Driving to the store I couldn't help thinking of the girl I didn't know. She wouldn't ever get to sell donuts with her brand new baby boy and her 10 year old son that plays baseball on an opposing team will never have his Mom wake him up on a Sunday again. Their story makes me unimaginably sad. Young, healthy and happy this lovely woman died in child birth. Her Dad is the principal of the school where the Athlete went to kindergarten. Two little boys lost their Mom and a loving family lost their daughter, their sister, their wife. Everyone is talking about it and everyone hurts for their family. We are not different.
Armed with coffee, the required gallon of orange juice and a roll of quarters I opened the front door and they were dancing. Music blaring, fully dressed and dancing. My sweet husband had cranked up the tunes as an incentive for the Princess to get out of bed. It worked. They were healthy and laughing and dancing in the family room before mass. My heart was so full.
We got to church in plenty of time and set up the donut room per the instructions. The other family that was scheduled with us is a single Mom who we know casually. She wasn't planning to stay for mass because she said they'd already been and right away I didn't believe her. My imperfect heart immediately judged her for not sitting through mass before her donut duty. Outside of the fact that it's none of my business what this woman chooses to do with her time. I was judging her in the house of the Lord.
The tears threatened me more than once in the mass. I knelt when we arrived and prayed for my own family and for the Gerhard and Weisberg families. The memorial service had been in the church on Saturday and I thought about how different their Sunday morning must have felt. With one arm tucked under E's elbow and the other one around my son and holding my daughter's hand my heart was undeservingly full. We were unexpectedly asked to present the gifts to Father and I was so humbled proud of the excitement in my son's face. My full heart got even fuller. We presented the gifts and left the sanctuary right after communion for our donut duty.
The other Mom and her daughter arrived not from mass and the judgement swirled in me even as I told myself that it should not be there. I don't really know her and I have no reason to be questioning anything about her. The kids had a great time serving donuts to their classmates and the other parishioners and the time passed quickly. We started to clean and I watched her load donuts onto a coffee filter to take with her.
"What is she doing? How tacky to take donuts that we're selling for the church."
"I will be the better person and make sure that I leave money for the donuts that she is taking. I will be better than her. I would not do that."
There is leftover orange juice that we both purchased for our duty and I tell her that we don't want it and offer it to her if she and her daughter will drink it.
"I can't take it. I am living in my car right now."
The tears threaten me again but for entirely different reasons. I am absolutely speechless and humiliated by myself and my dark heart. I desperately want to go the next service also and stay on my knees the entire time in repentance for my cruelty. And I remember the post from last week that struck me so deeply. KC wrote "Criticism is not a gift". Clearly I should have held it a little closer to my heart throughout the week. I have been mourning for someone I didn't know and was silently condemning someone I DO know for no known reason.
The Lord is always teaching me that I am my own worst enemy. The devil delights in me because I am so weak to his power. The lesson was learned and I need to translate my pride and bounty into true gratitude and humility. I am, as always, a work in progress.
“Agree with each other. Don’t be proud.
Be willing to be a friend of people who aren’t considered important.
Don’t think that you are better than others.”