The past few weeks have really sucked. The past few months have really sucked to be honest but on October 26th my husband and I were at Saltgrass Steakhouse having a great meal with awesome red wine to finish celebrating his birthday. We had finally come back together as a couple after fighting to the death for the last 6 months. For the first time since Lent of this year I loved my husband the way I loved him the day we got married. We had just gone to Mass with our kids and grand baby and everyone had been happy to be there: including the baby. We all smiled and cooed at her through Mass. Finally, life was back to normal, happy cooey normal.
In the middle of dinner I remember looking at my husband and thinking “Finally, we have gotten over the hardest part of our marriage and we survived stronger than ever. Thank you Jesus.”
We left dinner and went home thinking this was the beginning of the rest of our lives. Sure we would have hard times again, but this proved that we would be able to get past them. God wouldn’t let us down and we had a new light of faith in our lives. Back to fairytale land instead of this ugly place we had been for so long now.
I went to bed; my husband went to his office to work. We had celebrated his birthday and us being back together for the last 4 days so there was a lot of work to do.
I woke up at 5am and called him to see why he was still awake. When I heard his voice on the other end, I knew something was wrong. I have heard people sound like that before and I knew someone was dead, I just couldn’t figure out who it was. He said “Something bad has happened. I will be upstairs in a minute to talk to you.” I panicked.
When he walked in the room he looked terrible and I was scared. Never in a million years did I think he would say that our employee and his long time friend, Warren was dead. But he did. And that is when the real hard times started. Little did I know that nothing we had been through up until that moment was anything like what we are going through now.
Losing Warren was more than just losing an employee. He was my oldest son’s friend and my husband’s friend. I had to help them both mourn and work on our company schedules at the same time. I had to deal with customers, some who didn’t care that someone had died, they thought their bed bugs were more important. I also had to deal with my 3 little kids and their teachers. My mom just moved to town also and she has doctor appointment after doctor appointment. The loss really affected everything we did. And it sent my husband reeling in grief.
He has lost both parents, his grandmother and now his closest friend. It really is just too much for him.
Last Friday, the worst happened. I am not going to go into details, because it isn’t for me to share and because it’s really not the point. But it was bad. It shook me to my core. For the first time in 5 years I doubted that God even existed and IF He did, then He really did hate me and didn’t give a crap about me. He had allowed this to happen to me when I’ve busted my ass to be as good as I can be. I go to Mass, I go to confession weekly or bi-weekly, I bend over backwards to face my faults and change them and yet, here I am, in this place again. How could He let this happen? Even if I deserve it, my kids don’t.
So, I purposely and out of anger, did not go to Mass on Sunday. I no longer thought that there was anything there for me. It was all a lie. That is what my brain was telling me, but my heart kept saying to ask for prayers. So I did. I begged for them from everyone that I could think of. I emailed my RCIA director, Noe, and poured my heart out to him. I didn’t know where else to go. He answered me and said he was going straight to Adoration to pray for my husband and I then we could go in to talk to him on Monday.
When Monday came we went to talk to Noe and he talked to us, prayed with us and cried with us. Then he sent us to confession. Honestly, I didn’t want to go. I was still mad, but I knew that my husband really needed me to have faith, even if I didn’t feel faithful, he needed me to act like I did. Because he had none.
As I sat there waiting to go to confession I just thought about my husband and how much he needs me now, but I didn’t really think about myself or examine my conscience. In fact, at that moment, I didn’t even realize just how mad I was at God for everything that has happened. It wasn’t until I sat in that chair across from Father that it all became clear. I was pissed. How could God let this happen? I did not understand. Father told me that life happens to everyone. If it’s not one thing, it’s another, and that is no reason to give up. That my husband needs me and I need him, that is what marriage is about. It’s not about just the easy times. We say “for worse” in our vows for a reason. He also told me to tell God that I’m mad and then let it go. He said many other things, but those are what stood out to me.
As I said my prayers for penance I made up my mind. I married this man, he is my husband and I am going to be his wife. Even though what I really want to do is hate his guts and leave. “Love is a choice” I have said those words a million times to people, and now it’s my turn to live them.
This week has been constant step by step choice to love. To love God, to love my husband and to get up every morning. I don’t want to get out of bed, I don’t want to eat and I don’t want to even be here. Then it hit me. Jesus probably didn’t want to be on that cross either. He probably didn’t want to be in that garden. He didn’t want to be in the hands of those soldiers who were beating Him and I can imagine He didn’t WANT to stand before Pilot. But He did it anyway. He chose to do it to save the world. Not just the world, but me.
I don’t know when God is going to quit teaching me the lesson of “Pick up your cross and follow me”, but soon would be nice. Maybe it will be when I quit whining about the weight of my cross and just carry the damn thing. Maybe it will be when I realize that there is no leaving my husband, that all there is for me to do is to love the man, flaws and all. He will let me down, he’s human, and I will let him down. But God will never let either of us down, because His love is perfect. Maybe I’ll learn this lesson when I quit being scared. Scared of losing, scared of love, scared of giving myself to someone who is going to fail me at some point, scared of not being good enough. Maybe that is what God is trying to teach me, that I don’t need to do anything and I can’t do anything to make Him love me. He loves me just as I am.
I don’t know what is going to happen next. We might end this year better than ever or we might begin next year worse than ever. I have no clue, but I know that all I can do is to cling to what I know. I know Jesus is alive, that He died for me and that He left the Sacraments to help us get from this life to the next to be with Him forever. One foot in front of the other. That is all I have to do.
Being a Christian doesn’t mean that I don’t suffer, it just means that I can offer that suffering up for something greater than myself. I can be mad at God. I tell him that I’m mad and then I have to let it go and move on. Just like with any other relationship.