I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to shower.
Not the kind that comes with rubber duckies and soapsuds, but the kind that comes with the sharing and spreading of gifts, talents, support and love.
Last weekend in Washington, D.C., amid pastel-colored balloons and group-centric games, some of us hosted a shower for a good friend about to have her first baby. Six weeks out, I would wager both she and her husband are equal parts elated and terrified.
In preparation, and in customary fashion, the couple received all the baby-care basics: rattles, teething rings, boxes of diapers, soft “onesies” — all the practical items they’ll need once “Baby Girl” makes her world premiere.
But we did more than shower them with gifts. We took photos and laughed. We talked about baby names and baptism dates. We offered to visit in June and help with swaddling and rocking. A good number of us had traveled there from out of town not only to shower our friends, but to drench them in support, to deluge them with love.
The next day, before heading back to the airport, I visited more close friends — this family far removed from the brave new world of first children. From their six tots — ranging in ages from 10 to 2 (and one on the way) — I received my own unexpected shower: one filled with story time and kisses, school updates and Little League anecdotes. They peppered me with questions about my new home and new life, and they fed me homemade brunch. They drenched me in support. They deluged me with love. I was thoroughly showered.
Life is full of showering opportunities. And anytime we shower — or are showered — with love, it’s like God sends us our own personal sprinkling of grace.
In this week’s In Focus (Pages 11-14), Russell Shaw writes that laypeople essentially are called to shower their gifts within the Church and the world. As such, they become ambassadors for the Faith in their everyday apostolates.
We can shower those in Boston — and other sites of recent tragedy like Texas, Bangladesh and China — with continued prayers and the courtesy of not forgetting those lost or wounded in the changing tide of the 24-hour news cycle.
And, this time of year in particular, we can shower those who throughout their lives have showered us every day: our mothers. We can use Mother’s Day (Pages 17 and 18) as an opportunity to reverse the flow: to let them know that without them — the ones who carried us, who held us, who showered us with kisses — we wouldn’t be who we are today. This type of showering might mean digging deep for extra patience, offering a listening ear or asking thoughtful questions. We can drench our mothers in support. We can deluge them with love.
Opportunities abound to shower talents, prayers or love. Let’s get to it. Thoughts: firstname.lastname@example.org.