I having been having a hard time. As our new baby's due date fast approaches, it is getting hard to sleep. The chairs are not comfortable, no matter how many pillows I get. I am worrying. The alarms and the people and the noise and the light- it is really hard to sleep here. It has been hard for Josh, who wants to make sure all his girls are OK, but he still has to go to work. It has been hard for Lily, who cannot understand why it is taking so long to go home this time. And since we are all struggling, it is hard to stay cheerful.
Yesterday was Palm Sunday. We went to Mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. We went to the Mass with a full choir. I love the music at that Mass. They always do some hymns, with choir and organ. They usually do some enchanting polyphony. Yesterday, as we raised our palm branches high, they sang a very forceful Hallelujah, which I had never heard before, but loved. During the presentation of the gifts we sang "Oh Sacred Head surrounded." It is so familiar, it is easy to breeze through the words and forget to pray, but I was awakened by the second verse we sang.
"In this your bitter passion, Good Shepherd, think of me. With your most sweet compassion, unworthy, though I be: Beneath your cross abiding forever I would rest. In your dear love confiding, and with your presence blessed."
I just do not associate the image of the Good Shepherd with the cross. It is an easy association, and one that our new pope makes easier. The people who need the mercy of the cross are the ones who are lost and broken.
"If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?" Matthew 18:12
Our Lord does not leave us to wander in vain hope that we will find our way back.
Cheer is not the most important thing. It is helpful in healing, but the reason this all felt so discouraging was that Sarah does not seem to need healing. She is well. Well is relative. She is rebuilding strength which she lost during an extended hospitalization. We, all of us, thought that she could do this better at home. We were not cheerful.
Cheer is not the most important, but hope is. We were not losing hope, when we thought about it, we were just thinking about it less. When things were particularly bad, we would pray. But the hour to hour involved, at least on my part, more complaining than prayer, and thus more frustration than hope.
Can I find rest in the cross? Can Holy Week be a pilgrimage of faith? Will I be ready for Easter, or will I still be feeling sorry for myself and broken?
"Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
Carrying them in his bosom,
leading the ewes with care." Isaiah 40:11
I will be ready if I let Him make me ready.