Friday, January 8, 2010


In the recent onslaught of holiday cards and letters, we received the gamut of greetings. We learned of the joys of new babies, the accomplishments of children, the travels of friends and families, and for the most part, the happy reflections of 2009. The reports were uplifting and especially endearing accompanied by pictures of smiling people and children, dressed well and seeming to have it all together.

There was one letter sent to us by friends, though, that stood out from the bunch. Knowing the family had endured some hardships in the past year, I was curious as to what it would contain. The letter highlighted various goings-on in the family, a recent move, and the here's and there's of certain relatives, very much like the other letters we had received. It was the closing paragraph that struck me most. It read:

"Life is rich and hard and sweet and frustrating--the same for us as it is for you. We are wealthy in love of friends, family and our faith in the good news of the Gospel. Who can ask for anything more?"

I was moved to tears reading it. The writer so beautifully summed up life in four descriptive words-- rich, hard, sweet, frustrating.

It can be easy in the blog world to drift from blog to blog and begin the illusion that everything in others' lives is perfect. Even over here at Building Cathedrals, we may appear to have it all together--well-behaved children, cleanly homes, well-ordered days and organization, perfect marriages with nary an argument... I could go on, but you know what I mean. It is the danger of blogging. Putting ourselves out there to the world, but only partially. No one really knows what goes on unless you're here and living it.

NEWSFLASH: We're not perfect. None of us.

And life, in fact, often takes the shape of those four words above--rich, hard, sweet, frustrating.

I would agree, we are rich in the love of Christ and the Grace emanating from His Church and the people here on earth who represent it. How blessed are we to have such richness! Thank you, Lord!! We are rich in friendship here at Building Cathedrals. I am rich knowing every night upon lying down to sleep that there are people here on this earth who I trust and love and who would advocate for me in an instant. How blessed and rich.

But life is hard. Mary Alice wrote a beautiful reflection in Faith and Family earlier this week about being open to God's will regarding the size of her family. Does Mary Alice have it easy with 6 children? Do any of us? I speak collectively in saying, "NO!" Does an openness to life mean that every day is graceful and beautiful and worthy of praise? Heavens no! But is it grace-filled? As long as we allow it to be. Our family is preparing to welcome baby #4 into the fold come June and I already know that with this new addition will come many hardships. Growing pains hurt, though they are usually accompanied by other joys that help us deal with the pain. Life can be a challenge, there's no two ways about it.

Oh, but life can be sweet. The little things are sweet to me these days. The high voice of my toddler as he beckons to his grandfather, "Pa-pa!" It has to be about the sweetest thing one could hear. And what about my 5yo, who last night threw me the football, busted my finger, ran to get a band-aid for his mom, and tended to my wound with utmost care. So sweet. These are sweet blessings that sprinkle our day with goodness.

And finally, yes, life can be frustrating. Usually my frustration comes in reference to my interactions with the outside world--the customer service personnel, the DMV (or BMV, depending on where you live), the pharmacy staff, or perhaps the receptionist who continues to put me on hold! There are bigger frustrations too, but none worthy of any of our time. Life isn't always fair; and it isn't always peachy.

And that's okay.
"We are wealthy in love of friends, family and our faith in the good news of the Gospel. Who can ask for anything more?"


Carolina Girl said...

Thanks B-mama!!! :)
I needed to hear that you struggle too! I don't know how you do it with the 3 bundles you already have. I struggle SOO much with just one...and a husband :)

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful post! I agree that those four words do describe life so well. And not just for those who are open to life and blessed with it, but also for those who are open to life and not blessed with it. :)

I enjoy reading this blog so much!

Right Said Red said...

Thanks B-mama! You are so right in that the frustration often comes from the outside world. In my case, I have Bank of America to thank for my most recent horrible week ;-) But there were many moments of grace too...especially hearing my 2 year old little boy spontaneously string together 2 words for the first time, seeing my baby little gal giggle, looking at the joy in Gianna's face as I painted her nails, and hearing Charlie laugh when I tickled him "like crazy."

As always, thanks for your positive perspective, and your recent pep talks! I hope to return the favor in June ;-)

Right Said Red said...

opps, I meant seeing my little baby girl giggle! My new years resolution should have been to proofread my posts and comments!

Karen said...

So true. We must remember to be "real" and share our struggles with others both on the WWW & in person. This past week I blogged about disaster days - some things we can do to prevent them, but mostly we can do things that will help us endure them with grace.

If we only ever tell people of the "perfect" side of life, then it leads to a super mom syndrome. No one lives in a cutesy, sparkling clean world, but if is funny how often we think that, "if I could just be like that mom, I would have it all together. My life would be perfect." I also think this way of thinking makes being a mom more of a competition, which I think distracts from our purpose to honor God.

It is great when moms share ideas that work to make their lives better, but it is good to have a reminder (like this one) that no one, including ourselves, has it all together:)

I love how the author of the letter address the sad parts of the year with so much gracefulness.

Dianna@KennedyAdventures said...

Such a beautiful post! It's funny ...when I post about how out of control my life is, that's when I get the most comments thanking me for being honest.