Every once in a while, you get confirmation that miracles do indeed still happen.
Such was the case late last week, when months of intricate planning—and more than a little intrigue and subterfuge—culminated in a memorable birthday event for my dear spouse.
Gerri celebrates a ‘milestone’ birthday this month, you see…but to make it a surprise, we had to spring the trap a little early.
‘We’…as in my three adult children and I…and my daughter-in-law and son-in-law…and our granddaughter. Suffice it to say, that’s a LOT of schedules to coordinate and clear…in order to plan a family get-away weekend to Kansas City, where our eldest son lives.
The task was made all the more daunting because our family’s Planner-In-Chief was to be the guest-of-honor…and therefore, couldn’t be clued in about the ruse.
But miracle of miracles, we pulled it off – arriving at Gerri’s place of employment shortly after lunch last Friday…and then “kidnapping” her for our family’s rendezvous in Kansas City. (A special tip of the cap to Gerri’s boss, to my mother, and to assorted other extended family members and friends who cooperated in the Master Plan…and helped provide many elements of the intrigue.)
It took a while for the enormity of the caper to sink in, once Gerri realized that we were all together in Kansas City. A mother’s dream: what better way to celebrate? Why, there was even a birthday cake…complete with candles!
A Dad‘s dream, too, it turns out. As I look back on the weekend, I realize that it filled my heart with joy…and more than a little gratitude…for the familial love that was present to us throughout our time together.
In these late days of the Easter season, I am reminded that this is very much how Love seems to work: In the person of Christ, we have experienced companionship and self-sacrifice throughout this holy season. We have known the joy of breaking bread together…of acquiring the sustenance we need for the journey ahead. We have come to know the sweet sorrow of parting, as well.
Jesus seemed to have something like this last lesson in mind in the gospel passage we heard at Mass today. He offers the disciples a sort of riddle:
Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing with one another what I said, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’?
Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”
It’s truly a blessed assurance, if you think about it: The Risen Lord promises to be there in every circumstance of our lives. The joyful moments that happen once in a lifetime. The times of grief and disappointment, too. And when we gather as family, we have the opportunity to make this Love come alive in a memorable way…even if only in one small corner of the world.