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?"