Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mama Bear and Suffering

It has been hard watching Ellie as the "middle child" recently. It's particularly difficult when she wants to play with Mary Clare and her friends but can't keep up, when she wants special homeschool books, when she wants to hold her brother like her sister does, or now watching her big sisters and all the little girls prepare for the ballet recital which she isn't able to participate in.

For some reason, probably my dance history among other reasons, I am very sensitive about how she reacts to the issues at dance class...the other kids getting their costumes, watching them rehearse today, etc. I've almost been in tears listening to her innocently cry out "Mommy, I four (years old)? I dance today, Mommy? Please I dance, Mommy?" I finally went and asked one of the staff today if there were any extra costumes and if she could participate. After all, my little 3 year-old is actually more proficient at the ballet steps many of the older girls! I was almost more disappointed to know that there was an extra costume but that the director had said she couldn't participate since she just started last month. I was tempted to go ask the director myself (which I had done before, asking if she could join the class) since she seems to be favorable to my family. But it was a busy evening of recital rehearsals where I couldn't catch the director, and my sweet friend C helped encourage me by reminding me of this quote a friend posted on our homeschool loop recently:

Pope Benedict (from a recent audience):
"Even suffering is part of the truth of our life. Thus, trying to shield the youngest from every difficulty and experience of suffering, we risk creating, despite our good intentions, fragile persons of little generosity: The capacity to love, in fact, corresponds to the capacity to suffer, and to suffer together."

Oh, how hard it is to be "Mama Bear" and watch your baby bears suffer! I hate it (and I don't use the word hate!). I hate when they're sick. I hate when they get left out. I hate when they have to suffer from disappointment or discouragement because something doesn't work out right.

But I also have to teach them that it's part of life to suffer. That Christ suffered and suffers with us. That Mary our Mother always loves us and walks with us as we carry our crosses. It will make them more generous, more sympathetic, and more loving. I hate that they have to know sorrow and sickness and death and sadness so early...but I would hate to deny them the ability to grow in charity, to have a greater capacity to love and be loved.


So here is Ellie's one chance dancing with her classmates last week when they first tried on the costumes and let her practice with them during class. (Ellie is 2nd in line behind the maroon-sweatered teacher and MC is the last one in the video. Yes, they have three teachers helping and the director in there!) My little butterflies!


candyspirit said...

All children will have dissapointments but it is how the Mother reacts to them is what makes all the difference in the world to them and changes their memories that could have been a sad memory to a memory that had a happy ending. One thing that brings to mind is my birhtday 5 days before our Lord's, Dec, 20th. Every year I would get presents from our relatives that had a card on them that said for your Birthday & Christmas. Everyone would ask if that bothered me and I said 'no it never had'. I do not remember that event as being sad. I remember every year my Mom made a special effort to have a special Christmas birthday party for me. Most years the party theme was a Candy Gingerbread house. Not having much candy or sweets in the house this was truly a special event! The gift of friendships and celebrations my Mom gave me is truly what I remember.
Love, Mom

Ms. K said...

Great quote from Pope Benedict, Blair! Here's another one from Spe Salvi that I recently found and it really connected with my experience.

"We can try to limit suffering, to fight against it, but we cannot eliminate it. It is when we attempt to avoid suffering by withdrawing from anything that might involve hurt, when we try to spare ourselves the effort and pain of pursuing truth, love, and goodness, that we drift into a life of emptiness, in which there may be almost no pain, but the dark sensation of meaninglessness and abandonment is all the greater. It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love."

Your little butterflies are precious! Enjoy them!


Blair said...

thanks, karie! what a beautiful quote!

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