Moments that rock our world

By Jeff Hedglen

North Texas Catholic

11/14/2017


Most of our day-to-day life is filled with moments that pass us by with little to no notice. But, some moments come along that rock our world, change the direction of our lives, or are once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

This past summer within the span of 10 days I had two of these big moments, followed quickly by another life moment most of us will face.

At the end of June my oldest sister passed away rather unexpectedly from complications of many years of bad health. We all knew she was sick, but death was not imminent, at least as far as we knew. Thus, when the call came that she had passed I was shocked. My big sister was gone. She is the first of my siblings to pass and it is really hard to get used to living in a world without the sister who would rock back-and-forth listening to the music in her headphones, would alternately be mad at me or make me laugh, and baked some of the best cookies this side of Betty Crocker.

I got this news two days before I was set to board a plane to Germany for my niece’s wedding. This wedding was everything a wedding should be. It was full of faith and family, food and drink, laughter and tears, music and dancing, all of which was wrapped up in young love tied together with the Eternal Love.

The last of these life moments I am still meandering through. It is time for my father and step-mother to move into an independent living community. They are not quite at the stage where they need assisted living, but living on their own is increasingly worrisome. Helping them clean and pack their house to put it on the market, visit possible new independent living facilities, giving away their tired automobiles, and helping them face this new chapter in their lives is a journey of the unknown, uncomfortable and unavoidable. 

Experiencing each of these major life moments has been a bit of emotional whiplash. But in the midst of this kaleidoscope of emotions is a steady ray of light that holds it all together and continually brings meaning and stability to my soul.

At the time of my sister’s passing and niece’s wedding, I posted this on Facebook: “Life is full of events, some bring sorrow, some bring joy, but they are all a part of life, so I strive to journey through each one with as much of myself as I can. I am standing on John 16:20 this week — ‘You will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.’”

By saying that “I journey through each one with as much of myself as I can,” I meant that I want to be as present as possible in each of these moments. And my faith in a God who can turn grief into joy sustains me. 

The journey from birth to death has many hallmark moments. For me, God is the constant in each of them and the Church has a way of guiding me through the labyrinth. From the white baptismal garment to the white pall that drapes a coffin at the Mass of Christian Burial, our faith, and our God, walks beside us every step of the way.

One goal of the life of faith is that our life and our faith are intertwined. St. John Paul II said, “In order to speak of conversion, the gap between faith and life must be bridged” (Ecclesia in America, 26). In one sense we fulfill this when we “give our life to Jesus,” but in another sense we need to invite Jesus into every aspect of our life, so that each moment, whether big or small, is an encounter with the divine.

Yet these moments of life can come and go disconnected from our faith or even become a crisis of faith for us. In these times, it is especially helpful to remember the many Scripture stories that remind us that Jesus calms the stormy sea, comforts those afraid, and walks the way of suffering, all the way to the cross and beyond: to resurrection and healing.

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Jeff Hedglen is the diocesan director of Young Adult and Campus Ministry and the primary convener of Camp Fort Worth. For more on Young Adult Ministry, visit Fwyam.org

Most of our day-to-day life is filled with moments that pass us by with little to no notice. But, some moments come along that rock our world, change the direction of our lives, or are once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Published (until 11/14/2030)
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