In the Face of Fear...one of the best books that I've read. It is a compilation, of works by people like the Dalai Lama and Jack Kornfield, promising 'Wisdom in Challenging Times'...it really was inspirational. I used one of the lessons this morning, on the way to Mass at St. Rita, where they were having a special Mass for Kimmy. As we hurtled down the highway, I told the bambini the story of the woman who lost her son. She approached Buddha and said to him 'Buddha, my son has died and I know that you can bring him back to life.' Buddha agreed and told her to seek out a mustard seed and deliver it to the house in the village that had not experienced loss...This book helps you see the good in all things - in fact, one of the short stories is entitled 'It Would be a Pity to Waste a Good Crisis'! Most of the stories focus on ways to take the fear or panic out of any situation, so that you can think clearly, see things clearly and make a sound decision on how to feel or react. There are answers for every situation any one of us might be facing.
I was explaining the lesson to the kids when my phone rang. It was Janene. 'Where are you?'...Apparently, having been so engrossed in my dissertation that I missed my exit, I was on my way to Patagonia. I found a turn around, as the next exit was 19 miles east. Autumn asked 'Are we allowed to turn here?' No. 'Then what are these turn arounds for?' I explained that they were for police and emergency vehicles. "But, we are late for Mama's Mass - that's an emergency!" she reasoned, those beautiful blue eyes fixing on mine in the rear view mirror, Kim like. Yes, but, unless we happened upon a very understanding officer, I would get a ticket, I told her. "I bet Brad (Janene's husband, who works for the Tucson Police Department) would let you go!" she answered.
It was a nice Mass. We took up two pews between Angie, Andrea, Janene, Kim, Cody, Autumn, Lexy, Mariah, Tonio, Breanna, Bryson and Micah. It was a comfort to be surrounded by them as we reflected on Kim and shared her Mass together.
The Homily, talked about how Jesus can see the potential in all of us. His disciples were far from perfect, yet, he knew what was in their hearts and how to work with them, patiently, taking the time to mold them into what they became. I was riveted, as I thought back...over the years...remembering the exact day, the exact moment that Kim came into my life - changing it forever. Helping me to turn a 180, Kim saw the potential in my heart - it took Jesus about 3 years to shape Peter into 'The Rock' - he did not start out that way, rather, Jesus taught him and shaped him. And I'm thankful that I am where I am now, while continuing to work on moving forward, thanks to Kim and to God for putting her into my life.
After Mass, we all went to Viro's for lunch, where we met Brad and Kason. Rose and Vito made sure that the 'big table' was ready to go for us. And we ate cheesesteaks, roast beef sandwiches, pizza, pesto sandwiches, Italian wedding soup, buffalo chicken sandwiches and gelato. In the midst of this feast, Rose brought us out a huge plate of her famous deviled eggs - "she puts bacon in them!" Janene marveled. Lena made Andrea a special mocha latte and, for me, a cappuccino, of course. Then, Rose brought us a plate of chocolate cake with chocolate mousse frosting and a strawberry cake, as well!! We spent a couple of hours there, easing into our afternoon, remembering Kimmy and all that she did, knowing she would have been enjoying our day..."You know Kimmy's smiling down on all you do right now" Andrea told us.
The Mass, the lunch, were incredible - and once again, I know how blessed we are to have this family to be there for us, for support, for motivation, for healing...
Janene and Brad took Tonio with them when we finally were ready to leave Viro's. He had a fun day playing with Bryson and Kason and doing a little roller skating. Janene excitedly told me that Tonio came in first place in the races for his age group!
We took Breanna and Lexy with us and the girls all had a fun afternoon at our house building, watching t.v. - it warms my heart so much to hear Autumn's laughter and to see her having so much fun and being at complete ease - Lexy and Breanna bring out the best in this little girl. Kim loved to see these guys together and their creativity when they played.
The bambini never got hungry...until 9ish, when they all decided to have cereal - the lunch tiding them over for the whole day. I kept asking the girls 'want some grapes, fruit...pasta?' 'Nope, we are still full from Viro's!'
Tonio and I finished reading Neil Gaiman's 'Graveyard Book' - Autumn snuck in to listen to the end - her and I read this one several years ago together - it is a great book. We talked about the ending - was it sad? The main character, Bod, was leaving the graveyard, where he grew up, leaving behind all that he knew...or happy? Bod was excited by his prospects and the chance to see the world...the kids decided it was happy...
To end the evening of a perfect day...I invited Tonio to do his journaling while I began writing Kimmy's blog...he pulled up a chair, next to mine and began drawing...and elaborate scene of a seashell, being tossed up on the beach and of Tonio and Kim finding the shell and picking it up, as I stand nearby smiling. The sun is beaming down wearing sunglasses and a large, puffy cloud is smiling. Birds happily fly throughout the sky....
As I wrap up, once again, I am thankful for all that I am blessed with...the bambini - their love and needs keep me going day to day....Angie and her family - for making us feel that we still matter...our health...our schools...I could go on and on...