Easter Letter 2014-2

Easter Letter 2014-2

Dear Friends and Family,

“Are we going to have a prayer?”

Over the past eight months at Simple House, I have noticed how much people look forward to prayer.  If I forget to say a prayer, I am reminded, “We need a prayer before you go!”  Why is prayer so desirable to the poor? Jesus tells us, “If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it”  (Jn. 14:14).

My friend Wendy suffers from anxiety.  One of her biggest worries is her eighteen-year-old son.  Over the years, he has been addicted to drugs, robbed, and arrested.  Every time he leaves the house, Wendy worries about where he is going and if he will go to school that day.  When Wendy is stressed, she gets angry.  Sometimes she gets angry with us.  If we don’t call her back right away or have a miscommunication, she’ll leave us angry messages and cuss at us.  A few days later, she’ll apologize, and we forgive her.

Last month, her son was arrested.  My roommate and I took Wendy to the courthouse for his trial.  We arrived early, only to be informed that the trial was moved to the afternoon.  We waited, and returned to the courtroom at the proper time.  After sitting for two hours, we were told that we were in the wrong courtroom.  We found the correct courtroom and learned that her son had been seen early that morning and was being released from jail at the end of the day.  Wendy was ecstatic!  She hugged us and said through teary eyes, “You see!  I knew it would work out!  That’s why I bring you with me.  We pray and you bring God with us!”  Unlike Wendy, I felt like we hadn’t accomplished much.  We sat all day in court and still missed the trial.  To Wendy, it was not a waste.  Her son was being released from jail and this was proof of God’s mercy and love for her.

It’s easy to believe we are not worthy of God’s love, but God loves us with all our imperfections.  Wendy recognizes this.  In her stress, she sees her need for God.  When she is upset, she sometimes asks us to take her to church or to come pray with her.  She wants the peace that only God can give.  When we visit, she always wants a prayer.  Wendy’s faith and desire for God are beautiful to me.  In Pope Francis’ exhortation, he writes, “The great majority of the poor have a special openness to the faith; they need God and we must not fail to offer them his friendship, his blessing, his word, the celebration of the sacraments, and a journey of growth and maturity in the faith.”  He isn’t speaking only about the poor who are agreeable and happy.  He wants us to reach out to bad-tempered people too.  It would be easy to write Wendy off because she can be so difficult, but living the Christian life isn’t easy. If we don’t take the time to share God’s love with Wendy, who will?  She shouldn’t be overlooked.  Jesus died out of love for all of us.  He came to give hope to sinners.  Through our visits and prayers with Wendy, I believe she experiences this hope.

I love Wendy.  Even though she gets overwhelmed by her stress and is sometimes angry with us, I know she loves us.  I think she sees the joy of Christ in our hearts and wants to have the same joy.  When I first met Wendy, I thought she seemed severe and hard to please.  I was more serious around her because I couldn’t tell if I was bothering her.  Once I decided to be myself, laugh, and share stories with her, our relationship changed.  She teases me for laughing all the time, but she enjoys laughing with me.  She says that even a trip to the DMV is fun if she is with us.  I think Wendy can see my love of God and the joy His love gives me.  She sees that she is loved too, no matter how many times she fails.

May the joy of the risen Christ fill your hearts!