Choices,Trust, and Reality TV

A few years ago as Christine was pregnant with M.E., (the seventh and last difficult pregnancy she would face), I made up a laminated card for each of us that read, “The only limit to God’s ability to work in your life is your level of Trust”. My card sits on my desk, taped to a picture of Christine, and I have looked at it thousands of times, and there are times when I glance at it and it does not even register, and other times when I look at it and the words hit home and the message gets through my stubborn independence and I actually try to live as if I believe what I wrote. We have a beautiful picture in our room that reads, “Lord, help me to remember that there is nothing that will happen today that you and I can’t handle together”. I received an email chain letter today, (you know the ones that if you break the chain you will be struck down by the avenging angel of death), and its message was simple, it was a memo from God to me saying essentially, “I’ve got this, you can relax”. And last, I can remember my brother Jim advising me during a difficult time in my youth to surrender the problem to God, and then resist the temptation to advise God on how to fix the problem. In essence, all of the quotes that we read, and hear, and try to live are saying the same thing, Let Go and Let God. We have heard all of these so many times, we have become numb to their message and the call to action that is contained within them. Christine has talked in previous emails about the desire to control uncontrollable situations, our own human ego prevents us from reaching out and accepting the assistance of a loving God.

Most Christian denominations have as part of their liturgy an offertory, an opportunity for us to offer what little we have to God who needs nothing. In the Catholic tradition, there is a portion of the mass where the prayer reads, “Lord, we pray that your angel may take this sacrifice to your altar in heaven. Then, as we receive from this altar, the sacred Body and Blood, may we be filled with every grace and blessing.” When we take the “stuff” of our lives that makes no sense, or makes us crazy, or angry, or sad, and we give it, willingly and totally, to God, we will be amazed at what He can make of it.

This is where CHOICE comes in. We have to make two choices. First, we have to choose to surrender this circumstance to God. Why do we resist making this choice? Because we are too proud, because we think that we can handle it, because “it’s not a big enough deal for God to have to get involved”, or maybe we think it is too big a deal for God to be able to “fix”. Matthew Kelly writes, “when was the last time, when faced with a decision in your life that you asked God, “God, what do you think I should do?”. Perhaps we don’t ask, because we already know the answer. The second choice, after we surrender the circumstance to God, is to actually let Him keep it. Each day, as I pray for Catie’s healing and for our family to be together again, I offer the situation up to God so that He can take care of it. I usually allow Him a good 2-3 minutes before I am offering my expertise, (at no charge) to Him on how I think He should take care of it. Frankly, it amazes me that He was able to handle creation without my assistance and guidance. Catie is His child, He has blessed Christine and me with the opportunity to care for her during her time on this earth. It is our job as her adopted parents to teach her about her Father in heaven and instill and awaken in her the desire to return home to Him. But not yet!!

In 12 short hours, because of the love and support of many of you, Molly and I will be heading to BWI to fly to Memphis. I received the following from Christine earlier today, I am hoping that there is missing punctuation, “I love you less than 30 hours…YES.” I choose to believe that there was a missing period after “you”. I guess I’ll know when I get to Memphis tomorrow. Thank you Maria and John, (and Tommy and Julia) for watching the other 4 this weekend. And thank you Megan for all you are doing.

We re thrilled that the e-mails are inspiring. At times I feel like we provide the good news that everyone is searching for each day. Even though Catie’s story is not all good news it is real. Reality TV is so popular these days, in my opinion and I am not a TV watcher, because what it offers is real not staged or acted stuff. I think we have all grown up with the Hollywood mentality for so long and realize that we can’t compete. Real love isn’t like in the movies and yet everyone wants how they feel when they watch the movie and then when what they have doesn’t compare and they are disappointed. If we are disappointed watching TV we change the channels. Life doesn’t work that way and that sometimes leads to more disappointment. Life demands that we keep going, no matter what the situation we are faced with is, even a 7 year old with a horrible disease. I hope our e-mails offer that, the story of how our family keeps going day after day. We cry, we laugh, we get upset and we go on to the next day.

Thank you all for giving us a “next day”, and thank you God for delivering on your promise that you will always love us. Please also, give us the grace to trust in you enough to give you everything, not just the stuff we don’t want to handle ourselves, help us to make that choice.

God bless you all and thank you for being God’s instruments in our lives.

I will say hello to Elvis for you all, talk to you when we get back.

Christine, Kevin, Maggie (10), Max (9), Catie (7), Mia (6), Molly (4), and M.E. (2)

We pray that you don’t feel helpless in this situation. Help us by praying. Help us by loving your family. Help us by hugging your kids and your spouse everyday. Help us by spreading Catie’s Story to the most faithfilled people you know and to those that need more faith. Help us by writing to us, even if you don’t know us, and telling us how Catie’s Story has come to you and impacted you.

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