Just the other night I was thinking about how life has been pretty much humming along for the past year or so. A bump or two in the road here and there, but otherwise, pretty peaceful — especially in contrast to the past dozen or so years.
Those were loaded with some heavy-duty crosses, like my husband losing his job -right after we’d built a brand new house, and having to work 5 hours away from home for three years (commuting back and forth on weekends.)
This happened in the midst of my sister and me moving our parents out of their home of fifty years in New Orleans, to a house in our town so that we could look after them. We did so for five years, until they both died in 2008, only 13 days apart.
I won’t go into the many other humdinger crosses that fell upon me during those years. I know everyone has similar stories to tell.
However, as I mentioned above, it has been uncharacteristically serene around here for way longer than usual.
Now, be careful what you think about. You see, God was listening. God also knew that I had recently written a post entitled: Suffering, get it while you can.
He wasn’t about to let me get away with that one. So this morning I had some news that is really quite devastating. It is a situation out of my control, and yet I feel the blows keenly.
I can only watch and pray. And that is why I was so very grateful that God sent this cross today, when I knew I would have two precious hours in His Presence, followed by Holy Mass and Communion.
Today at least, I have had a wonderful sense of peace, and even joy, in spite of the circumstances. I don’t know if those gifts will endure or not. But I feel strong.
A few years ago, I saw a movie about warriors back in ancient times. It was some obscure movie my husband found. These men had no fear. They plunged right into battle without hesitation.
I wondered how they did it, how they managed not to be afraid. Then it occurred to me that they had gone into battle so many times and survived, that they didn’t think about dying. They expected each battle to end like the last. They would be victorious.
The battle-ready warriors taught me something about suffering. When you have suffered many things, and still came though it all with joy and peace in the end, then you don’t fear the next time as much. You know Who your Strength is; Who your Rock is; Who comforts you; Who knows your limits; you know the One Whose Love carries you through to the other side –to the green pastures and the still waters.
You learn that you don’t have to be strong, because He is Everything. And you won’t die, because the only death is to lose HIM.