past homepages

"Stepping Out of a Situation For Just a Moment"

As some of you know, this summer has been filled with several unfortunate circumstances for my family. Having walked through another funeral with the passing of my grandmother and then almost lose my mother to a horrific car accident, it seems like the trials continue to flow, sometimes with no end in sight. To be frank, it was scary visiting my mother in the hospital. From the moment I received the phone call, I couldn't believe I was reliving what could have been another fatal situation. A week prior, we said goodbye to my grandmother which was a very sad time for us. But now I was sensing a familiar fear. It was a fear I had when my father was fighting his illness.

Upon arrival to the hospital, one of the first things I heard from the doctor's mouth was, "Mrs. Agoglia, your situation is very critical and you could die at any moment." I couldn't believe what I was hearing and watching. This was no reality show or joke; this was real and unfolding right before me.

As I watched her lie flat with her head securely wrapped in appendages and a gash on her face, I could see in her eyes that she was concerned for us, her three sons. I was only thinking about her and how much I didn't want her to leave us. Here I was, her eldest son, with my two younger brothers out of the state, and now I was standing at the foot of her bed, wondering what was ahead for all of us. As I looked at her, I had to fight back tears. Thoughts of my father's death and the years he shared with my mother passed through my mind, one frame after another. I just wished my father was by my mother's side. If he was still with us, he would have done everything in his means to respond and be at her side. He loved my mother so much and would do whatever it took to assure her that he was with her. But now the situation was different. It was just me; however, I could never fulfill the role of my father.

Each day was filled with a sundry of tests and uncomfortable procedures. Concerns heightened the longer we waited. Sometimes when we were told we would get an update regarding a given test and then never got one, my mom had to go to bed wondering what was going on. My brothers and I had that same thought. It was like dejavue all over again. After spending time in the hospital with my father, and then with my grandmother this past summer, and now with my mother, I was ready for a cessation from visiting and inhabiting hospitals. Each situation places a weariness upon you that you wish you didn't have to carry. And when your own family is facing a life threatening situation, it compounds that heaviness.

In spite of these things, I've noticed that in those darkest of moments, God's presence was still at work - where despair was met with hope, where tears were wiped away with smiles, where bleak news was swallowed up by an astounding turn of events. It's so easy to get caught up in despair-like thinking, especially when one tragic event follows another. Even at this very moment, I still ask God for his mercy and grace upon us. I find that I need him more and more. Within such confusion, we must seek glimpses of hope.

These are the same words of encouragement my father used to share with us when we faced something difficult. He would encourage us to not shy away from seeking God, even though we sometimes tend to walk away from him. He also shared that especially in our toughest moments, we must actively look for great opportunities to give of ourselves. We must seek them, for when we do, we will then find God. These opportunities don't have to be grandiose. They can be as simple as talking to someone who needs to hear the voice of a caring person. Just listening to someone might make the difference in a person's day, or their entire life.

As humans we succumb to quick fixes and easy solutions. We want simplistic answers to difficult problems. But in almost every instance, those band aids really do nothing for us. They fail to develop our lives and hinder our ability to serve others. That's why I feel God doesn't give us all the answers in life. But obviously that's my opinion.

As I look back over the past six months, I feel that I need to inhale real big and then exhale even more. Sometimes I shake my head and ask God, "when will this let up?" We have all felt overwhelmed from many things, but I'm reminded that God will not give us more than we can handle. It's easy to get narrow-minded in our focus and not see the needs of others around us.

With the recent events of Hurricane Katrina, I've been glued to the news as I've watched people plea for assistance, requesting help with basic needs such as food, water, and shelter. For hundreds of thousands of individuals, they no longer have a place to call home. As I've watched the major news networks report early on about the lack of assistance many hadn't yet received, there seemed to be a repetitive message - when is relief going to come? I second that same question. It's hard to believe that the lives of humans were quickly changed with just one natural disaster. Besides losing homes, businesses, and other treasured possessions, lives were separated and several were tragically killed. I can only wonder the intense loss many feel at this very moment.

With this said, I'm reminded that when we step out of our pains and hurts for just a moment and try to see through the eyes of others, we can begin to get a better perspective on life - that although our hurts are very real, others are facing difficult circumstances also. My parents have always encouraged my brothers and I to see beyond what's directly in front of us.

For those of you who have lost a loved one - either recently or some time ago - I know it can be hard to consider the needs of others when the trials you're facing are more than overwhelming. The burdens seems to grow only with time. However, I challenge you to consider seeing beyond your current circumstances. Sometimes just seeing what others are facing allows you to see that 1) you're not alone with your feelings and thoughts, and 2) that you can make a difference in the life of one person today - even when you feel shattered and broken into a million pieces.

Lord, in the midst of our personal storms, help us see through our haze of confusion. And as our hearts are filled with a new compassion, causing us to respond in love, may our wounds find a new source of healing - through others.

- Justin Agoglia (eldest son of Joseph Agoglia)