Last night me, my husband, and my 3 youngest children took a break from the crazy that has become our lives and went to the movies. We have had a rough few months since Warren died. My husband has tried to manage his business while grieving for a friend and employee along with all the other things that have come at him. I would be worried about the kind of person he is if he didn’t have a hard time coping after losing both parents and a good friend. Only an uncaring human being could go on as if nothing happened after all that. To also have deal with a lawsuit and an accountant who didn’t do her job which means the IRS and State of Texas are coming after him because of her not doing her job is a lot to deal with. It has landed us in a very ugly place in life, but the thing is, he is still going. I don’t really know how he does it, but yesterday I stopped looking at him like an angry wife and I looked at him like a woman who loves him and I saw a man who has refused to lay down and die. I know that it would be so much easier for him to quit and give up on this company. I’ve been angry at him for not giving up, for putting it before me and our marriage because I tend to see everything through the eyes of a wounded bird. I act out based on that anger and the hurts of my past, and I fail to see a man who is busting his ass to keep his dream. I don’t let him talk and I don’t ever give him time to process his feelings without expecting him to process them the way that I do.
Haley Stewart gave one of the talks at Edel on how motherhood taught her how to love. How to give of herself and how that love of another changed her. I stood there listening to her nodding my head. Yes, motherhood had changed me, but that was something that I expected. I was not raised by women who didn’t change because they were mothers. I have 9 aunts and they all have a lot of kids. While I am an only child, most of my aunts have 3, 4, 5 and 8 kids. And each one of my cousins have a lot of kids. (a lot according to the 2 kid norm anyway). Mothers and kids are not foreign to me. I knew when I had my son that he was mine to give my life to. I knew that I would have to sacrifice some things for his good. When I had 3 more kids, I knew that feeding them and taking care of them was my job to do. I knew that if I couldn’t do it, it was my place to find help. I humbled myself in the foodstamp office, in the doctor’s office when I was treated like an idiot and I worked 12 or 14 hour days waiting tables to feed and clothe them, while missing out on a lot of things that they did. It was a sacrifice. If I wanted to go out, I knew that I would have to get my butt out of bed at 6:30 in the morning, regardless of what time I went to bed, to take them to school. I expected it. I had seen woman after woman in my family do it. Were they all mothers of the year? No, we all had our demons and our vices, but sacrificing yourself for your kids was not a stretch for me.
Loving a man is though. Men are not the same. I don’t know where I got the idea, but I knew that if a man fails to provide or be the source of all happiness in my life that I could leave. That was always an option. I was never scared to be alone, to work alone to feed my kids or to do anything on my own. If one guy was not willing to be what I needed then I could just get my needs met by someone else. If it took two or three guys to fill them all, then so be it. That was how the game was played.
Being Catholic changed all that. Being in a Catholic marriage especially. There is no leaving. I mean, sure, I could technically leave and live separate from my husband. I could take back my life and put all the responsibility of money and bills on my shoulders. I can do it. I’ve done it before and while I don’t really want to go back to waiting tables, I am capable of doing it. But no matter what I do or where I go, this man is my husband. Marriage is about more than just who pays the bills, who works and having sex with another human being. It is about being united by your soul to another human being in a way that means you are always working together to get to heaven. When a man and a woman make a covenant with God, on His terms, there is no leaving. Not when it is valid, and my marriage is beyond valid. I knew the risks, and I stood in front of God, friends, family and my children and said that I was willing to take those risks for the rest of my life to live a life with this man until death do us part. In good times and bad. Never did I think that the bad would cover all the things that we have been through in the past 9 months, but I knew that the risks were unknown. The paradox of marriage, knowing that you do not know what will come and making a vow to do it anyway.
The movie we saw was Get On Up, the story of James Brown. It was a great movie and such a good movie for us to watch now. It’s like God knew that we needed to see our situation on a big screen with some good music. Not because we are anything like James Brown, but the movie made a great point about how childhood trauma can haunt some souls into adulthood. It was also a story of redemption, of humbling oneself and of coming back from the bottom. So many things have gone through my mind since we left the theater, but one theme that has been stuck in my mind is how God created us with the ability to co-create with Him. Each of us has a gift of creating. We are each artists in our own way, whether it be writing, music, and painting or not, we create. It’s one of the things that the devil hates about human beings. Which is why his number one goal is to stop us from creating what brings glory to God, in his hate of us, he tricks us to use our gifts to create things that bring glory to ourselves.
Jesus knew this, which is why He left us a Church. The Church is where we get our instructions on how to create what will bring glory to God with the gifts that He has given us. She is our protection from that temptation to build what will reflect us to ourselves, idols. We look at those instructions and think of them as rules that restrict us from freedom, but the reality is that they are the only way that we will ever find and fulfill our purpose on this Earth, which is true freedom. That is why people like Mother Teresa can do the work that she did in a lifetime, because she read the instructions, lives by them and doesn’t ever think of them as oppressive.
God also gives us freedom, which means that we can choose to try and make up our own instructions but that will always lead us away from Him and to a life of self-worship.
Can you imagine if a person who never built a desk opened a box to build desk and threw the instructions away thinking that they could build this desk on their own terms? There would be a serious possibility that the desk wouldn’t turn out so well. That person would end up having to seek out a professional builder to help them fix it. God is the professional builder. Just look in the mirror, He made you. He made me. How can we ever think that He isn’t the professional when it comes to life? Pride. That’s how.
We have to plug ourselves into the Creator Himself to know the instructions on how to use our gifts to create lives that glorify Him and Him alone. The life that I build with my unique gifts will look different from yours, but that’s a good thing because sameness is boring. They will each be beautiful in their own way, and that is the point.
We cannot let the evil one tear us away from the One who is the source of all life. When we do, we will find ourselves lonely, mourning and weeping. But even then, He will come to our rescue when we call out to Him to save us. It’s how He rolls. We will fall, we will fail, we will end up on the wrong path but that isn’t the point, the point is when we find ourselves there than we know Who’s name to call out to so we can get back up.
In my distress I called out: LORD!
I cried out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry to him reached his ears.
I know where I belong, with my husband, for better or for worse.