Tuesday, October 2, 2007

An abundant life

Yesterday was a day that made me think about Father Weibel, the pastor of the church that I grew up in and still attend today. Father Weibel was the founding pastor at Nativity in 1958, the year that I was born. It wasn't until seven years later that my family moved across the country and started attending that church. Only a few months later I received my First Communion from Father, and later made my first confession with him. He was also present when I was confirmed. By the time I went to college, he had retired, but frequently came back to say mass in our parish and bless us with his words of wisdom. As much as all of these events were significant to me, what I remember most clearly were the times that he spent with us kids. On a summer day he might load some kids into his car and take them to see a Bears baseball game. He was easy going and good natured, even when one of the kids threw up all the ball park goodies in the back of the car. In the winter, Father loved to ice skate. One afternoon, he took me and my brothers and some neighborhood kids up to a nearby frozen mountain lake and taught us to play ice hockey. He took all the littlest kids on his team, and what we lacked in skill, we made up for in numbers and his expertise on skates. I remember all of us huddled around him, a tall figure dressed in his black pants and black coat with the white of his collar peeking out. The smell of tobacco, warm in the pipe that was always clenched between his teeth. Beside the lake was an ice house that served as the "indoor skating rink," where we could go to get out of the wind. The wind would blow so hard at times, we would hold our coats up over our heads to act as a sail, and we'd go screaming across the lake. Every so often, a train would chug along the tracks nearby and everyone would hurry over to that side of the lake to wave to the engineer. I wasn't thinking of Father Weibel yesterday morning when I dropped the kids off after school, or as I drove to Starbuck's for a Monday morning latte. The view across the Front Range was breathtaking. A hot air balloon hovered in the deep blue sky. The mountains looked so majestic. At home I settled into work, grateful for a day where everything was falling into place. As the day progressed, my emotions wound through a series of loops and turns and narrow roads. Early on came the news of the death of a young person in our community. I felt such deep sadness for her family, for her little brother who was one of my cub scouts years ago, and her father who coached my boys in sports. Later, I felt a bittersweet combination of sorrow and relief for my aunt who quietly passed on after months of illness. The kids came home from school and cross words about homework and responsibilities left me feeling discouraged and frustrated. And late at night, I was weary, yet full of anticipation for the baseball game -- that left me feeling exhilerated in anticipation of the playoffs later this week. Father Weibel used to tell us that God doesn't promise us an earthly life of happiness. He doesn't say, follow me and I'll guarantee your life will be rosey. He does assure us that our lives will be abundant. Our lives will be full and we'll experience gladness, sorrow, anticipation, fulfillment, anger, contentment, uncertainty, security. And through it all, he promises to be with us. I think about Rebecca and Lily, who have experienced all these things and now are at peace and living God's promise of eternal life. And I pray for those left behind, their families and friends, as we travel through this life and all it's abundance.

12 comments:

Robin said...

Those words are so true Karen. Jesus said "In this world there WILL be trouble" not IF or MAYBE but WILL. And He also said, "take heart, I have overcome the world". Your attitude about all these happenings show that you are "taking heart". May He be the God of peace and comfort to your heart today. Those were sweet memories of your priest.

Jen said...

How completely wonderful. Your words were what I needed to hear today. Thank You.

Tristi Pinkston said...

What a beautiful post and touching tribute, Karen. Thank you for this.

Becky said...

You know, this post really spoke to me today too. I'm in one of those moods.

Karen said...

Oh Karen. Has anyone ever told you that you should write a book? You have a wonderful way with words. I am so glad I have a Savior, and that your aunt and friend are safely in His arms. I will pray for the families left here.
Blessings and hugs,
Karen

kim said...

Hi Karen-

What beautiful words--I need to take heart, like Robin said in a comment above mine! Thanks for sharing your heart.
*hugs*
Kim

gail@more than a song said...

Well said, and good for me to read this week....I've been a little emotional for some reason.
Sweet memories of your priest, and how sweet of him to take up time with all the kids.

Becky said...

Hey Karen, about washing windows with newpapers. I don't have a secret for the ink problem. I really don't mind the newprint on my hands. I just make sure I wash them well when I'm done. BEFORE I answer the phone :)

I enjoy the fact that I am not adding more trash with perfectly good paper towels.

Bill said...

Beautiful memories...beautifully written. This has been an emotional week for me, facing demons from my past. I am grateful, however, for the ability, so long suppressed, to "feel" again. Sadness can be beautiful, too, if we let God take our hand. If we do this, we will know that all will be well. Thanks, Karen!

Robin said...

Yay! I'm so glad you got your issue of Today's Christian Woman! I hope you enjoy it immensely - thanks for letting me know - I had been wondering.

Judy said...

So beautiful, Karen.

kris said...

Beautiful post - thanks.