Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Not a Reunion...a Union

This weekend was a milestone for my daughter, and one that I am so proud to share.  She studied for the past two years, going to class, learning about her faith, participating in service projects (yes, she and her classmates built two loft houses for the homeless in Ensenada), discerning what her involvement and commitment would be to her faith.  Through all of this, she was totally engaged, rarely complained about the time she needed to spend on it, took retreats with her fellow Confirmandi then received Confirmation on Sunday.  She is now considered an adult in the eyes of our church.

We found out months ago the date of her big event.  Then, as I've found often happens in life, we realized it was the same weekend as a huge reunion event my husband and I were invited to attend.  (Do things like this happen to you too?) 

The Young Americans, the song and dance company where Drew and I met, has meant the world to me for over 25 years.  The organization taught me to be a better singer, a better dancer (yes, I eventually learned the fundamentals of tap dancing), a better performer. It formed lifelong friendships, ones that I cherish and depend on to this day. It helped me see more of the world.  It provided a home away from home for me in my late teens and early twenties. It was the basis and object of my career for over 20 years.  It fostered incredible human values...the importance of a great work ethic, flexibility ("make it work, people!"), empathy for my fellow man, the value of music in every life, both educationally and emotionally.
 Still as soon as I found out about the date conflict, I knew without doubt or hesitation which I would choose.  There is nothing in the world that could have pulled me from my daughter's side.  I cannot express the pride and joy Colleen gives me each day, and for her to solidify her commitment to her faith on her own...without duress of any kind...was an event I was blessed to witness.

This decision created times of reflection for me over the past few months.  I remember reading about our Fathers love for us in one of my devotionals.  The question was posed:  "Do you ever want less than the best for your children on Earth?  Imagine how much more God wants for us as His children."  When I read this passage, I realized that God, my Heavenly Father, has been with me every step of my life, even when I didn't want Him or recognize His hand at work or said it didn't matter whether or not He was there. 

How, then, would I have felt if, when I reached a life milestone, He took off for something more interesting.  "Sorry, Cynthia, but Isaiah, David, Solomon, Noah and Moses are getting together this weekend...gotta spend My time with them.  They need another player for poker and I'm supposed to bring the dip.  Good luck with your achievement!"  I would have been devastated.  I know I have been called to follow His example of parenting...and even though  God can be in many places at once and I am limited by my humanity, still these choices for me require no thought.  I want to be made in His image.  I want to be the kind of parent He is to me. 
My sister, Christine, was Colleen's sponsor, chosen for her incredible example of faith in action, love for the family and individual care for my child throughout the years.  Colleen recalls our summer visits with the extended family at a beach house in Alabama and told me how much it meant to all of them that "Aunt Christine would pray with us before we went to bed." 

Christine and her husband joined us on Friday and another brother-in-law flew in a few hours later.  Together we enjoyed a beautiful day on the bay (how happy am I that our family is a Bay Boat Club member?), lunch, visiting, basketball and sitting in the sunshine back at home, homemade dinner and Cold Stone Creamery for dessert.  I knew there would not only be joy found on the occasion of Colleen's Confirmation on Sunday, but grace for our entire visit, spending time in the warm embrace of family.
Drew's family joined us the next day for the ceremony, pictures, dinner, dessert back at the house.  And through it all, even after having strep throat the entire week leading up to Sunday, Colleen was a picture of the Spirit...smiling, laughing, praying, living life in faith.  What a celebration!

Now we are so fortunate to have the Holy Spirit in spades moving within the hearts and lives of our home.  We Confirm along with Colleen our commitment to our faith.  Then, years and years from now, we can rejoice at our own reunion with Him in Heaven.

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