Blankets are an essential part of our family life. We spread them out on the floor for tea parties, arranging snacks into the middle and circling the edges with our hungry selves. We use half a dozen of them for rainy day (or 20 below zero day) forts, each child clamoring for their own space within the quilted walls. Almost daily, we curl up underneath a cloth for book reading. Although none of my children has a “blankie” and any one will do for the task at hand, there exists some unwritten rule that requires every child to be, if not actually embraced by The Blanket, touching it somewhere. A recent read-aloud morning found us thus: Mom and two toddlers in a chair and under The Blanket, a blue and cream fleece; three older children sitting at our feet on top of the fluff that flowed onto the floor (This rendered those of us in the chair captive, since any shifting pulled down The Blanket, which according to some other unwritten rule, is to be avoided at all costs.). The cool teenager, not to be lumped with the younger children, was nonchalantly leaning against the side of the chair, his arm resting on The Blanket. So we remained pleasantly entangled as I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
It is comforting to reflect upon The Blanket as a picture of the Church. We connect with Her in varying ways throughout the years, as seasons of life turn, as our circumstances alter, and as emotions ebb and flow. Often we need to be completely hidden within the Church for illuminated peace, healing quiet, and heartbreaking tears. Perhaps we are content to be casually wrapped and happily chatting with enfolded others. Maybe we are purposefully reaching outward, retaining the all-important connection to a corner.
I have occasionally considered atheism because sometimes, suffering children is just too much and I entertain wonderings. Sometimes I don’t want heaven; I want healing. Now. I don’t want “to complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body” (Colossians 1:24). I cannot rejoice. What pulls my faith back is facts ~ cold, hard facts of history and theology that are blessedly as true and consoling as a family blanket. The Church is indeed our:
Mother (Galatians 4:26),
Bride (John 3:29),
Teacher (John 16:13),
Guide (Acts 15:28-9),
Truth (I Timothy 3:15),
Family (1 Peter 2:9-10).
We can pull The Blanket around us and be comforted with the peace of Jesus (John 14:26-7), handed to us by His Church in the sacraments, especially the source and summit found in the Eucharist. May we live always touching The Blanket, our Holy Mother Church.
Allison is a 40-something mother of seven, living in Alaska, accepted into the Church (together with her husband, thank God) in 2004. She spends her days homeschooling and packaging meat that her menfolk hunt and bring home. She cannot garden to save her life but picks wild blueberries like a champ. She has been published in an edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul and keeps a blog at www.northerncffamily.blogspot.com, writing about living out the Faith with children with cystic fibrosis.