Music is my main companion when I run, music and my thoughts. And they both have kept me company and swirl around me mile after mile, year after year. I’m a loaner runner. Not that I like it some of the time, because I surely love to talk and when there’s no one around to entertain and impress with my rapier wit and genius, what fun is it? But there is a peace being by myself. No one can tell me what to focus on, or stew over, or dream about… My thoughts and my feet can take me anywhere I want to go.
As I have commented before; I have built up an eclectic arsenal over the years of music that aids me in my meditations and motivation, and mindless nothings. Different songs take me back to high school and college days or days when I was on top of the world, and they call to mind people as well.
“Sweet City Woman” by the Stampeders and the Archies’ “Sugar Sugar” belong to my cousins, mostly Kathleen, and the simple things and happy times growing up.
|The side of my refrigerator, my running schedule and my reminders of why I do it|
The Beatles “Blackbird” is my son Simon’s song. He used it in an incredibly great commercial he created on his computer for a college project. He also claims “Lumen Mundi Es”. It’s a treasured, beautiful recording I have from his high school Chamber Singers group that fills my heart with him- how proud I am of my one and only son, how many miles I have run worrying with thoughts of only him over the years, but more so, how much joy he has brought me.
“Cups” by Anna Kendrick belongs to my sweet Gracie, who spent a lot of time perfecting the little cup and clapping thing. When I hear “Brighter than the Sun” by Colbie Caillat I can hear her sweet, innocent little voice, singing it at the top of her lungs.
And for my Emmaclare, there are a few songs; one, “American Girl” by Carrie Underwood is particularly hers. There is a country edge to the song, as there is in my sweet, beautiful blonde-haired girl. My dear one. My dear, dear one.
What on this earth can top the love a mother has for each one of her children? It begins as a seed, a tiny seed growing within her (and sometimes that seed begins on the other side of the world, as with my Gracie Beth, but still it grows) and when their eyes first meet there is a bond beyond all others. It can be overwhelming actually- when first you see the little person who suddenly is absolutely everything to you. Without hesitation, out of nowhere you know you would die for them- you would run to the blade, you would throw yourself on any danger or harm or hurt, if only you could.
Then your life begins together and as time goes on it separates. There is pain in this separation most of the time for a mother’s heart, but also there are joys when you watch and see as only a mother can a life living to its fullest potential, or at least trying to.
Many mothers can smile and nod in acknowledging the one child that has been the subject of most of her prayers and worries. For my mother, it was my brother Craig. She could see in him all the potential, all his hurts, and frustrations, and bull-headed determination, and attempts. She knew him like no one else did, and loved him like no one else did. I believe it was her main mission, those last years of suffering, to strap that heavy cross on her ever-emaciating shoulders for the sake of her son.
So many times I would hear her tell me, “Whatever it takes, I will never give up on him. He is my son and I will never stop fighting for his soul.” And boy she sure did. She demonstrated to me what a mother’s unconditional love meant through years of patient and horrific suffering, prayer, and sacrifice.
There are just some things in life that are worth it. She showed me that. When your child is in need, there is nothing that you won’t do.
I find it more than just a coincidence that I should have been contemplating seeds, the starting of life and how I would write about that today of all days, not really putting together the fact that today is the feast of the Annunciation- when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and asked her to be the mother of God. (Luke 1:26-38) With that fiat, that yes the seed came to be in her virginal womb and that Incarnate life grew inside her.
We can relate in so many ways to Mary as she experienced the same things as most mothers who, from the start are so closely, physically bonded to their children, and in time the space widens, and you must let go. For Mary, whose maternal heart was so wounded by witnessing the graphic, barbaric death of her Son that it was like a sword that pieced her heart (Luke 2:35) she knew to the dregs of bitterness what separation was.
So, with morning mass today I thought on these things, and brought to Jesus through His holy mother all my dear ones, my children, my mother’s children. I felt such a confidence in her mother’s heart to bring those who I love the most to her Son, and ask Him to bless them for me.
Some miles I run and think about how happy I am to be outside and alive- footloose and fancy free living! There are focused miles spent contemplating upcoming events and scenarios (women can beat that every angle scenario thing into the ground and I sure am one of them). But some of the hardest miles are when I have the extra weight (and that’s not the five pound bag of flour I always seem to be carrying on my midsection) of worry for one of my dear ones. They weigh down my heart and monopolize my thoughts so much that I can wonder how I suddenly made it back home- oblivious to all else around me.
It’s in those dark times that I am happiest to fly! Not away, but into the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She wraps me in the mantle of her grace and helps me to find a peace that I am doing everything a mother possibly can when you are mentally wringing your hands at the sorrows of being separated, and helpless.
Oh Blessed Mother, from the time when they were in my womb (and for one, across the world but alive in my heart) I gave them to you specially, that you would forever wrap them in the mantle of your grace and protection. On this holy day when we think on your YES, and you felt that life growing inside you, turn your eyes toward this mother who wants only what is best for her children. Let the glory of abundant grace fall upon them! Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners! Always, and in all ways. Amen.
|My Simon, Emmaclare, and Gracie|