I have a new hot-take: Jesus is a perfect definition of bittersweetness. This might leave some to continue scrolling down the page, but hang on. For me, I need to connect to my faith in a tangible and simple way. When you think of something like the Paschal Mystery, it’s a little daunting. To explain some more, let’s break down this little claim of mine and engage with the Paschal Mystery a bit. We know that Jesus’ Passion, death on the Cross, rising from the dead, and new life are all aspects of the core of what we believe as Catholics. The bittersweet aspect is that it was both sad and amazing at the same time. Recently, we saw how Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection, followed by his Ascension, made his disciples miss him. But, the Holy Spirit empowered them to do great things! At points of transition in our lives, even as natural as the change of seasons, we may find ourselves with feelings of similar bittersweetness.
As my life gets pretty chaotic this summer, I’m finding myself constantly split between being sad and happy or experiencing the closing and opening of chapters. I’ll be saying a fond farewell to an aspect of my career that feels like the sun setting, but there is hope of new and exciting horizons that lie ahead. As a parent, I’m grieving the baby phase that my two-and-a-half-year-old is through and gaze at his baby chub that was so squishy, when he couldn’t run fast. On the other hand, I’m loving the chatting and curiosity that his toddler age has brought to our lives and I can’t stop laughing and smiling with him lately! Also in my personal life, my husband and I are coming up on our 5th wedding anniversary this fall, and I cannot help but wonder how fast the time has flown by while loving how much we’ve grown and supported each other over these years. In all of these areas, the word I keep thinking is not bittersweet—that sounds like a tasty chocolate. It’s bittersweetness. The word for my summer is bittersweetness. I think I like the sound of it better than the type of chocolate because of the “sweetness” part. I like the sweetness in things, the joy and the happiness. I tend to skip right through the sad or longing because if I dwell on these too long, I’ll get that tightening in my throat and catch a tear in my eye. I don’t like goodbyes and I don’t like endings. I always think of the glass half-full. For example, I tell my students, “Jesus died, but three days later he rose from the dead and saved us all.” The bittersweetness of life for me always looks optimistic and emphasizes the sweetness, not the bitterness. But life is full of both, so I’m trying to push through and feel all the feels this time.
In this literal new season of summer and this transition of seasons in my life, I need this reminder to not skip the goodbyes and try to go straight to the good part. I think this summer will be hard for me in this season, so turning to prayer and God’s grace will ease that burden a bit. I’ve always found comfort in prayer, whether it is an intentional Mass or journaling some thoughts. I’m hoping to re-acclimate my heart for those things too. For at-my-fingertips-access though, I am also going to attempt to make the Revive and Rekindle App through the Catholic Apostolate Center a daily habit. I’ll first begin with the daily reflections and see what my heart needs next. I need to reflect and think about Christ, and I really enjoy doing so through the lens of Pallottine spirituality. I find comfort in the words of St. Vincet Pallotti: “Seek God and you will find God. Seek God in all things and you will find God in all things. Seek God always and you will find God always.” He reminds us to simply look for the Lord. I’m hoping this “seeking,” will bring some comfort for me and for you! Through Christ, this bittersweetness may open my eyes to new things or help me feel at peace with both emotions, embracing the bittersweetness together! Prayer will get me through. Lord, give me strength and understanding. Amen.
7/6/2022 07:28:20 pm
This is so true for me also. At age 70 I no longer am a person able to give input in the Church. I was for 39 years of employment in the Church and ministry. Yet I am so happy when young child is so excited to receive their children's bulletin each Sunday that I provide. A military parent will just share with me about how hard it is to have their spouse is gone and they are dealing with everything on their own.
Krissy: Sweet and sour is what makes a hot chocolate drink great. Neither sour nor sweet separately can accomplish what they cause together. Life is like that, only when we understand the reason for the suffering that God sends us, which we later manage to overcome with much effort and dedication, when we put these two flavors together, we find a meaning for our mission here.
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