I would like to recount a personal story that really touched me deeply. A parishioner at St. Joseph Church in Chauvin asked me to visit her daughter, Stephanie, in the hospital who had a baby and was being treated for complications after the birth. When I arrived, the grandmother, mother, and baby were all in the same room. The mother was holding the 10-day-old baby named Karlie.
The baby seemed to be listening to my voice and looking for me. Shortly into the visit, a nurse came to attend to the mother. I asked could I hold the baby. I am good with little children because I started baby sitting when I was 10-years-old. I am the oldest of 10 children, and I have many nieces, nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews.
I have held many babies before this but little Karlie Marie did something to me that I still don’t understand totally.
She “stole my heart.” She responded to me in a way that no other infant ever had. She “melted my heart.”
I keep asking myself, “What’s going on! How can this little bundle of joy have so much power over me?”
I have reflected on this and I have come up with two conclusions. The first explanation is from Stephanie. She is a regular church goer. She believes that little Karlie heard my loud voice from the pew when she was in her mother’s womb and was trying to put a face with a voice. I agree with her.
The second explanation relates to where I am in my life’s journey. Basically, I am in transition. I am no longer seeing patients for Journey Hospice, (though I am still associated with them) but I will not be the pastor of St. Joseph until July 1. So I am “in-between” jobs.
Changes and transitions are different. Change involves the situation we find ourselves – leaving home for college, getting married, changing jobs, dealing with a serious illness, etc. Transitions are more psychological. They involve our reactions to what is happening – how we choose to think about the changes that affect our feelings and behaviors.
Someone once described transitions as similar to the space between the walls of a house. That space separates two different rooms. A person is leaving one and going to another but not yet there. An openness takes place in transitions. There are also questions. Can I handle this new situation? What is it going to be like?
Transitions can be a time of growth. We have to let go of our former ways of life and be open to new possibilities. We have to make sure we say “goodbye” to the past. For example, a person getting married has to give up some of their activities from when they were single. If they don’t, the marriage is not going to work.
It’s also a time to look at the areas of our lives where we would like to make some changes. Perhaps we’ve been neglectful of some important areas like exercise, healthy eating habits, using our mental capacities, etc. Transitions are an opportunity to begin practicing new habits and ways of interacting with others.
Our openness during this waiting time of transition can open us up to life, to God, to deeper values, to other people. We need to look at our giftedness and ask how can we bring our talents and abilities into our new role.
I believe little Karlie caught me in this transitional period of my life when I was not “in control” but open to various aspects of life. She “caught” me in a very vulnerable stage of life. I look upon this as a blessing. I thank God for sending little Karlie into my life.
Posted on Wed, July 2, 2014
by Rev. Wilmer L. Todd