Wednesday, December 19, 2012

*BEST OF DTB #238* Black, Red and White and the love of Our Lady of the Snows

Once, as a precocious 4 year old, my daughter Melissa inquired of my wife if dinner would be ready before the snows come. This was just Melissa imitating her Dad, something she used to do a lot. I had uttered that expression many times before then.

Sometimes, the things we remember are tiny threads that connect events in our lives and make them make sense in some small way.

Our Blessed Mother Mary is honored by almost 120 titles and the one that comes to my mind today is Our Lady of the Snows.

To tell my story, let me start at January 6th, 2006- The Epiphany, the last day of Christmas and the worst day of my life. This did not end as a white Christmas or even a green Christmas. It ended as a black Christmas, a day of such utter despair that I shudder in even remembering it. That was the day I received the news that my kids had been assaulted by a monster. Fast forward, a year later, in January of 2007 and that monster was being sentenced.

That former precocious 4 year old was now a recovering teenager, just a few months shy of her 20th birthday. I remember vividly, her recounting that among the things that resulted from her trauma were an aversion to the color red.

Sometimes the decisions we make, even those with the best intentions, turn out to be utter disasters. None could possibly have been more disastrous for us than our decision, in 1998, to move from Virginia to New Jersey. When the tapestry of our life is shown, it will have been our family's Babylonian exile.

So, in 2007, we took the leap of faith to move back to Virginia, hopeful that, upon graduating college, this precious daughter of ours would follow and we could help her fully heal.

Well graduate she did, six months early. She graduated 6 months early, four years ago this very day. The day started for me and my other daughter (Megan) in Reston, Va in a driving rain storm, waiting for my Christmas bonus. After some delay (on the part of Federal Express), we were on our way. For all but about 10 minutes of the more than 6 hour trip, it was raining. Then, suddenly, the rain turned to snow.

We arrived at the college and I took what will always be one of my favorite pictures. My youngest daughter embracing my oldest, clad in a bright red coat, in her own private snowstorm.

Prior to moving to New Jersey, a snow the week before Christmas was something almost unheard of to me. In New Jersey, I experienced 2 of the only three White Christmases of my lifetime.

Here it was, as today, six days to Christmas and it was snowing. The even greater miracle was my daughter, dressed in red as if to say, you have no power over me anymore. Yet, the greatest miracle of all was joy creeping back into our lives. Say what you will say about my story but I will tell you this. Real sorrow is real sorrow and genuine healing is genuine healing and I will take a Christmas miracle when I can get one.

One year later, to the day, our Northern Virginia home was hit with the biggest Christmas week blizzard of any of our lifetimes, with more than 2 feet of snow. As if, Our Lady of the Snows was putting an exclamation point on her statement to us.

Blessed Mother Mary, Our Lady of the Snows,
look with pity on my family and anyone else who knows sorrow at this holy time of year.
Please obtain from your Divine Son, pardon for our sins and healing for our pain. Please obtain from your spouse, the Holy Spirit, a shower of grace, like a blanket of new fallen snow.

Blessed lady, in your love, lead my family back home and ask Our Father to help them know His love for them in a very special way.

This is the White Christmas I'm dreaming of. Amen.

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