For the past few days, I have struggled to come up with the words: how would I explain the Holy Spirit to young students who would attend the Sunday, May 24th Children's Chapel at my church? So easy to picture God, and Jesus, but that concept of being filled with the Spirit has always been difficult for me to put into words. I began to ponder, who are those people in my life who I consider to be filled with the Spirit? What qualities do they embody? On the top of my list is my mom.
Her name was Luella Dugas Chambers. She was truly my best friend in adulthood, and my hero in life. She lived 19 very full and appreciated years after her initial diagnosis of breast cancer, which re-emerged in her bones and finally in her lungs. What qualities did she exemplify in her final days?
After the doctors told her there was nothing more they could do for her, but to keep her comfortable, she smiled and responded, "I just want to thank you for all you've done for me. It's been so wonderful to have this extra time with my family." The only dry eyes in the room were hers. I couldn't wrap my brain around that.
There was an understanding, a peace, a tranquility, a joy, an acceptance of the moment, that she possessed and that was PREVALENT in her last days. I fought the prognosis, but she was comforted by the littlest things, and did her best to comfort US. Her smile was bright, her faith was strong. She had final words of wisdom for me. And she gave me the greatest gift of all, unbeknownst to her.
She was a devout Catholic and at that time, I too was a practicing Catholic. A couple of days before she died, the Eucharistic minister came by to offer her communion, but she could not swallow anymore, and had to refuse. The minister asked her to kiss the host, and then placed the host on my tongue as I 'received' for my mom. In all my then 38 years, I had NEVER experienced ANYTHING like receiving the Eucharist for this incredible woman.
Something changed inside me! I felt like I was shaking all over. I felt like if I didn't sit down, that I would faint. At that moment, I learned something incredible about what the Eucharist meant to my mom...and how the Holy Spirit moved inside of her each time she received...and that one time, it moved through me as well. I'll never forget that moment, and though I've prayed to have that experience on my own, it has evaded me.
What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? I knew how to explain it all the time. Ironically enough, my mom died 19 years ago today, on May 25, 1996, almost 19 years to the day after I struggled to find the words to teach Children's Chapel yesterday. All I had to do, in the end, was reflect on my mom, because she truly reflected the Holy Spirit every single day.
One more time, Mom, thank you for your inspiration. I love that I can still turn to you. Keep the lessons coming...
Until next blog post,
peace and love to you