They descended from the skies, flying in from Colorado on Saturday, my son and his lovely wife and his two children.
We waited and we planned, my husband and I, and prayed too, that their trip was safe and good and that all was well.
It was safe and good and all was well. They too had looked forward to their getaway, to their time with Mom and Dad, with Grandma and Grandpa.
They took time away from their lives, their routines, to be with us. They gave us a portion of their world, their days. We too, pushed away the borders of our doings to open the door and clear a pathway for their coming. We carved out space where we could meet.
This, I have been thinking, is love.
I wish that we lived close by, and the carving was more often, the lacing together tighter and easier. I wish that we melded as naturally as minutes moved into hours, hours into days. But choices and chances and challenges have not allowed this for us in our lives. So once or twice a year we plan and create islands called vacations. We board planes and travel to lace one another up again. We look at each other and note our growing in one way or another, with age, with worry, with happiness. We take stock. We listen. We love.
Sunday was Ascension Sunday and we worshiped together, kneeling in the pew and thanking God for this time granted. Here in the church where my son was once an acolyte, serving before God’s altar, we knelt on the padded kneelers, he in his late thirties and I in my early sixties, and said the prayers he said as a child. Later, he took his son, age eight, and his daughter, age 6, to see the places where he once prepared to serve the Holy Mass. On this morning we sang songs of the Ascension of Christ, the moment when all the pain and suffering of the world was redeemed. For, I knew, Christ would carry me to Heaven when the time came, he would bring me with him in his full humanity.
I considered my child and his children, my flesh and his flesh, my love and his love. I thought how God had sheltered us but only because we have asked for the sheltering. God has redeemed us but only because we want to be redeemed. God has guided us and laced us together only because we desired his will to be done in our lives. But God has loved us whether or not we wanted his love.
As in other times of my life, I have found that with God’s grace I see and experience what he wants for me. This Ascension Day I looked at my child, now a man and a father and a husband as well as my son, as he knelt before God, and I gave thanks for God’s presence in my life, his lacing us together and to him. It was a moment of ascension, a pulling toward God, joining our flesh with his in the Eucharist, a foreshadowing the ascending to come.