Wednesday, January 16, 2008

With New Eyes

During Advent and the Christmas season, I watched as Ramona, time and again, widened her eyes, glowed, and said things like, "Ooooh!" or, "That was such a fun show, Mommy!" or, "I love this! Can we do it again next year?"

"Why is she shushing us during Rudolph?" I wondered and then realized that she did not know how it turned out. Whoosh. How quickly an old mommy forgets.

And it was that way all season long -- wonder and enchantment over things that I think of as the same old stuff. Not that I don't love our same old stuff -- I really do -- but, it's still, well, you know. It's the same old stuff.

But not to a five-year-old who is just awakening in new and thrilling ways to the world around her.

It's intoxicating. To her. To me. To everyone. It's contagious.

It no longer feels like the same old stuff.

Also recently, whenever I read a post at Jennifer's Et tu? I am struck by a similar feeling. If you don't read Et tu? , then you must! Go there. Now.

Jennifer, like me, is a former atheist. Jennifer, like me, is now a Catholic. Jennifer chronicled her conversion, and is now chronicling her life as a new Catholic. It's all new to her, and it's all sublime. Sometimes when I read one of her posts, such as this one (written on Christmas Eve and full of all the anticipation of a bride on the night before her wedding) or this one (written after Christmas Eve and full of the reality of sleep deprivation and crabbiness being redeemed by the One True Thing), I just weep. I weep at her discoveries, her faith, her gratitude. I love that she is so real, so intelligent, and so willing to share what she has found and still struggles to find on this new path.

I remember when it was all new to me, too. And I'm thankful for fresh looks and fresh starts.

And so.

God, A Charlie Brown Christmas, the Eucharist, gingerbread houses, lights on a tree and the Light of the world ....

May I always have the grace to see it all as it were the first time, to see with new and wondering eyes.


Barry Michaels said...

Thanks for this post, Karen. Important stuff for us "cradle Catholics" to hear, too. When it's been a part of life from the start, it's way too easy sometimes to take for granted the gift of faith and so much that comes with it.

I had a similar experience just a few days ago, when our second-grader had her first Confession. Sitting in the church while she stood in line with her classmates, I remembered what a weighty thing going to confession felt like as a kid. This was reinforced after the event when my daughter said that one of her classmates (second-grade, remember) had been crying before her confession "because of a big sin she had to tell the priest."

While certainly I'd have wanted to comfort that child and make her feel more comfortable about going to confession, at the same time, it was a jarring moment to think that I'm probably too indifferent to my own sinfulness, and too little appreciative of the infinitely important gift that comes every time I walk into that confessional.

I've been thanking God this week for what he did in and for my daughter for the first time, and what he does for me, too, so very often.

Eileen said...

Because of wonderful posts like this--and the fact that you are just plain wonderful yourself--I left you a little something on my blog. :)


Jennifer F. said...

Oh my gosh, I am so touched! I wept at your post about how you weep at mine. :) THANK YOU!!

Karen E. said...

Barry, thanks for such a thoughtful comment and a beautiful example.

Eileen, thank you! You are a blessing.

Jen, I didn't mean to make you weep. :-) But, I *do* love reading your reactions to the Church, the Mass, your newfound faith. I *so* often find myself nodding vigorously and saying to myself, "Oh, yes! Yes! I remember that! I remember feeling that way!" Your blog is a gift to me.

Melanie B said...

I'm not a convert; but I frequently have the same sort of reaction when reading Jen's blog. I love the way she makes faith and prayer and everything feel so new and fresh. I had a similar thought recently about how it is similar to seeing things through my daughter's eyes, the newness and excitement of it all.