The Thicket of The Cross

St John of the Cross

I always have loved New Year’s Eve for some reason. I used to sit all alone in my living room watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve in Times Square and wait until the ball dropped before I would go to bed. There was something about it for me. The fact that it was a whole new beginning, a clean slate and the possibilities of the New Year were endless. I wasn’t raised believing in the magic of Santa or the Tooth Fairy, but I somehow taught myself the magic of a fresh start that came with a New Year.

Unlike so many things in my life that ended up jaded from the things going on with me and to me, NYE always stayed being the romantic magical night that it had always been. Even while I working behind  bar for four of them. Those nights were the best. I will always cherish the memory of being next to my best friend Homer one NYE as the countdown was going on. It was the first and only time that we hugged each other. I always cry tears of relief and he never let me live down the fact that he saw me cry once. Now that he is gone that memory is priceless.

The thing that I love the most about being married to my husband is that every single year we have a great New Year’s Eve. Whether we are just home alone or out in the middle of the Times Square crowd with a dozen of New York’s finest, it is always a blast. It’s our special day. He knows how much I love it and what it means to me and he honors that.

The thing that he probably doesn’t really realize is that he is the answer to every one of my NYE prayers that one day my life would be better. I didn’t think that God loved me the way that He loved all the smiley spunky girls that went to youth group with me so prayer wasn’t really something that I thought would ever work for me, but the magic of that ball at Times Square was something that I wished on as if it was the biggest shooting star there ever was. Every year I wished that my life for the following year would be full of love. Real love, not the one night stands, drunken nights, booty calls, or just being one of many women in someone’s life kind of fake love that I was trying so hard to make myself think was all that I was worth having.

It was at 1AM on New Year’s 2008 that I gave up trying to make myself believe that lie. I sat sobbing in my closet begging God to either help me or let me die. I had moved away from Amarillo, stopped partying, worked and tried to do my best as a mother to my kids and still I felt like all of it was pointless. The next day I got the first message from Stacey, who is now my husband and was my childhood sweetheart. My life has never been the same. If he had not come into my life I would never have walked into RCIA and had my life changing encounter with Christ. My children would not have lived the last 7 years in the same neighborhood going to the same schools as their friends like normal kids. (They also wouldn’t be entitled brats, but that is a whole other subject.) The one thing that I always wanted in a New Year was answered by that message from Stacey on January 2, 2008. But unlike most love stories shown in movies or books, that wasn’t the end. The hard part never gets put into movies or books because it sucks. Who knew?

For the last year our life has been turned upside down with grief over the loss of a friend along with so many other things. The list is so long that I can’t even keep it up anymore. I stared into the dark last night wondering why exactly this is happening to us. Why it seems like I can’t feel God’s arms wrapped around me anymore the way that I once used to while others who are so full of shit seemed to be blessed like those girls that I used to know in youth group who were smiley and spunky. Not only do they seem to be blessed but one of them is going out of her way to make sure that anything good that comes my way gets taken away.  That I will never understand. I could handle it if it was someone who hated me from my past but for it to be a popular Catholic who is acting like a jealous Jr High girl angers me to the tenth power. For the life of me I can’t get why Jesus won’t let me just punch her in the throat once so she will get off my ass. But He doesn’t and so I sit in the dark and fume about it. Honestly, it didn’t seem like He cared much. But then this morning I finally started the Divine Office, which I’ve been planning to do since Lent, (I really need to learn some self-discipline.) and I read this:

Would that men might come at last to see that it is quite impossible to reach the thicket of the riches and wisdom of God except by first entering the thicket of much suffering, in such a way that the soul finds there its consolation and desire. The soul that longs for divine wisdom chooses first, and in truth, to enter the thicket of the cross. ~ St. John of the Cross

Well, that explains it. Just like with marriage, the hard part of conversion isn’t really portrayed much in books or (horrible) Catholic movies. I’m right back to where I am every year at this time, planning to go to confession while waiting for the baby Jesus and a New Year full of possibilities. Whatever God’s Will for my life is, it will not be hindered by a hater, no matter who they are and how scared everyone is of them, because He uses all things for the good of those who love Him, even haterade. I would say ESPECIALLY Haterade.  I would be lying if I said that I’m not ready to get out of thicket of the cross. But I will take it and offer it up to the One Who I love to use as He sees fit. After all, He is my Shepherd, He made that clear to me a long time ago.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s