Friday, September 20, 2013


BD (before diabetes) we were a typical family living in a typical American suburb.  We were active volunteers in our local school, church and pretty much every sports club in town.  We were very, very busy but we always made time for church on Sunday mornings.  I was certain we were doing everything “right”.   And our world felt just right.

Then came diabetes.  And it seemed as if the whole world had changed.  Before the world seemed like a place full of love and now all I saw was sadness and pain.  Now to be clear, I realize I wasn’t the one with the broken pancreas, but I am a mom and my heart was broken.  (And I mean shattered into a million little pieces.)

In this new world, our focus was diabetes, diabetes, diabetes.  We had to learn how to best take care of our son.   It was time to circle the wagons and focus on our family.  There was no longer time for volunteer work.  And Sunday mornings became a time to steal some extra sleep. (As any T1 family knows, taking care of diabetes is exhausting.)  What was left of my broken heart just wasn’t moved to go to church.  And slowly, over time our family just stopped attending Sunday mass.

It is now 4 years AD (after diabetes).  And we have adjusted to our “new normal.”  (I always hated that phrase.)  Slowly, my broken heart is mending and I think it’s leading me back to church.  So this past Sunday, I dragged myself and the boys out of bed and went to Sunday mass.  It was time to give it another try.  

The gospel reading for the week (yes, I am Catholic) was the story of the Prodigal Son.  When the priest started reading I thought … Hey, this is story of a man who left his family and then returned begging for forgiveness, maybe this is a sign, and maybe God is speaking to me.  So I sat up straight and forced myself to listen.  But then the priest read the story of the young son who asked his father for his inheritance and then ran off and squandered it on partying and extravagant living.  Wait that’s not me!  I haven’t spent the last 4 years partying.  My life has been quite the opposite. That sounds like fun but that’s not me.  And sadly I thought … this is not a sign.

But then, that’s not the end of the story.  After the son begs for forgiveness the father decides to throw a party.  Then enters the bitter older brother who complains he has worked hard and remained loyal and done everything “right.”  He then asks his father, “What about me?”  Ahhh, now this is sounding a little more like me.  I thought I was doing everything “right” too.  And maybe my broken heart was a little bitter too.  And maybe I too want to ask, “What the heck is going on here?”  Alright … now I am paying attention again.  How does this story end?  What does the bitter brother decide to do?

But wait … that is the end!?  We never learn if the bitter brother goes to the party?  I suppose the real question is what am I going to do?  Am I going to join the party?  I did, at least, open the door and came in ...

The truth is we are no longer the typical family.  Our world has changed (some it for the better).  And in our new world … which is filled with countless sleepless nights filled with too many highs and lows … sometimes sleeping in on a Sunday morning might be the “right” thing to do.  Living with diabetes has taught us a lot.  And one thing we have learned is … you have to take each day one at a time.  So for now, I will take each Sunday one at time.   And I suppose I will just follow my heart. 


  1. Wow...I have thought about that reading a million times, but not in that way. I keep revisiting how the priest talked about the pivotal moment of the entire story not being about the older brother, or the father, but instead, about the moment of conversion within the heart of the wayward son.

    It is all about that moment...the moment, not that you realize you are out of money and need to come home for a good meal, but the moment you realize that you were totally undeserving and push through, despite your shame and humiliation to ask for forgiveness and acceptance. It is really about pride, and how pride holds us back, and how surrendering your pride and coming back to those whom you have wronged is such an act of humility.

    Anyhow, that is how I heard it last week! Any thoughts!

    1. I totally agree with you! ... I definitely pulled out one short segment of the story ... the older brother seemed like a real reflection of the confusion in my heart ... my response to the story had less to do with the actual message (about forgiveness) ... and more about my surprise with which brother I related to.

      Thanks for your thoughtful response!