“Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change; there is no sin which he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him.”
Back to school has been rough in the Cellucci household. As the temperature drops and the daylight dwindles, we still have not gotten into our normal back-to-school rhythm. There are some new variables — a high schooler with social plans so complicated that the Pentagon needs to be involved. Katie’s field hockey practices and games that require multiple apps to manage. Peter’s return to school post-cancer requires a little more daily preparation and management than the usual third grader. But it is five-year-old Norah who just can’t deal. Between the full day, the uniform, the lunch packing, and rule following, by the time dinner comes around, all holy hell breaks loose from the tiniest of sources.
After both working our full-time jobs and our new part-time jobs as Uber drivers, my wife and I have little bandwidth to withstand the daily apocalyptic episode taking place over dinner. After a few consecutive nights of trying and failing to preempt and parent through it, I momentarily lost my mind and declared loudly, “I give up! I have no idea what to do for you.” Norah’s big brown eyes grew wider, and I could tell that an even larger asteroid was headed for earth. “Daddy, don’t give up,” she whimpered, “I just need you to hug into me.”
As I gave the most earnest and guiltiest hug I’ve ever given, I couldn’t help but think about some of the other relationships or dynamics I gave up on because I felt like I was out of patience and out of options. How many of those situations might have turned out differently if instead of stepping away, I would’ve “hugged into” it more?
Life is messy. As humans, we are just bound to hurt each other at some point. While it might not be possible to commit never to hurt someone, perhaps the greater commitment is to stay in the process of healing, to promise to hug into it as much as possible. The Lord never tires of moving toward us in our brokenness. He never gives up on our redemption. How do we grow in not giving up on each other?
Have no doubt, there were still tears over dinner this week, but I think Norah knew I was still in it with her. Prayers for whoever or whatever you need to hug into this week.
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