One Sunday after Mass, I approached a woman whose husband had died to offer my condolences. she proceeded to describe, in loving detail, her husband’s final hours: how she had stayed by his side in prayer and held him in her arms for a long while after his death. She spoke with great emotion and, when I looked to my side, I was startled to see my eleven-year-old daughter Lily listening intently. My first instinct was a desire to shield her from the powerful emotions she was witnessing. I worried that Lily might be overwhelmed by the woman’s sorrow, and too immature to sense her underlying joy at having loved her husband to the end.
When we talked later I could see that, without my planning it, something beautiful had happened: Lily had been moved by the widow’s words. A few days later she was given an assignment to write about and illustrate an act of kindness. Without hesitation, she described the woman holding her deceased husband as having reminded her of Mary holding Jesus after the crucifixion, and drew a diptych with the Pieta’ on one side and the widow holding her husband on the other.
My human instinct to shield my daughter from sorrow might have deprived her of an encounter that revealed something a mere discussion of love and death never could. MAY I TRUST LESS IN MY OWN STRATEGIES AND MORE IN GOD’S CAPACITY TO REVEAL HIMSELF TO MY CHILDREN IN THE REALITY OF THEIR DAILY LIVES.
Rachel Oberman lives in Brooklyn with her husband and five daughters. She is an adjunct professor of English at New York City College of Technology.
My thoughts after reading this…..out of the mouth of babes.. wow, God works wonders in our and our children’s lives. LET GO AND LET GOD seems to apply. What do you think?
I also have another thought. What if this husband had decided to opt out of life early by committing assisted suicide? Or what if the wife had decided he should die early by assisting him to die? How much love would both she and her husband lost? What comfort would she have missed had he died early? What would Lily have missed had the woman talked about assisted suicide? Your thoughts?

4 thoughts on “SHE PNDERED THESE THINGS IN HER HEART (Luke 2:51)

  1. Dear Rachel,
    I thank you for your reflection that I read this morning on page 172 of “Magnificat”. It touched me very powerfully and taught me a lesson that I myself could apply. As I read your reflection online, about the woman at the death bed of her husband, I was moved to tears.
    I’m a retired teacher of English, and an RCIA Catechist at the Parish of the Assumption in the Vicariate of Brunei Darussalam. Despite what you may have read in the media, we Christians praise & thank God for being able to practise our faith here. At this year’s Easter Vigil we had 15 adult Baptisms, by immersion, with the Bishop himself standing in almost waist-high water. I’m also facilitating the weekly “Symbolon” programme which starts on the 20th of April.
    I praise & thank God for people like you.

    Morris Alwines

    • Dear Morris:Thank you for your comment on my Blog from the Magnificat.I also truly thank God for people like you. 15 adult Baptisms is wonderful, thank God for new Christians. I have never seen a Baptism by immersion especially with the Bishop there but my friends tell me it is so heart warming that it brings tears to a persons eyes. Even a Baptism with water on the forehead and with holy oils is a very happy time and we always clap afterward to welcome the new Christians into the Church.
      You know, I and my friends all buy the Magnificat to read the daily prayers and Mass prayers, then we have to throw them away afterward because we don’t know what to do with them. Do you have any suggestions. I believe our St. Agnes Ladies Guild would be glad to send them somewhere if we knew someone would use them. The Mass prayers would be out of date because they have dates on them for the day’s Mass, but the prayers and songs are beautiful.
      I am very glad you appreciated my Blog, Thank you. My name is actually Connie

      • Dear Rachel,
        Thankful though we would be to receive the past issues of Magnificat, unfortunately the relevant authorities don’t allow bulk packages containing such material. I have no problem getting in my single copy for “personal use” but many copies would be a problem. thanks for the thought though.
        Your prayers and the prayers of your friends for the Christians here would be most welcome!
        Thanks Rachel!

  2. Morris, thank you for your reply. I will talk to my friends and our Guild and ask for prayers all of you. We are very proud of your bravery, we never know how brave and courageous we can be until we are put to the test. Our prayers will be with you. Connie

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