Thursday, April 12, 2007

Possession


Love laced with dread; love strangled by horrific possibilities; an unexplained ache while embracing my child or waving goodbye to my spouse; the fear, contaminating joy so sweet, whispering in my ear, “You would die, wither up and waste away if that baby, that parent, that husband left this world before you,” is not congruent with a victorious Resurrection. This fear is the first thing I want to examine, repent of, and obliterate as an heir of the living Christ.

Abraham walked with Isaac up a mountain. Throughout that long journey he conversed with his son, maybe joking and laughing sharing memories of previous years when Isaac was younger and naïve, naïve as a fish swimming open mouthed straight for a hook pierced worm, trusting that the nourishment will be his free and clear. Abraham, fondling the dagger in his cloak, perhaps slicing his finger over the blade, marched on toward the unthinkable guided only by his devotion to God. I can tolerate this story when that same God is foremost on my mind and in my heart. But when the order is reversed, when the blessings tower over my Creator, that story both offends and frightens me to tears.

“Why must you love God more?” ask my jealous children in unison. “We love you more than anything!”
“Don’t you see?” I answer, as much to myself as to them “My own love is broken and imperfect. Only by loving God first can I love you best, can I open my hands and give you freedom.”
Possession is tricky because it feels like devotion, even while it smothers and frets. Possession keeps one busy with the paying of bills, the charting of goals, the changing of sheets on a bunk bed. It tells you that if you try hard enough, worry obsessively enough, and make the right plans and resolutions, it will all work out in the end; it will all come together just as you devised. Possession stuffs love into a box of reasonable shape and size quite satisfied with the assuredness of that embrace.

There is no room in this soul for Christ and anything else. To add my own agenda is to compromise the purity of my faith. To desire nothing but sunny days and a woundless existence, is to close my mind to the will of God. There is so much evil in this world. Just trying to keep on top of it, wagging your head in disbelief, can be a full-time occupation. The longer I look, the more effort I invest into stockpiling my basement with generators, water bottles, and bird-flu vaccines, the less confidant my prayers become. It is hard to pray and duct tape windows simultaneously. It is hard to long for heaven when your one goal in life is to keep your family anchored to this earth.

If I could bottle the courage sprung forth during the Paschal Liturgy when I sang along with Jesus to Mary, the Theotokos:
Do not lament me, O Mother, seeing me in the tomb, for I shall arise and be eternally glorified as God,
I would drink of it continually. I would bathe in it, cleansing my tormented thoughts with the healing promise of the crucified Christ. I would shout at the top of my lungs, echoing with transcendental volume off the walls of an empty tomb, the words of St. John Chrysostom:
O death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is thy victory?
Christ is Risen, and you, O death, are annihilated! Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down! Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!

Love sanctified by sacrifice; love disinfected by death and resurrection; an unexplained peace while embracing my child or waving goodbye to my spouse; this hope, intensifying joy so sweet, whispering in my ear that hell has been conquered, is the gift our Risen Lord freely offers. This hope is the only thing I want to make room for as an heir of the living Christ. May He grant me the fortitude to march on toward the unknowable guided only by my devotion to Him.

Click HERE to listen to this reflection. This is a service of ANCIENT FAITH RADIO.

6 comments:

H and S said...

Wow Molly, if I thought the last post ("Indeed He Is Risen!") was life-changing, words can't describe this one. I struggle every day with the fear you describe. Thank you so much.
Selena
Australia

tess said...

I'm new to your blog, but I'm finding in your writing an echo of myself. Your post today has come at a disconcertingly appropriate time, as I'm preparing for my husband's deployment to Iraq. The past few nights I have been choking on my fear, lying awake and watching my husband and son sleep peacefully.
I think I'll be printing this out and sticking it on my refridgerator.
Thank you.

Molly Sabourin said...

Dear Tess,

I wish I had even more to offer than these shared fears and convictions. Thoughts of your family now burn in my heart; please know that I will be praying!

With love, respect, and gratitude for your courage and sacrifice,

Molly Sabourin

Rebeca said...

This beautifully expresses what I think so many of us struggle with as mothers. I was an unusually fearful child and God delivered me from that struggle, but I've found that since having children it is a battle once again. I've lost two children through miscarriage and really struggled with fear for my others. Grasping eternity is so hard when we live here and now.
Thanks for these words.

Anonymous said...

my words fail me, after your beauitful writting I find myself sadly lacking how to explain how your words touch me. I just want to agin say thank you. I also would like to say though I don't know any of you other ladys I feel I true bond with you and will keep all of you in my prayers.

Katherine
mother of 5
Alaska

Belladonna said...

Molly -

I've tagged you with the thinking blog award. Share your own list, or not - however you see fit.

Either way, your words are deep blessing.