Tuesday marked eight months since Bernadette went to heaven. It will never cease to amaze me how time can tick by at a snail’s pace and yet as fast as the speed of light.
The last few weeks I’ve been struggling with the memories of ‘this time last year’. Remembering how Catherine and Bernadette worked hard the first week of September to enter paintings, drawings, sculptures, and graham cracker houses in the Fall Fair and how excited they were when they won ribbons and prize money. The end of September was our last fun filled excursion through the Enchanted Forest in the drizzle where the girls posed for a hundred pictures with Snow White, Pooh Bear, the Three Little Pigs, and every other fairy tale character you can think of. Fast forward a week, for twenty-four years Thanksgiving day was the special anniversary of Paul’s baptism and now he has to share it with the anniversary of the day we discovered the lump in Bernadette’s tummy that changed our lives forever. Life continues to be a roller coaster of emotions and memories.
Last Friday Jean emailed and suggested I might find the Manna Gathering entry on page 433 encouraging “because it has to do with the eyes of Jesus”. The entry is a retelling of the story of the Scribe who questioned Jesus as to what the greatest commandment was and Jesus answered to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and the second is like the first, to love your neighbour as yourself. At the end of the story she wrote “Jacob (the Scribe) simply stood there as he soaked in what was being lavished on him through the eyes of Jesus.” I was sitting at the kitchen table drinking my morning tea while reading the story and when I was done I looked out the window and wished with all my heart for such an encounter with Jesus. To look into His eyes and have Him look into mine. Oh how I desperately wanted to experience the love I would find there. Just the thought of it made me cry.
As much as it was something I wished for from the depths of my heart, it wasn’t really something I’d ever expected to experience in this life for it wasn’t the first time I’d wished to see into Jesus’ eyes. Well on Tuesday Marc and I went for coffee at John and Nellie’s house for the first time. They are the Compassionate Friends contact for Salmon Arm but we also knew them through St. Joseph’s parish. As we walked in the door Nellie greeted us warmly and then John greeted Marc with a manly handshake. Marc stepped out of the way and John greeted me. He took my hand in both his hands and he said “welcome” not only with words but with his eyes and his heart that I almost jumped out of my skin. I wanted to run from him and run to him at the same time for I knew I was looking into the eyes of Jesus and His look was spilling over with love, compassion, and empathy like I’ve never experienced before. It was like I could hear Jesus saying, “Oh how I know your pain.” I almost burst into tears except for the fact that I was in shock. It really was one of the most incredible split seconds of my life. For the past two days the phrase that keeps coming to mind is “I have seen the face of God . . . and lived!”
Oh, one could suggest that it was my imagination because John also knew unimaginable pain and I was just connecting with that pain – and that may be true. But yesterday I talked with another man who also knew terrible pain as he lost his wife when his children were just three and six and then a few years ago he lost his college aged son. There was a connection there too but it was that familiar connection with someone who has experienced a similar loss. I was expecting that similar connection when I shook John’s hand. Instead it felt far more like Jesus peaking through John and right at me. It happened so fast, was completely unexpected, and the rush of emotions was instant and too overwhelming for me to have made it up on the spot. No, I admit I have an imagination but it isn’t that good. I have seen the face of God. . . . . and lived . . . . and oh how I long for more!
Love this and truly believe you are right – it was definitely a God moment ,,,gave me goose bumps or should I say ‘ God bumps’ ..thanks for sharing …love and blessings always T 🙂
I just finished reading the Meditation for today (Oct. 3) from the Word Among Us, then I read your post.
Wow. If you haven’t seen it, go to wau.org and see how the two go together!
Thank you for blessing me today!