Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Favorite Date

Paul and I celebrated our 18th anniversary on Monday, April 27th. We are celebrating today by spending the day together while the kids are in school. To newlyweds 18 years seems like a long time, to those in the golden years we seem like newlyweds. I am forever grateful to God for Paul and our years together. They are quiet and mostly peaceful, even with 5 kids in the house. But most of all, our years together have been blessed by God, I can feel His presence in our lives every day. In that spirit, I offer a story...

My Favorite Date

My son, John often asks Paul and I questions about our childhood such as “What was your all-time favorite band?” and “What was your favorite TV show?” and “What was your favorite toy?” Recently, his questions have become more timely for his age, as he is now a teen-ager with an eye on dating girls. So, when he asked “What was your favorite date?” I was somewhat taken aback. This question required some deep thought, especially since Paul and I dated for five years before we were married and we had many lovely dates. But my favorite date? Hmmm…

I thought about all of our typical dates-dinner out, a movie, drinks at a bar with friends, picnicking at the beach-these were all very nice, but as a favorite none of them stood out.
Then I recalled one night that did linger in my memory, not because of how fun the night was, but because this was the night that I knew that God intended Paul to be my husband.

It was a bitter cold January night. I don’t think the temperature could have been higher than ten degrees below zero. I was living with my sister Cathy at the time and she and I picked up Paul and we drove to the UWM campus on the eastside of Milwaukee to pick up my nephew, David. The four of us went out to enjoy a traditional Friday night fish fry. After a warm meal with pleasant conversation, we returned to the bitter cold air and drove David back to his dorm.

While driving back to our homes on the northwest side of town, we saw a man run out into the middle of the street. The driver of the car next to us could not stop in time, and he hit the man with so much force that he flipped over the car and landed face down in the street!

We ran to him and heard him moaning in tremendous pain. We saw someone else run to a nearby house to seek help, so we stayed with the injured man. Paul was wearing a long, wool coat and he took it off and gently covered the man with it.

It was so cold out that Cathy and I couldn’t stand waiting outside for help to arrive any longer, so we returned to the car to warm up. Paul refused to join us. He stood there in the cold without his coat and kept telling the man “You’re going to be alright, you’ll be ok…” When the paramedics and police finally arrived, Paul remained outside until the man was safely inside the ambulance and he had finished giving his report to the police.

Paul is a hero with deep, compassionate love for his fellow human beings. The way he stood by that injured man reminded me of how Mary stood at the foot of the cross with Jesus. Like Mary, he remained there to silently offer comfort and support, and the quality that showed through his silence, was his great love.

I knew then and there that a man with so much love, compassion and strength of character would be a perfect husband for me. I could see God very clearly in Paul that night and knew that our marriage would be blessed from above. And eighteen years later, those blessings continue.

I trust that the unknown injured man was comforted and healed in God’s arms. And, I thank God for placing Paul so tenderly into my arms. There could not possibly be a better date than witnessing God’s love in action. This memory of love will remain with me always.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Faith Filled Juxtaposition

A Faith-Filled Juxtaposition

My son John and I recently had the great honor of volunteering to help at the St. Francis de Sales Seminary Open House. Whenever we have the chance to spend time at the seminary, we always come away feeling greatly blessed by the opportunity to spend time in this historic, beautiful, prayer-filled building and the open house was no exception. Although the weather was dreary with rain pouring down all day, the spirit at the seminary was loving and bright. The people who toured the seminary all wore smiles on their faces as they spoke words of gratitude for the opportunity to see this beautiful building. The staff, volunteers and visitors were all well dressed and well mannered. It was the kind of experience that made us feel a quiet sense of peace and holiness. It gave us a great feeling of pride and joy to be able to serve our beloved Archdiocese by promoting vocations to the priesthood in this way.

After enjoying this quiet afternoon, we raced home to change into comfortable clothes, picked up my daughter Mary, and hurried to the St. Vincent de Paul Meal Program to help serve the Sunday evening dinner with the St. Matthias Parish youth group. The difference between the Seminary and the Meal Program was like the difference between day and night.

When we arrived at the meal site, the rain was still pouring down. There was a crowd of people waiting in line for dinner to begin, as well as a crowd of volunteers waiting for directions from the meal site staff. The atmosphere was loud and chaotic. I noticed that the kitchen bulletin board was covered with pictures of past dinners, and one picture in particular stood out to me. It was a picture of Archbishop Dolan holding a small child. I felt honored to be following in his footsteps here.

Shorty, an energetic skateboarder who wore trendy gage earrings, greeted us. He asked us to fill out nametags with our first name or “street” name only. He gave us our directions and asked if anyone would like to wear a button. Everyone in our group shook their heads, so I offered to wear the button. The button said, “Jesus Christ is Lord”. Our assignment was to pour milk, water and coffee for the guests. Smiley, the site manager called everyone to prayer. We all gathered in a circle, held hands and prayed the Lord’s Prayer together. Then the food lines opened and the work began.

As this was Mary’s first time helping at a meal program, she was most comfortable staying behind the table refilling the pitchers with milk and water as they were emptied. John and I ventured out among the tables to refill milk glasses as needed.

No sooner had everyone sat down to eat, than a near fight ensued. A young mother was seated with small children all around her and she was obviously agitated by another young mother at the other end of her table. Loud shouting and swearing could be heard above the noise of the other diners. The mother who was so agitated got up out of her chair and headed towards the other woman as if she were ready to physically attack her. The meal site staff quickly headed over to control the situation and bring peace to the meal program. Both mothers sat down and continued their meal. There didn’t appear to be any hard feelings, as they both had smiles on their faces for the rest of their dinner. As I headed towards their table to see if they had a need for milk, one of them called my name. I turned to her and saw that she was one of my clients from the WIC clinic. She told me that she was surprised and happy to see me, and re-introduced me to her daughter. I was surprised and happy to see them as well. I felt more at home and at ease seeing a familiar face and was more grateful than ever that she wasn’t hurt in the near altercation.

As I resumed my milk pouring duties, I received just as many smiles as I found earlier in the day at the Seminary, as well as several compliments on Shorty’s button that I proudly wore. All in all, it was a very satisfying day to serve the Lord in two very unique yet very different ways. I thank God for the Seminary of St. Francis de Sales and the wonderful work that is done there preparing priests to serve the many people in the Milwaukee Archdiocese, and I thank God for the St. Vincent de Paul meal program and the wonderful work that is done there feeding hungry souls with healthy food and prayerful service. What a tremendous blessing it is to be able to find, serve and love the same God in two such varied and beautiful places!

Welcome to my blog!

I'm hoping to share my faith with others through this site. I can't keep it inside of myself and pray that this will be a means to inspire you and bring you closer to the Lord. The name "Imprisoned in my Bones-Releasing my Inner Jeremiah" is inspired by Jeremiah 20:7-10

"I say to myself, I will not mention His name, I will speak in His name no more. But then, it becomes like a fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones, I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it."

So, in the spirit of Jeremiah, I will share the name of God with you...