Saints, and real life

The plan was to go to church last night.  It was All Saints’ Day,  a holy day of obligation, and — truth be told — I was really looking forward to slipping out by myself for the 7:30 Mass, enjoying some quiet meditative time in a candlelit church and unwinding from the rigors of Halloween.

But Life had other plans, mostly because Luke had a mystery rash that required an impromptu visit to the pediatrician.  Scott took him while I stayed home with Matthew.

I’m not going to lie; I was pretty bummed out, not least because All Saints’ Day is one of my favorite days of the liturgical year.  I love having the chance to remember all the people who have lived and died before me, both the famous ones in the stained glass windows and the less-famous ones  in my photo albums.   It was tough not to have that hour to celebrate the day the way I’d wished.

But you know what?  When I pulled myself out of my little pity party, I recognized that there are reminders of the saints all around me.

There are the pictures of Saint Matthew and Saint Luke on the dining room wall.  The boys colored them on Monday, as a way to celebrate their baptism anniversaries this week:

There was Matthew dancing around to “When the Saints Go Marching In,” one of his favorite songs on the Veggie Tales CD.  It’s pretty hard to hear that song and not join in.

As I made dinner, I had a reminder of my Grandma Kubitz in this decorative tile in my kitchen. When I was growing up, it was on her kitchen wall; now it’s on mine.  I love having the constant reminder of her.  When motherhood has me on the ropes, I can sense her smiling and saying, “I’ve been there, too.  You’re doing just fine.”

There is the saints’ bracelet that I wore all day.  It’s one of my favorite pieces of jewelry.

It was given to me by my friend Mary many years ago, and this year, it had an added poignancy because this is the first All Saints’ Day where Mary herself is one of the saints.  I was thinking of her all day: missing her, being grateful for her friendship, wishing I could talk to her again and thinking of how she must be having one hell of a party up in heaven with all the others.

There was the personal Litany of the Saints that I wrote several months ago, following a tip from Sarah Reinhard of  It’s a list of saints who are personally meaningful to me, everyone from Our Lady of Lourdes to Saint Maximilian Kolbe to the 9/11 fire chaplain Father Mychal Judge.  It’s a remarkably comforting thing, asking these people to pray for me and mine, and believing that they will.

Life isn’t always easy.  We all need a cheering section when times are tough, and to me, that’s what the saints are: people who have been here on earth, moved on to heaven, and still care about those of us who are muddling our way through.   Their stories inspire me; the knowledge of their prayers comforts me.  And though I couldn’t dedicate an hour to them last night the way I’d hoped to, it  was a chance to get creative and recognize all the little ways that they are already a part of the fabric of my life: in the kitchen, in the dining room, and everywhere.

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