Tag Archive | guardian angel

Making the World a Softer, Better Place

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Gracie helping Katie get ready for prom.

This past weekend I kept checking Facebook on my smartphone, waiting for news and pictures. It was a big weekend for my family. My great niece Mollie was in Fort Worth, Texas, competing at the national championships for gymnastics. Meanwhile, her twin sister Katie was on the prom court of the Cambridge High School Junior Prom. Supporting each twin was a matter of divide and conquer for the family. The father, my nephew Kevin, accompanied Mollie to Fort Worth, and took some great pictures. The mother, Shawn, stayed home, along with the younger sister, Gracie, and they helped Katie get ready for the prom. And they took great pictures, too.

It was an exciting weekend for everyone. But the abundance of blessings was really a mixed blessing. Mollie had to miss going to her junior prom because of it falling on the same date as the national gymnastics competition. Katie had to miss cheering for her twin sister as she competed in Texas because she couldn’t be two places at once. Interesting how blessings and sacrifices can be two sides of the same coin.

Shawn was the first to provide an update on Facebook. It was fun to see Katie all dressed up. It was a beautiful evening for beautiful young couples.

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Cambridge High School Prom Court – Katie is 3rd from right.

On Sunday, Kevin entered the following update about Mollie on Facebook.

Mollie is the Senior C National Floor Champion. She finished 2nd in the overall. Took 3rd in vault and 5th on bars.

Mollie was awarded an all expense paid trip back to Texas in October because she made the Junior Olympic National Team. She will meet the Olympic coaches and practice for four days.

Words cannot express how proud we are of her. Congratulations Mollie on an incredible achievement.

A tremendous thank you to Aubrie for the dedication and patience coaching Mollie. Thank you to our parents for helping Mollie get to where she is. Thanks be to God for giving Mollie this incredible talent for gymnastics. It will take her farther than she can ever imagine.

Thank you to Danielle J Lynch [Kevin’s sister who lives in San Antonio] and family for making the weekend trip! Thank you Adrienne Lacy [a family friend] and family for coming as well! Thanks to Chase’s sister Rene’ and her husband Patrick for the hospitality and friendship this weekend. It’s nice to have a fan base everywhere we go! 

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Mollie on Bars – one of four events gymnasts compete in.

Kevin posted several photos he had taken showing Mollie in action. Here’s one of the photos I lifted from Facebook.

My mom, Kevin’s grandma, would have been very proud of both Katie and Mollie. (And Gracie, too, for being a supportive kid sister.) But I think Mom would have been proudest of Kevin. Mom always worried about him. She thought he had way too much energy and creativity for his own good. He was always running. Everything he did, he did fast.

I remember one story Mom told about when she baked and decorated a batch of cut-out cookies for him to take to school to share for his birthday. As usual, he ran as fast as he could to get to the car to go to school, even though this time he was carrying a big round tin full of special cookies. He tripped and fell, and all the beautiful cookies broke into pieces. I’m sure it bothered my mom more than him. He still shared the cookies with his classmates. They tasted just as good whether they were broken or not. It seemed that nothing could slow down his speed of movement nor subdue his enthusiasm for whatever he was doing. (I think his girls all inherited those traits.)

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Kevin on stilts – 1984. Note the stepladder and electrical wires.

When Kevin was 13, he decided he’d make a pair of stilts and teach himself to walk around and see everything from a bird’s-eye perspective. After constructing the stilts, he realized that he needed a stepladder to get on the stilts. When he started walking with the stilts, he discovered he was lucky that the stilts were just short enough that he could still walk under the electrical wire that was strung from the pole to the house – without the stilts catching and pulling down the wire. Kevin’s guardian angel was kept very, very busy throughout his childhood.

Mom prayed for all her grandchildren every day. But I think she must have prayed for Kevin at least ten times a day. She knew that praying for him was the best way to keep him safe – just in case his guardian angel was taking a much-needed nap.

So why would my mom have been proud of Kevin today? In his Facebook post he demonstrated that he’s learned one of the most important lessons in life. He’s learned that we are who we are because of all the people who have helped us in our lives. Like the African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” It took a village to raise Kevin, and it’s taking a village to raise Katie, Mollie, and Gracie.

I’m thankful that I can be part of this village, that all of us are connected to each other’s lives and well-being. As Joan Chittister said in this month’s “Monastic Way” pamphlet,

There can never be too much kindness in life – either for us or because of us. Every act of kindness makes the world a softer, better place. As Aesop wrote, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

Thanks to everyone reading this post who’s making the world a softer, better place for everyone in their lives.

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Mollie and her coach

 

Angels Among Us

Abbey kissing Marian bwThe past three weeks have been quite strenuous for all of us at Country Comforts Assisted Living. One of our residents was living through his last days in this life. Abbey is always a really big comfort to our residents as well as to their friends and family during this time of life transition, but it takes its toll on her too. I talked with her about that this morning.

“Good morning, Abbey. How are you feeling today?”

“Good morning, Mom. I think I’m a little better, but I’m still not feeling very chipper. My stomach still feels funny and I don’t have lots of energy. I think I want to keep my walks pretty short today.”

“That’s too bad. We’ll keep you on rice and hamburger for another day, too. You’ve been feeling bad for almost a week now. What do you think is wrong?”

“Oh, I know what’s wrong, and it will just take me some time to recover.  I really miss Robert. [I’ve changed his name to protect his privacy.] I know he lived with us less than three weeks, but he was such a nice man. His first morning here he shared his bacon with me – a bite for him and a bite for me, back and forth until we ate it all up. He shared it equally with me. I don’t know any human that’s been that generous. And he petted me so gently. When his eyes looked at me, I could tell that he was a man filled with love.”

“Yeah. I agree, Abbey. Robert really was a nice man. He had lots of friends who came to visit him. A lot of people really liked him.”

“That’s for sure. His daughter came to see him a couple times every day, and she always greeted me at the door with some good petting. And her husband always had treats for me in his pocket. Robert had one really special friend who sat beside him for hours, just being with him.”

“You know, Abbey. We’re really lucky. We’ve said before that our house is filled with a cloud of love when someone is coming to the end of their life. The house is filled with the love of friends and relatives. It’s so peaceful.”

Abbey Profile 2“But that’s not all, Mom. I know you didn’t see them, but angels were here during Robert’s last couple days, too. Robert talked about the two men and two women he saw in the corner. I saw them, too. They were angels who had come to comfort Robert and to show him the way home to God. Many of the people who come here for end-of-life care see angels before they pass on to the next life. I know you can’t see them, but I do, and the person who’s getting ready to be born into their new life sees them, too.”

“You know, Abbey, the Bible actually talks about that. In Psalm 91:11-12 it says, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” (NRSV) God sends his angels to watch out for us. I know we often have angels in our house when a guest draws near to the end of their life. I can’t see them, but our guests often tell us about the angels they see in their room.”

“Actually, I hate to say it, Mom, but I think that’s what upsets my stomach. I’m so excited by these heavenly guests that my body doesn’t know how to react. And when the angels leave, taking our guest with them, it takes me a few days to recover from the amazement of what I’ve seen and felt. I also miss our guest.”

“I think that might explain why you always seem to get sick just as one of our residents gets ready to move on to their next life.”

“I’ll get over it. I’m so thankful for how much God has blessed us by letting all these special people and their angels live with us, even if it’s just for a short time.”

“You’re right, Abbey. We’re so fortunate to have all these people share their lives with us. God has really blessed us.”

Family Portrait - Marian, Abbey, Mim

Family Portrait – Marian, Abbey, Mim