Last Sunday, our entire immediate family — 15 of us — flew or drove to Quincy, Massachusetts to surprise Erica, Sam's oldest sister. She entered religious life with the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth in July of 2016 and is currently in formation. She was gifted a five-hour long "family day" and was incredibly excited to know that we were coming with Sam's parents. She never dreamed that all 15 of us would be waiting for her. We rented a house and hugged and laughed and cried and ate pastries and soaked up every blessed minute of those five hours. Everyone had a verbal present for Erica — be it song, poem, letter, rap, or in our case, a blog post. Below is what we read aloud to her. Mark took all of these photos. It's a gift in itself to be able to relive the radiating joy which, if you ask us, was probably making the house physically shine. To everyone who loves Erica, we hope you feel like you were there with us, with her. In spirit, you were. —m+s
Currently, 15 of us are under the same roof, either asleep or awake, but no matter the case, there lives a deep and familiar sense of anticipation. Earlier today, all of us were en route to Boston for a two day Rendezvous Of The Highest Order. By way of plane, train, and automobile, our caravan has arrived. Because, as perfect timing would have it, our sister— the one who lives in a convent and is becoming a religious sister — has been given five hours to be with her family, us. And as perfect timing would have it, this week we all found ourselves journeying from Colorado, Ohio, and Vermont to make this given gift a reality. Can't say how we all managed to pull this one off, only that we have and that a reunion of this sort has us intoxicated with gladness.
When we tell people we have five hours to be with Erica, they tend to be shocked by what sounds like a lack of time. Understandable, sure, as five hours isn't much time. But, ah! It is! Let us shout it from the rooftop, It is enough, It is enough, It is enough! Last summer, when having a nun for a sister felt impossibly hard for Sam to adjust to, Erica wrote that maybe it would be a cathartic and healing process to put into words, here on our blog, what she, Erica, might be thinking and experiencing. It was inconceivable that either of us ever be able to do this. How could we imagine, much less put into words, what Erica— spiritual gangster, brilliant beyond reason, and hilariously lovable Erica—would be thinking? Impossible. Impossible until this evening.
Of all the nuggets of wisdom, of all the emotions felt, of all the letters exchanged, I feel assured that the thing that Erica would want us all to experience is, really, quite simple.
To want what we are given.
That's it. That's it and it's everything.
She would want us to let this truth that says that happiness is Here + Now ring out like a joyous symphony in our hearts. She would want us to know that the Lord she has devoted her life too is Generous + Unceasing in love. She would want us to embrace the reality that what we are given in life, by God, is All Gift, as she puts it. She would want us to feel freed of the bondage of wanting for more, just as she is free in the convent despite a life that, from the outside, must seem terribly Un-Free. She is free and so are we.
And this is how five hours can be just enough.
A morning update: Very shortly we're heading to get our Eri. It's an enormous surprise. The 15 of us are in various states of readiness — especially the 15th, a tiny baby girl, no bigger than a mango, who is hard at work growing inside her mama's womb (blog note: that's my future sister-in-law, not me). Today is everything. When you want what you are given, 5 hours is Totally + Completely enough.