It is official: my Husband and I have a pet mouse. We have called him "Ralph." :-)
At first, we did not know whether Ralph was a roach or a mouse, for the dark blob I saw dart underneath the couch was very small indeed. Nevertheless, it is now confirmed... Ralph is a mouse. I was, sadly, arguing with my Husband one evening several days back when Ralph decided to peek his little mousy head around the corner. It was almost as if he were checking up on us, to see if we were alright. He then dashed away, not to been seen since. It was really quite humourous. Now that we have named him-- or her for that matter; "Ralph" could very well be "Ralphina" for all we know-- it breaks my heart to think of our little friend coming to an untimely end. Yet, if Ralph cares to remain in this world for a long mousy life, he had better not venture back into our flat. The maintenance workers have laid out a plethora of traps in the most random of places.
When I think of it, I feel a small kinship with Ralph in that traps and snares seem to abound everywhere. And, I am constantly falling into them. I try so hard to be perfect and do everything to the letter. Sometimes I feel as if my obsession to be the perfect wife ends up creating a shrew. What I mean is this: I want so much to be a perfectly obedient wife that, if I fail-- or if I think I fail-- in even the smallest minutia, I become extremely frustrated with myself. If this builds up, the anxiety manifests itself in a blowup. It seems a bit paradoxical, does it not? That, in one's quest to obtain a small bite of "cheese," they end up falling into a trap? If you are a wife, can you relate to these sentiments at all?
To the outside world, I look like the perfect wife. One of my Husband's friends asked me last evening, in a joking way, if I'd consider leaving my Husband and marry him instead. A month or two ago, before we moved house, we had some gentlemen from church over for the evening. One of then took to calling me "Darling Wife" as a nick-name. They were all thrilled that I would serve them by bringing cold drinks for their refreshment. They were even more amazed that I could take my celebratory shot of scotch in one gulp. When they were going out for cigars, my Husband asked if I wanted to join them. I shook my head "no," and encouraged him to go have some fun "guy time." One of them looked straight at me and said, "Darn the 10th commandment!" The others asked if had a sister. My Husband got together with another friend from our former parish just before the move. To my Husband, and in front of his roommate-- a priest-- this friend commended me as being the model wife and woman. My Husband's best friend told him that he has an "excellent wife," and that he wishes that he could find a woman like me. The examples could go on and on. I do not say any of this for pride's sake; quite conversely, I say it to my shame. I know what I am truly like.
It irks me somewhat, too. Are the ideals of good men so low these days? I am not beautiful; I am not pretty. I am not even all that sweet, kind, or gentle when my frustrations get the better of me. My personality requires that I be corrected quite often. I am stubborn and willful to a fault. I don't cry. I hate deep displays of emotion. And, I run away from the love of my Husband as if it were the plague. Don't I sound lovely? Who wouldn't want what my Husband has? *rolls eyes*
On the other hand, for all of my faults, I do try with all of my being to submit to the will of my Husband. I am a very good housewife. That must be said. Life has just been overly difficult lately, for a myriad of reasons. I told my Husband yesterday, on the way to Mass, that I just needed a break from life. Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form did help tremendously, though. As I knelt alone in the pew (my Husband was serving), I managed to quiet my mind and pray, simply basking in the joy of being in the House of the Lord. Receiving Holy Communion also refreshed my soul.
A friend told me recently that she did not view me as being perfect, but as refreshingly "real." I took great heart in that. No, I am not perfect. Not in the least. But, most of the time, I do strive for holiness. And, like it or not, I am simply myself. To be anything less would be disingenuous.
I hope my friend does not mind if I share here what I wrote to her, but it seems appropriate to say in closing this post. I pray that it gives strength and comfort:
We Christians are real people, on a journey, hand in hand with Jesus. We fall, trip, and trudge on. The important thing is that we keep on fighting the good fight on the straight and narrow path. And, if our lives can somehow inspire others to follow Him, too, in a total abandonment to His Holy Will, then let us count it all joy that in our weakness, He is made strong.
Please, continue to keep me in your prayers. They are deeply appreciated.