Persons, places and things: Easter season blessings

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By Barb Arland-Fye
Editor

Arland-Fye

Two separate walks left me feeling doubly blessed on Holy Saturday during our family’s visit to the Twin Cities to celebrate Easter with my parents which, all together, created a trifecta of blessings!

My son Patrick decided to join me on my morning walk, hopefully in a nature preserve not far from my parents’ home. However, the preserve was closed probably because of heavy snow earlier in the week that had mostly melted but could be treacherous on trails. Instead, we opted for my second-favorite route leading to a pedestrian walkway on an interstate bridge overlooking the Minnesota River and its backwaters.

The wind buffeted us as we walked nearly an hour just to get to the bridge but I promised Patrick it would be worth the effort to view the mighty Minnesota River. He smiled, knowing how much I appreciated his company. Our walks are a bonding experience in which each of us has an opportunity to talk about what’s on our minds, without reservations. He views our walks as a bonding experience while “railfanning” (a train buff’s hobby) is the way he bonds with his dad, my husband Steve.

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When we arrived at the midsection of the bridge, we stopped to take a selfie, which I posted later on Facebook. We walked back to our hotel feeling blessed for our walk together.

My older son Colin had declined to join us because he was still feeling a bit sleepy. Later that morning, I convinced him to join me on a shorter walk to get some exercise and fresh air. During our walk, I asked Colin about his favorite memories. “I don’t remember,” he said. “You have to remember something,” I insisted. “What year?” asked Colin, whose autistic mind works in amazing and quirky ways. I chose the year he would have been in kindergarten, which triggered a plethora of memories for him.

The year Patrick was born, when Colin was in second grade, was especially memorable for him. Colin remembered walking with me on a recreation trail in the Quad Cities when I was pregnant with Patrick and began to experience labor pains. Colin had never before shared his impression of this time. His details provided a fascinating window into the mind of a person with autism! 

“I was waiting to have a baby named Patrick,” Colin recalled. “You were having a breakdown and you were kind of nervous,” he told me. “You called Dad and said you were having a breakdown. Then you took me to Wendy’s for a hamburger.” The burger bribe was my attempt to get Colin off the trail and into the car with me as quickly as possible!

Colin rattled off more memories, year after year until present day, including the fact that Lent was over and would not return for another year. He anticipated attending the Easter Vigil Mass with Grandpa Ray and Grandma Mary after a delicious ham dinner at their house.

Our family’s time with my parents — both at dinner and at Mass — was another memory maker, a time for bonding and feeling gratitude to be in one another’s company.

The hope at the center of the Easter message plays out in wondrous ways, one of which is the building up of family relationships in the domestic Church. As Pope Francis says in his apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”): “The experience of love in families is a perennial source of strength for the life of the Church.”

(Contact Editor Barb Arland-Fye at arland-fye@davenportdiocese.org)


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