Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Prayer + Time

I am sitting here in the family room, watching flurries of snow falling outside, where the temperature is hovering around 18 degrees. It's too cold for the kids to be out reveling in the 1/4" of snow that fell overnight. They tried this morning. They really did. And after about 30 seconds, all three came right back in, red-cheeked, cold-fingered, shivery, and begging for hot chocolate.

My head aches, and I am in a bit of a funk. Tomorrow we will learn the fate of my husband's job. Lots of good, dedicated, hard-working people have lost their jobs in the past week. We just don't know what will happen with his position. I have not slept well in days, and got so little sleep last night that I didn't make it to mass this morning. So, I am in a bit of a funk right now.

But I am also thinking of all that need to be done; most especially, the Christmas card. Every year, I design a card that includes pictures of the kids and at least a quick overview of our year. It is typically one of my favorite activities... usually something I have done very shortly after Thanksgiving. But this year, I just can't get into it. Every time I sit down to work on it, I find myself stuck: we had such a full, blessed year... but if we end it with no employment, it's hard to see how anything else is relevant.

So, here I am, sitting on the couch, looking out the window. I started thinking about where I was a year ago. What was life like then? DH's company buyout was nowhere near the horizon. It was unthinkable back then. LilBro was almost 2, talking but much less than now, and still in diapers. Princess was still learning her letters; now she is a beginning reader. BigBro has come a long way in maturity and in self-discipline. Every day he is more and more of a "kid."

Where was I a year ago? I was lonely. 2007 had been a year of tremendous spiritual renewal, growth and change for me. I stepped out of my shell and into an active role in my parish. I reconnected with God and with His Church. But all of that change put a strain on my marriage. DH was not at the same place (or even on the same path) as me last year. I so vividly remember mass on the 4th Sunday of Advent last year. I went alone, and as I knelt in the pew praying before mass started, I found myself envying all of the women whose husbands were kneeling beside them, or who were helping them wrestle with small children to keep them quiet. I'd never felt so alone. I remember praying through my tears: "I can't fix this one, God. It's bigger than I am, so I'm giving it to you. Please bring him back to you. Please."

And then I let it all go. I did the best I could, at any rate. And over the next few months, if I felt that envy rise up or if I got annoyed at DH's lack of faith, I would remind myself that it was out of my hands. I had given that one over to God. It was His problem, now. It helped. Sometimes.

Suddenly, seemingly (to me) out of the blue, in early May, DH experienced his conversion. He came back fully to the Sacraments. He began praying on his own, and very quickly included me in his prayer time. We now end our days together in prayer, and I've seen our marriage blossom this year, as we've both placed God first in our lives. We now sit in this place, facing what a year ago was unthinkable, and we are reasonably calm. Yes, if he gets bad news tomorrow, we will have a little bit of panic, a little bit of mourning for the job he loved and the security we took for granted. But, really, our lives won't change dramatically. Our marriage is very strong, and will only grow stronger if tested by the fire. Our children are all healthy and (mostly) happy. We won't lose our home. We won't lose our friends, family, or parish community. Everything important will stay the same. Only our source of income will change.

This coming Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Advent, my family has been asked to carry all 4 candles up to the Advent Wreath during the processional at 8:30 am mass. In one very short year, we've gone from me alone, in tears, in the pew to our family, together, leading the processional on Sunday morning. Talk about unthinkable a year ago.

I can think of no more concrete way to show the power of prayer plus time.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your faith Jen. You inspire me to believe & trust that God is so much bigger than our problems & that in God's time "all shall be well." thank you for being a light for me today.