Gentle guide to lead us (by Kylie Popa)

Last Sunday, we celebrated the Church’s birthday with Pentecost. This weekend, we continue that celebration with the Most Holy Trinity. In the weeks leading up to Pentecost, we kept hearing in the scriptures about this “Advocate” that would be coming. We were promised a very special Spirit that would remain with us to be a gentle guide, a trusted comfort, and a source of strength.

Last January, my family said goodbye to my dear grandmother, Jacqueline Markus. She was a spirited firecracker who lived a truly marvelous 86 years. After being widowed in her thirties, just months after moving to Arizona with two small children, one with special needs, my grandma quickly developed a level of independence and strength that I can only assume came from the Lord. “Gramz” was our fierce matriarch who wasn’t afraid to share her beautiful singing voice or her opinion, was an expert in the kitchen, was always up for an adventure, and was a tireless advocate for the ones she loved.

Just two months after my grandma joined the heavenly banquet, our family welcomed its first grandchild into the world. My brother and his wife gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy, Eli Thomas. Not only did this little bundle of joy bring some much needed peace and happiness during the pandemic, but as the months have passed, we have started to notice something very special. Little Eli’s personality is starting to take shape and sometimes the little sassy side-eye he gives or the sweet smiles he shares or even the way his fine blonde hair feels when I run my hands through it all remind me fondly of my grandma. It is as though her spirit is continuing to live on through this spunky and adorable new generation of our family.

My grandma’s hospice caretakers purchased a beautiful wind chime that they presented to my mom and dad after my grandma’s passing, which my mom proceeded to buy one for each of the grandchildren as well. It only takes the slightest movement in the air to get those glorious metal cylinders going. That sweet sound paired with a gentle smile, or even a spirited shriek from my little nephew, all remind me that while my grandma may be physically gone, she really isn’t far. Her spirit lives on and she continues to let us know she is with us. I can only imagine how the disciples felt that day as the Holy Spirit came upon them. May we all seek that gentle guide to lead us, that trusted comfort to console us, and that source of strength to carry us along the journey ahead.

– Kylie Popa