that show. My grade schooler loves it, now, too. At one point she wanted to have a Les Mis themed birthday party, which led to much hilarity (Let’s play Build the Barricade! No birthday cake, though. You’ll have to break a windowpane to steal a loaf of bread, then go fetch water from the well all alone in the dark….)
I like to play music via YouTube when I do my morning chores, but I got sick of putting on Les Mis only to turn away from the dishes to find all three kids clustered around my phone screen instead of doing their chores. So this week we borrowed the Les Miserable 10th Anniversary Dream Cast DVD from the library and had “dinner theatre” on Wednesday night (eating dinner in front of the TV). It was fun!
Story of Civilization & stained glass cookies: I think I’ve blogged here however briefly about how much we love TAN Books’ Story of Civilization. We’re on Volume 2, The Medieval World. Truth be told, I’m not finding it as strong a program as Volume 1, The Ancient World, so I’m filling in a lot of the gaps with stuff I pull off of Pinterest. Yesterday we made Stained Glass Cookies for our study of medieval architecture. It was fun, and they were pretty tasty. For the “glass,” I didn’t have any Jolly Ranchers in the house, so we made microwave glass candy the day before.
If you want to see more pics of what we do with SOC (and more pics of our ridiculous dogs), I post them on Instagram far more faithfully than I get them here.
Duolingo: I’m dusting of my French. Anybody want to join a French club? I ended up being “LaMereDeLe” on there, because apparently if you try to call yourself “La Mere de Les Jumelles,” it cuts you off. Cheese-eating surrender monkeys. Anyway, I could use other people with whom to practice, in preparation for…
Pilgrimage: This year, God willing, we will be making a Marian pilgrimage as a family, with stops at Walsingham, Lourdes, and Knock. I understand that Haut-Pyrenees/Provence are not like Paris, where, not only is the dialect different, but if you ask someone if they speak English, it’s all, “Non, non, je ne comprends,” but if you start out speaking in French, suddenly it’s all, “Ah! I speeek Eeeeenglish. Your, ehn, accent eeez not baaat.” I speak from experience here. Still, for my own mental joy, I’d really like to be able to talk to the car rental guy, the housing hosts, the server, etc., without them being annoyed by more ignorant Americans.
Anyway, pray for us, please? Meanwhile, if you have any prayer requests for us to carry with us, we will be setting up something more organized for collecting them, but go ahead an comment below while you wait.
Get Moving is almost ready! And here’s a little sneak preview of the cover! The draft is on the editor’s desk as we speak. You’ll get the finished product for free if you subscribe to my newsletter, but if you don’t want that annoyance, it’ll just be 99c on Amazon.
Okay, I’ve taken even more time than I planned. Sick kid is still abed, but my usual dog walkers are on a bus, dressed in layers, heading for DC. Pray for them. And me. And all of us.