He Uses Our ‘Worst’ to Bring Out Our Best

Dr. Kimberly Shankman, dean of Benedictine College, was featured in Magnificat this month reflecting on the promise of the Holy Spirit and the accident that on March 14, 2013, left her son disabled.  An excerpt follows.

After the accident that left my son totally disabled, I pondered on what it really means to open the way for the Holy Spirit. My son was a warm, funny, ornery, occasionally obnoxious teenager. In the twinkling of an eye, that person was gone and I mourned him — I wanted him back.

The Ascension helps me make sense of this. It shows the pattern for God’s action in the world. Before, the disciples could see Christ’s power only in his presence; the worst thing they could imagine was his absence. The Ascension allowed them to stop clinging to his physical presence. It opened the door for them to go forth and remake the world.

Our “worst” can be the gateway to unimaginable blessings.

Before the accident, the worst thing I could imagine was my son with a brain injury. Now, though, I see it differently. We are surrounded by love and support; my son knows, without question, that he is loved unconditionally; and many people — even those we’ve never met — tell us that praying for him has brought us closer to Christ.

The Holy Spirit chose a particularly dramatic way to demonstrate it, by letting go of my vision of my son’s future and instead trusting the merciful providence that guides us has been the gateway and our lives are abundantly blessed.