Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hearts & Crosses, The Final Installment

If you missed any of Hearts & Crosses, Parts I-III, here's a quick refresher.  Please feel free to click on the highlighted text to read the full story:

Part I - I threw out a theory about the three types of people there are when it comes to belief in signs:  The Omen Enthusiast, The Naysayer, The Spirit Seer. The end of this post found my sister, Christine, Spirit Seer extraordinaire, sighting the first of many signs proving that our dad was with us even after his passing.

Part II - Here began the sequence of events in a series of signs that my sisters and I would happen upon, a pictorial story of Hearts & Crosses that still overwhelms me each time I see it.

Part III - Part III opens with our feelings on the day of my dad's funeral. How, in his infinite care for our family, Daddy made sure to send us the sign of all signs, spreading a salve on our wounded hearts.  The words, "Oh Father of the broken-hearted daughter, pray for us," will soothe me until I join my dad beyond the veil.

Now that we're caught up...

I returned home to California almost two weeks after I had travelled to say goodbye to my dad.  It's distressing how normal life seems not so normal anymore after such a loss, yet we go through the motions because the Earth keeps spinning and our schedules need tending. 

I got out of bed one morning almost two weeks after returning from Alabama and found myself in one of those dreamy hazes where you look back on recent events and can hardly believe they happened.  I began to doubt my sanity a bit.  Uncertainty chilled me for a moment.  (That blasted devil!)  I was reviewing, slowly, each divine encounter and was coming to the conclusion that our heart signs were the true signs, though the crosses would play a minor part.  After all, Christine was the only person who clearly found a cross on its own.  I didn't know at the time why this bothered me so much...the elimination of the cross as an integral part of the equation. I was so saddened to think that my imagination may have gotten the best of me.  I prayed for confirmation of all we had seen and heard over the past few weeks. 

"What about the cross, God?  Daddy?  Was the cross part of it?  Please show me the way."

I read my morning devotionals, then got down to business making breakfast for my boy and cleaning up the house.  Laundry, dishes, trash, recyclables, making beds - you know the drill.  But even in trying to distract myself, I couldn't shake the sadness.  Finally I had a moment to sit at the computer, and I pulled up my online post for the day from Girlfriends in God .  Author Sharon Jaynes had written a story about a recent trip to the beach.  It was here that God remedied my doubt, filling me with great joy:

"Perhaps my favorite place in all the world is the beach. God seems to speak to me through each intricately carved sea shell, soaring gull, and majestic wave. On this particular spring morning, I had gotten up before the others stirred from their slumber to have a cup of coffee with the Lord. I sat rocking on the cottage porch surrounded by coastal beauty and watching the water of the lazy canal meander by. As I was talking to God and thanking Him for all the splendor of His creation, He urged me to look closely at a reflection in the water. There it was…a cross. Reflected in the water was a simple cross."

I began to rejoice, ashamed of my temporary lapse in faith.  Here I found myself, day after day since my dad's passing, being delivered of signs served up on a silver platter, yet I settled back into old ways, succumbing to my doubts.  What more could I possibly have asked?  The message was clear.  "Believe, Cynthia.  This is your moment of grace."

I realized unexpectedly why the removal of the cross had been bothering me so much.  We cradle Catholics learn the "sign of the cross" often times before we even learn our abc's.   Its a beautiful symbol of our faith.  But as I reflected on that term for a moment...the sign of the cross...that which I've said my whole life...truly, for the first time, did I appreciate the importance of that phrase and what it represented.

The sign of the cross...
A sign of Jesus' sacrifice for our sins.
Proof of God's tender love for us in the face of losing His son.
A sign of surrender

A sign that, despite our smallness, our selfishness, our very humanity,
protects our souls by the love of God.
Love shown by His Son on a cross.
A cross that encompasses
Protects our hearts.

Hearts & Crosses...
a perfect symbol to show us the way...
...the way to His grace.

{Thank you, Daddy, for these gorgeous gifts. 
And thanks to you readers, for sharing this journey with me.}

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