Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Selfless Love is Life-giving

My brother and I with Paul and Ann
Today is my friends, Paul and Ann's anniversary.  Eight years ago they were married.  The day was perfect in every single way.  I've written about this before, but at the time of the wedding, I didn't know Ann very well. Paul and I had been friends for almost a decade, but I had only met his fiance one or two times.  In her goodness, she gave me a tremendous gift.  Barely knowing me, she invited me to stand up in their wedding as a bridesmaid. "If you were a man, you'd be one of Paul's groomsmen, so I would love for you to be a bridesmaid of mine."  I was nervous heading down to the wedding, Paul was one of my very best friends, he was leaving me as one of the last single people in our group... and I was going to be spending a lot of time with strangers (Ann's other bridesmaids).

But, of course, the 'other' bridesmaids, Ann, and Ann's family...were absolutely perfect.  The wedding was wonderful.  The party was a huge success and the marriage of Paul and Ann began.

Selfless love is life-giving.

Joey and John Paul meeting Caeli
Paul and Ann's daughter Caeli celebrated her third birthday yesterday. One thing I love about the faith I practice is the understanding that children are gifts.  The love between a man and a woman, sprinkled with God's Divine Goodness, gives us little people.   People who share in our traits, and people who we are given the enormous task of raising up to be Saints, to be Disciples.  The profound responsibility of it sometimes overwhelms me.  The selflessness it takes to surrender one's body to grow a child and then to deliver that child into the world is awe-inspiring.  There is such sacrifice when we are raising children,  as our actions become motivated by the life of another.   It is so intense, but so rewarding.  The love between a man and a woman, with God's Divine touch actually creates PEOPLE.

Children are a fantastic witness to the life-giving aspect of God's love.  I don't think it was an accident  that God blessed Paul and Ann on their anniversary with their sweet baby girl.  This day, which holds a profound sadness for Ann now that Paul has passed away, also gives us all a reminder of what can happen when two people choose to love each other and follow God.  LIFE is born.

Selfless love is life-giving.

The love of Paul and Ann is shown through all of their children, but that's not the only life-giving witness they have provided for me, through their marriage.  A few months after Paul joined the heavenly kingdom, my mom was talking about the love between him and Ann. She talked about how their love will truly go on for ages, both through their children, but also through the impact their love had on others.

The people who read about their story online and felt a pull to give generously.
The people who emailed and messaged to say they were praying for the first time in years.
The community banding together,  BUILDING AND FURNISHING A HOUSE!  A house with a foundation that was poured by Paul before he got sick.

Their love moved through the community at a rapid pace 1.5 years ago.

Their love moved people to reconcile with one another.
Their love woke people up in the middle of the night the evening before Paul passed away to join together in prayer, as a vigil of sorts.
Their love inspired complete strangers to say, 'Hey I want to LIVE like PAUL. and I want to LOVE like Annie'.

Their love united tens of thousands of people to live a more intentional, more prayerful, and kinder existence here on earth.

Selfless love is life-giving.

I cry all the time for Paul.  This morning, dropping little A off at school, we listened to, 'I Can Only Imagine', the song I heard minutes after finding out Paul had 'gone home'. As I pulled into Aaron's school, I wiped tears away before getting out of my van.  Two nights ago, I sat with one of my very best friends, Kellie, and we both pondered how it could be possible to grieve him so hard.  How very challenging it is to know we will not see him again until the end of our lives.  We both sputtered through words as we fought back tears that just keep falling.

But man, on days like today...

Days when I remember the wedding of Paul and Ann 8 years ago...

Days when I pray for their beautiful daughter, a gift born from their love, as she celebrates her 3rd birthday...

Days when I allow myself to think about how profoundly life-giving the love of Paul and Ann was and is...

It makes me want to be better. Love better.  Pray more. Laugh longer.  And remember if I can allow my selfish heart to sacrificially love... life-giving grace will surely come.

Pray for Ann and the kids today friends, I know they could use it.

1 comment:

  1. Mary, this is really beautiful. I will pray a Rosary for Paul's soul-and for his family, and especially Ann-today :)