Three years ago on March 2, 2010 we were experiencing blizzard-like conditions here in Georgia. I remember vividly driving into Atlanta, after dropping off our kids to various friends’ homes early that morning, fighting the snow and wind that was battering our van. There were icicles hanging on the side mirrors and traffic was almost at a standstill. The raging weather outside couldn’t match the pain that was raging inside my heart. You see, we were headed into Atlanta to begin the process that would allow me to deliver our son Joseph whose heart had stopped beating the week before.
I found it strange that we would have such a storm in March and yet, in a way, I found it rather comforting as well. I would always remember our journey that day by the snow. It wasn’t “just another day”, it was something very different. I would come to think of Joseph as my snow angel.
When Joseph was born later that day, it was clear to see that he had many things wrong with him. I could understand how is heart was not strong enough to see him through the whole pregnancy. And while we had done some testing during my pregnancy that indicated some of the problems that seemed so evident after he was born, we decided not to have genetic testing done on him because to us it didn’t matter what was “wrong” with him… he was perfect in our eyes.
During Lent I often think of our struggles and the crosses that we have been chosen to carry. I suppose because his birth came during the Lenten season it’s only natural to tie the two together. Lent seems to make all our losses that much more painful, especially when we contemplate the Way of the Cross and the 13th Station of the Cross in particular. The 13th station, where Christ is taken down from His cross and placed in His mother’s arms, is almost too much to bear. Still, we are called to walk that walk with Christ and so we take up our cross and we walk alongside of Him.
Over the past few years I have come to realize that Lent isn’t only about the carrying of the cross or the spiritual desert that sometimes comes along with the journey. It is also about the hope that is promised at the end of the journey. If we make the most of our trials and tribulations during Lent then we experience a metamorphosis… a change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means. By embracing the cross we are transformed into something so different than we were before. At the end of Lent we are no longer the person we started out to be; we are made new. If we think of Christ on the cross- broken, bleeding, dying – and afterward His own disciples not recognizing Him after His resurrection because of the marked change, well, it just makes sense. After our “40 days in the desert” how can we be the same people we were before?
I am comforted and humbled by the thought that Christ died to open the gates of heaven for all of us. We are assured that in heaven we will become whole and perfect again, our sins erased, our illnesses healed, our hearts mended. We will not be the same people we are now. My little Joseph, so frail and so sick, with problems so severe he couldn’t live, has his body healed completely. Knowing that this gift is available for all of us gives me great comfort, joy, and hope.
While we normally find ourselves in a dark place during Lent, contemplating our sins, our wrongdoings, and our failures we hope to be changed during our walk with Christ. We know that there is a light waiting for us at the end of our journey. We will see that light on Easter Sunday as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord but that celebration here cannot compare to the joy we will experience in heaven. Our complete healing is waiting for us. Our crosses are heavy now but the reward is great for trusting in God and following Him always. The scars left by the cross will be healed and we will be whole once again. Christ will quench the thirst that we have experienced in this spiritual desert. We have hope to experience a great metamorphosis… one that will make us perfect in the eyes of the Lord.
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About Michelle Fritz
Michelle Fritz is a daughter of God, a cradle Catholic, a Georgia peach, a devoted wife of almost 30 years to amazing husband Mike, and an eclectic homeschooling mother to eleven living children. She has experienced the loss of 16 babies in her call to be open to life, but knows that God is always loving and always gracious. She and her husband know that they have an army of Saints already in heaven! In addition to her vocation as wife, mom, and homeschool teacher she also holds a Masters in Theology and has recently taken on the role of Youth Minister for both the middle school and high school groups at her parish.