Good Friday

My little First Communion Trainee had a requirement to fulfill: attend all Holy Week masses.  My requirement to fulfill:  maintain calm, attending services with both of my children should not induce anxiety. 

Good Friday commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus.  Pope Francis reminded us that the cross represents our response of mercy, love and forgiveness to evil in this world. Admittedly, I struggle to remember this each time I venture back into the public.

Riley, Ronan and I calmly prepared and headed toward the 3 pm afternoon mass to celebrate our faith with St. Leo’s congregation.  Predictably, we drove into the jammed parking lot with just minutes to spare, parked on the back grass spaces and managed to enter by a side entrance just as one of our Priest’s held the door for us.  I never plan on grand entrances, yet I make them all the same.  An usher insisted we take the last two seats.  That’s how we found ourselves in the chairs in front of the pews directly before the altar and the wheelchair angled awkwardly in the path as the drums beat steadily and Riley raised is head in awe with a wide smile on his face before crying out in appreciation.  After depositing our things under my chair, I stood to discover Riley’s front wheels dangerously close to our Priest’s prostrate feet.  With a sharp breath, I realized all three Priests were prostrate upon the ground.  No, he had not been tripped by us – yet.

riopAs my children observed the ceremony, one with quiet attention the other limbs thrown wide and active, chiming in with an echo throughout the crowded Nave I found myself distracted by the sight we made since eye’s found themselves easily drawn to us.  I do have much work to do to reconnect to God. It is part of our journey and this also I must take with calm.

Kneeling, standing, standing, kneeling without the benefit of kneelers and only Riley in his chair before us… I found myself overwhelmed by the interaction of my boys.  Riley full of confidence and appreciation for the activity around him and the company of his family.  Ronan comfortable and absorbing the traditions and learning to worship our Lord.  Focusing upon the missal, Ronan stepped out of line placing his book upon Riley’s armrest and Riley struck out bumping him repeatedly.  Neither child reacted to the proximity of the other.

Overwhelmed, tears filled my eyes as I observed this interaction throughout the mass, not for the adoration of our cross but in wonder for my sons.  My goals have always been somewhere far ahead.  No more than an idea.  Here before me, my little family had achieved an ideal: a loving relationship between a special needs child and his typically developing sibling.  Riley and Ronan were simply brothers.  While I had been aware of Riley drawing so much attention and being very much in the way, they had simply been worshiping together with complete acceptance.

When Ronan joined our family and began to crawl and explore, John and I made a conscious decision to allow Ronan to fully interact with Riley.  That often meant that Riley was climbed directly over by Ronan or Ronan was sent flying by an ill-timed kick.  They had to find how to work around each other.  Therapists and even strangers would sometimes show alarm at the two being in such close proximity.  Riley was clearly fragile.  Ronan but a baby who did not understand his brother was to be set apart.  Setting boundaries between siblings would have stunted their relationship.  Theirs is not meant to be a normal brotherhood but to be unique and discovered only by them and not through parental interference.

Riley and Ronan, simply brothers, observing Good Friday.

I have so much to learn. My children, however, are already there.

As It Seems – Lily Kershaw “This life is as fragile as a Dream…”

One Response to Good Friday

  1. What a blessing to watch Riley and Ronan sharing this most special moment. Riley is truly a gift from God, so it is no surprise that he would feel most comfortable in a place that worships God. Fortunate are those who are privileged to see the boys interacting – people could learn a true lesson in unconditional love. Wishing you all a very joyous Easter filled with many blessings. xo C. (HHL)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WordPress | Rileys Smile