Upon the making of my first communion, several (!) decades ago, I was the proud recipient of a variety of first communion(-ish?) gifts and Catholic kitsch: a child’s missal…a statue of Our Lady of Fatima…a rosary…this cool little plastic statue of Jesus giving first communion to a little girl which had a pull-out plastic drawer in it (assumedly, for aforesaid rosary).
We may ask what the Marian devotional items have to do with post-conciliar receipt of first communion, but we can save that question for another time.
Of all the gifts I received, though, my favorite was one given to me by my aunt—a first communion snow globe (!!!), with a little red-headed girl standing at the prayerful ready. When you shook her, a shower of glitter swirled around her. Super cool for this 8 year old!
My snow globe sat on my dresser for an entire childhood—and came with me as soon as I had a chest of drawers which exuded more stability than the pressed-wood monstrosities of my college dorm rooms. She still, in fact, sits on my dresser. Though, as you may have gathered, our tiny ceramic communicant is slightly less for wear. Or less for water, perhaps.
I didn’t know this could happen to snow globes. I’ve never dropped her, never damaged her, and haven’t ever really ceased to notice her presence, even as it seeped away, slowly, leaving her marooned in a sea of iridescent flakes of plastic. I don’t know…does this feel like an ominous sign to you?
But, even though I knew she was there, I’m not sure I’ve been doing a good job of really looking at her. Or, perhaps more precisely, that even if I saw the signs of slowly sinking spiritual surroundings (and I’ll admit I did notice that she’d started to list weirdly to one side), I did nothing to change it.
What do we do when we see what we’ve forgotten, what we’ve lost, or what we now regret suddenly stand out in sharp relief? What do we do when we realize we’ve lost something? When we suddenly see that our glass is half empty?
We’re about to hit the half-way point of our Lenten season. How full is your glass? Have you noticed your own commitments to prayer, fasting and almsgiving, personal care or social justice slipping by the wayside? Have you started to forget?
The mercy of the Christian life, however, is that the living God continually calls us to conversion. Every day. Every moment. Every Lenten season. We can be literally standing half-kilter in a pool of annoyingly sticky glitter, watching our spiritual life leak down to the dregs…and for the sake of the one, Christ will still fill our spirits with living water. For whoever drinks of the water he shall give will never thirst.
We have only to notice—to hear—to look—to taste and see that the Lord is good. And be thankful.
Whether our glass if half empty or half full.