The very first year that I taught religious education, the program director introduced a theme for the year. She called it, “The Face of God,” and though we followed our regularly curriculum for the year, this was the overarching theme that we tried to weave throughout our lessons. We discussed the Victor Hugo quote, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” Specifically, Erin encouraged the children, and us as catechists, to think about who has been the face of God in our lives.
At the time, I thought briefly of others I’ve encountered through the years who’ve shown me the face of God. People that have encouraged me to be a better Catholic. Inspired me to become more involved in our church and our community. People who’ve brought out the best in me.
But if I’m honest, I couldn’t think of any one person, or any one experience, when I truly saw or felt God’s presence in my life in a strong way. There were times I felt very blessed. Times I was grateful. Times I was inspired. But they were perhaps more fleeting moments, instead of life changing experiences.
Until now. Over the past month, I’ve been sick. What started as something flu-like grew and changed and hurt and I’ve got a chest infection that is only slowly starting to resolve after several setbacks. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever been this poorly (and certainly not for this long) in my life. I’m only just barely on the mend. And Marcus is traveling for work.
In the past two weeks, the love and compassion I’ve been shown by my friends has been so overwhelming. I have had meals brought in every day. I’ve had people pop round for lunch to check on me. Friends have offered to do my shopping and my washing. And most importantly, people have helped with the girls. They’ve taken them to their gymnastics and diving lessons. Taken them to school. Picked them up from school. Kept them for a few hours so that I can rest. Taking them to and from play dates. Changed their work and home schedules so that they can help, often without me even having to ask.
And the girls have managed all the chaos so well. They’ve been juggled and flitted from friend to friend with ease. They’ve been well-behaved and gotten great reports from every parent and friend who’s helped with them. They’ve made their own lunches and sorted their own uniforms when I’ve asked. They’ve helped each other and me.
So now, in this time of my deepest need, I can honestly say that I have been blessed to see the face of God. It is every single person who has called or texted, cooked or helped, drove or hosted the girls. It’s everyone who thought of me when they had their own busy lives and their own full diaries.
I feel incredibly humbled by this experience. I spent a lot of time feeling unworthy, and feeling that I couldn’t accept the help people were offering. It was my friend Rachel who reminded me that when I don’t let someone help, I rob them of the opportunity to serve. That has been on my mind constantly, as so many of you have served by helping me and my family.
So thank you, to everyone who has been the face of God for me over the past month. I cannot begin to thank you enough.
I am blessed beyond measure.