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  • Writer's pictureSusan Amann

Am I an Orphan?

It is that season again.  We prepare.  We wait.  We anticipate.  On this first Sunday of Advent 2023, Jesus tells us, 

“Be watchful! Be alert!

You do not know when the time will come.

For me, this is not going to be an Advent like any other I can remember.  I lost my mother in early Fall.  She had been sick for many years.  I remember how many times in the months before died that she told me she was ready to go back to God.  She missed my dad.  (He has been gone since 2019.)  When that last day came for Mom, it was a great grace;  she was ready… but my siblings and I were stunned anyway.

“Be watchful! Be alert!

You do not know when the time will come.

Since my last 4 years have been focused on helping Mom cope with her medical needs, her activities of daily living, and her grief, I don’t think I grieved the loss of my dad completely.  I miss him these days as much as I do my mom.  More than I have in the last 4 years.

My sister said something that I thought was overstated, at the time, “We are orphans now.”  Am I an orphan?

Isaiah reminds and consoles me:

You, LORD, are our father,

our redeemer you are named forever.

No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you

doing such deeds for those who wait for him.

and Saint Paul sooths my heart:

God is faithful,

and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son,

Jesus Christ our Lord.

I like that:  God is faithful.  The image of family relationship in these passages reminds me that I still am a beloved daughter.  That beloved-ness has been hard for me to grasp at times.  It was the birth and growth of my own family, having children of my own, that focused for me the image of being a beloved daughter.  

“Be watchful! Be alert!

You do not know when the time will come.”

It is not only death that comes at a time we cannot know.  Birth also has that same mystery of time.  After having 5 children, none of whom were born on the day they were “due”, I have learned that members come into the circle of family in sudden and unexpected ways.  My children have brought significant others into the circle of our family, often in unexpected ways.  

Today I am consoled through my relationship with the Family of Love that is The Trinity.  I am a member of that Family of Love, as a daughter, as sister, a friend.  I give thanks that I have a circle of siblings, in-laws, nieces, nephews and friends to whom I belong.  Belonging is the opposite of ophan-hood.  No, I am not an orphan.  I am a child of God.  

As we wait for the new-born Son of God this Advent, let’s remember that we are members of the Family of Love, the beloved children of God. 

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