Friday, February 13, 2015

Paradigm Shifts - Moments of Change

(First published at The Courier, my column for February...)
We are creatures of habit. We get into a familiar rhythm of life and take on a certain view of the way things are. Yet, a paradigm shift can change everything. It happens when you are going about your day and you see something or someone and it awakens you to a new reality, a clearer vision. It’s almost startling. Other things that were important suddenly fall out of your focus and you see a deeper meaning to life.

Our little family had a paradigm shift recently.
We discovered our youngest son (one of our children with the rare disease) was not hearing well. He could hear sounds that were really loud, but to most other sounds he was deaf. (We are encouraged that with the proper ENT care and medication increase his hearing can be restored, and we’ve already seen progress!) Yet, at that moment, our little angel couldn’t hear.
I looked at his little smiling 19 month old face and I saw everything differently. He had this one noisy singing ABCs toy that he liked to play with and hold up to his head. It used to annoy the heck out of me, but I don’t mind it anymore. I used to worry about getting so many things done during my free hours, but all I wanted to do now is spend as much of my free time with him as I can. I’d sacrifice anything to help him continue to grow in his ability to communicate despite the lack of hearing well. I don’t care what I have to endure as long as I can help him feel loved.
A paradigm shift seems to make everything slow down and the precious humanity of someone comes into focus for you. It’s then that you remember that our ultimate goal in life is to put Christ at the center, and where can He be found but in the faces around us? When we find Christ in them, all our previous concerns fall to the side. Christ has a paradigm shift to offer us. He has a new lens through which we can see the world. It is a lens that shows us a deeper reality, a truer vision. Once we can see Christ in the other, even the burden of suffering takes on a different feel. And with assisted suicide and "mercy killing” in the news lately, it is easy to forget the Christian meaning of suffering. No one wants to force someone to suffer nor should we seek suffering ourselves, but when faced with suffering, there is a deeper meaning that can be gained. (This is why I am honored to be speaking at Owatonna’s Morning Retreat for Women on exactly this topic! The Diocese of Winona’s Lenten Retreat for Women also reflects on the Cross of Christ, with speaker: Sr. Edith Mary, RSM! See Events page for details.)

There is another change I must share with you before closing this article. I am no longer the Endow Coordinator for the diocese. As you can see from our insert of Vision 2016 as well as other pressing matters, we need all hands on deck in our Communication team. At this time, I can serve the Diocese of Winona better by serving on the communication team. What does this mean? Firstly, as far as setting up Endow group questions and orchestrating events, including this year's Lenten Retreat for women, you can now refer to Sr. Paul Mary, RSM, the Director of Faith Formation for the diocese. Secondly, as an author of a book all about the greatness of women (Woman, How Great Thou Art which can be found at your local Catholic book store or Amazon.com!), I am more than delighted to continue speaking at any events, retreats or gatherings for women in your parish! I am just no longer working on the organizational end of things from the diocesan perspective. As most of you know, my husband Peter Martin (Director of the Office of Life, Marriage & Family for the diocese) and I also have a wonderful time giving talks together on every aspect of life, marriage, family, love and human sexuality. Contact us anytime! I am eager to work more fully with the extraordinary communications team here at the Diocese of Winona, and look forward to deepening our friendships through this new venue as well. I cherish meeting each of you at these different events and I pray for you all daily! God bless you!

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