Greener Grass and Hypocrisy

Catie followers,

The journey continues and brings challenges and blessings daily.

As I sat in the house this past Wednesday, my heart skipped a beat as I looked up and was momentarily convinced that Catie was about to come around the corner and into the room. I wondered where the thought came from and as I pondered it, I realized that because Catie had been away at St. Jude for so many months last year for treatment and had returned home twice before, I was waiting for her to return again. Somehow in one corner of my mind, Catie has been in treatment for these past 8 months and is coming home any day. As bizarre as the thought was, it sparked another thought. I began to fall into the trap of self-pity and thought about how difficult Catie’s journey had been on me. This journey has been harder on me than it has been on Christine, because she had the gift of the one on one time with Catie for all the time they were at St. Jude. What a selfish thought. Growing up, we all were told that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, yet when we hop the fence, reality sets in. How shallow of me to compare my journey to Christine’s and attempt to weigh the relative difficulty in order to justify my own selfishness. Please forgive me my darling.

We all fall into the grass is greener trap at one time or another. The green grass of jealousy allows us to compare our circumstances with someone else and feel sorry for ourselves or worse, blame God for our lot in life. The crosses we bear in our lives are ours. Longing for someone else’s is a dangerous game. God gives us the grace to deal with our particular cross. Perhaps the jealousy we feel for someone else’s circumstance is not reflective of their cross, but of their ability to carry it well. Please grant us the grace to carry our cross well.

Speaking of traps, the other one I find myself falling into is the trap of hypocrisy. As I examine my own human weaknesses and frailty and marvel at my own sinfulness, I realize anew how unworthy I am of God’s love for me and how much more special that love is simply because I have done nothing to earn it. How often I have chastised myself for leading my family to Mass after a morning of raising my voice in anger at children because of a lost sock or an unmade bed. What a hypocrite I am. How can I stand in the presence of God and His followers and pretend to be whom God wants me to be when the reality is so different. The number of times I feel as if I am unworthy to carry the mantle of “Catie’s dad” is growing. I am ashamed at times that she is looking down on me and witnessing my action or inaction. Tough to admit, and even tougher to change. As people of faith, we know that God sees us as we are, blemishes and all. Knowing that my precious Catie now sees all of my faults and weaknesses exacts a toll. The hope is that it will make me want to be a better man, father, husband, Christian, son, brother, and friend. It is after all what Catie first wanted those who heard her story to do, love the people in your life and do it better today than you did yesterday.

As I was trying to work through all of these thoughts, Christine and the kids were all at the weekly school mass at St. Joseph’s. Father Sullivan began his homily and talked about prayer and God’s response to our prayers. As an example, he talked about how all of the people in this church prayed for “little Catie O’Brien” last year, and “what was God’s answer?” At dinner Thursday night, each of the kids and Christine related to me and each other their reaction to Father’s words as well as the reactions of classmates and friends. People’s reactions still run the gamut from avoidance because they feel they have no words, to a hug, to a shared tear. For some, choosing to never broach or think about Catie again seems like the best way to avoid any pain or discomfort that the memory may cause. I for one am still searching for the best way to deal with Catie’s journey, perhaps the best way is to make sure that I complete my own in God’s good graces so that I have the chance to see her again.

On to the news about Catie’s Wish Foundation. We had our second very successful event at PJ Whelihan’s in Blue Belle, PA on October 4th. Lauren Sullivan and the entire team at PJ’s have been wonderfully supportive of Catie’s Wish, and together with Mike and Sue Pascarella hosted an Octoberfest filled with great food, great music and great fun. We also raised close to $5k to continue the mission of the Catie’s Wish Foundation, to eradicate pediatric cancer through prayer and research. Thank you to all who made the event so wonderful.

The website launch continues to be tracking towards a January 2010 live date and we have selected the finalists from the many proposals we received. The winning designer will be selected within the next week. Please pray that we make the right selection. Our advisory board continues to grow. We have decided to model the bible in selecting 12 members, when we have met personally with all twelve, we will let you know who they are. We have selected a company to produce “Catie Gear”; ‘shirts, canvas bags, sweats, vinyl stickers etc. We debuted the products at the Octoberfest event and everyone seemed to love the new logo and the products. We have begun to select Catie Ambassadors who can assist us in spreading the word about Catie and her mission for us. Ambassadors are our link to schools, churches, prayer groups; they are one degree of separation removed from us. Before we take Catie’s Wish mainstream, we hope and pray that a grass roots approach will provide the foundation for future opportunities. Again, following the biblical model, we believe that selecting 72 to spread the word of Catie’s Wish is the way to go. Our vision is that ambassadors would receive a kit of materials to share with schools, churches and prayer groups to introduce them to Catie’s story and offer the opportunity to support Catie’s Wish through prayer or fund raising. If after prayerful reflection you believe that being an ambassador is something you might want to investigate, let us know and we will be in touch. Christine has done an amazing job of getting all of these efforts off the ground and I am sure that Catie continues to smile at all the work Christine does in her name.

Please know that you all continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. Keep sending us your prayer requests and thank you for keeping us in your prayers as well. Please keep the kids at St. Jude and others fighting the battle against pediatric cancer in mind as you go through your day and please remember to tell those you love how much they mean to you

May God bless you and the work of your hands,

Christine, Kevin, Maggie, Max, Mia, Molly, M.E., and always Catie

PS So many of you have shared your prayer requests with us and for everyone that has, each day we offer prayers asking Catie to intercede on behalf of those souls and children too sick to pray for themselves. Please join us in praying for Tim’s family, Jason, Sheri, Christian’s family, Baby Cole, Jen, Samantha, Nora, Ally, Theresa, Meghan, Baby George, Jarred, Katie, Bob, Kathy, Ellie, Regina, Alex, Gianna Marie, Patty, Christopher, Joseph Thomas, Abby, Brayden, Dax, Ellie, Hunter, Jack, Jonah, Marit, Sean, Sydney, Trevor, Campbell and Tala and all those children fighting to live in hospitals all over the world – may your children come to know God’s love and peace for you and your families.

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