This line from Sacred Scripture means a great deal to me. It was first chosen by my graduating class as our sending forth verse, an affirmation of God's hand in our lives as we passed from adolecence to adulthood. Two evenings ago, I saw it again. It was inscribed upon the cover of a beautiful inspirational journal that stood out even from amongst the shelves of a secular bookstore.
Throughout the years, I have sometimes questioned the veracity of this verse. At other times, I have caught mere glimpses of its promise. Always, there seemed to be a void. From where I stand today, however, I finally see the tapestry that God has woven in my life. I no longer see the underside-- the unattractive portion, comprised of jagged threads and rude colours. For the first time, I see the masterpiece as it exists thus far. And although it is not yet complete, it fills me with a sense of profound joy, awe, and hope!
I might as well tell you, my Husband received the job offer from the university where he interviewed. He has accepted it, and so that is that! We will be moving in less than three months. He will not be a professor after all, but that is alright. In many ways it is much better. The salary is higher, the position is permanent, and his function sounds ever so interesting! He will have the opportunity to adjunct if he desires, but aside from that possibility, when he leaves his job the work stays there. I cannot even fathom such a thing! I am glad that this is where we will end up. It is closer to his family, and being near one of our respective families was very important to us both. That part of the country, too, is rather fascinating due of its culture and history. We have many friends there. There is also a wonderful parish community that we have fallen in love with. Happiest of all, I will be able to care for my precious niece during the day. This will save my sister-in-law the hassle of daycare costs, but it also ensures that her daughter will be cared for with the utmost love. I am greatly looking forward to being a daily part of her little life!
Life is not what I had expected it would be. It is not what I would have had planned for myself. Yet, it is interesting to step back and see the hand of God at work.
If I had had my way, I would have chosen to be a pastor's wife, working as a missionary or as a teacher in a foreign country. Instead, I find myself a Traditional Catholic woman who prefers to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in an ancient language and according to an ancient liturgical style. I have come to discover about a gazillion different muscles in my legs that I never previously knew existed before becoming a Catholic, ones which made themselves quite well known after kneeling week after week for nearly the entirety of the Mass. And yet, to be part of such ancient beauty is simply amazing! To be present, too, at an event which exists in and outside of time, and one which is literally a participation in the life of Heaven on earth, is something for which I could never begin to describe my profound gratitude! While I was told throughout my formative years that one must have a personal relationship with Christ, it was not until I became Catholic that I experienced this beautiful, tangible reality. Being a Catholic is a privilege beyond words. It is worth every hardship, every misunderstanding, and every sacrifice that I have had, and sometimes still continue, to endure for its sake.
If I could do my life over again, I would not choose my sorted past, with all of its hurts and dysfunctions. I would never again wish to be the stupid girl with a curiosity to explore her weaknesses. Nor would I do so with such reckless abandon. I fell often into Satan's snares and wondered a bit at the resulting scratches. Nevertheless, God never allowed me to stay too far. My past has made me even more grateful for where I am today. I am able to empathise with others and to love them in a unique capacity, as one who truly understands their struggles. My advice and admonition, when asked, come from personal experience. God can change any heart and He can work through any life that is offered to Him. This is something I know to be true. I also would not have chosen to be insulin-resistant, gluten-intolerant, or to struggle with issues of fertility, but God in His infinite wisdom knows best. I have come to look at these situations as an opportunity to sacrifice for souls. The changes in my diet have also had a tremendous impact. My body has healed itself to such a degree that even the latter issue may no longer be an obstacle. Even if biological motherhood is not meant to be, I am blessed to be the Godmother of two precious souls as well as an aunt to four others. That alone is a tremendous blessing! Indeed, all of the challenges of my life make me even more grateful for God's grace and other blessings. There is also another option God has brought into our lives. One which I have not shared until now. My Husband and I were approached some time back, by a close friend, about a private adoption. He alone knows that will happen to that end. I will simply trust Him to guide us. However, simply the prospect of being a mother does thrill my soul!
I must admit that, in all of the things that I would *not* have chosen for myself-- and believe me, there are many, many more-- I cannot in good conscience add being a traditional wife to the list. ;-) This has always been the deepest desire of my heart. I am blessed beyond words to have a Husband who is firmly committed to loving me, guiding me, and chastening me as necessary so that my soul might be properly formed and lifted up to God.
I have actually manged to be rather good lately, some habits and forgetfulness not withstanding. This is a small miracle. One of my current struggles lies with not biting my nails. I admit that I am finding this new requirement rather difficult, because I began chewing my nails at the age of four, when I announced to my father that if he did not stop his habit, then I would start. I was a stubborn little thing, even back then. Many times throughout the day, I find myself absently gnawing the white tip on my thumb. I did so twice while writing this post. Even that is off limits. Most people might find it rather strict that my Husband chooses to lash my palms mercilessly for such a frivolous offense, with increasing severity for each repeat occurrence. However, I am truly grateful for his correction. In the grand scheme of things, does biting one's nails truly matter? Is it an issue of life or death? No. However, it is a greater reality that is at stake. How can one obey the greater things of God if the most simple and most mundane are overlooked? I think all too often we tend to miss the trees for the forest. It is the little things that, if left unchecked, can add up and wear away at the soul, leaving us vulnerable to larger sins.
One of the things I did get to chose was my Husband. I was first attracted to his intelligence and charismatic manner, his strong faith and traditional values. However, I do not love him because he beats me senseless. (And, in case you were wondering, he does not.) I think, perhaps, my blog gives the impression that my Husband is some sort of a domineering ogre. You would be quite surprised to know him in everyday life. I love him because of who he is, but I fell in love with him because of his humanity.
My Husband is the only person I know who could receive a job offer from the university he did, and yet, have me cracking up over wondering over the difference between frogs and toads (long story). We have so much fun together, he and I. We also understand each other. Very often, we find our thoughts crossing the same path. It is uncanny. My Husband is, to me, the most precious man on the face of this earth. He would do anything for anyone, were it in his power to help. His embrace is warm and loving, and it feeds my soul. Even his subconscious loves me, for sometimes throughout our marriage, he has woken up in the middle of the night, given me a tremendous hug and a forehead kiss, and then gone straight back to sleep with the words, "I love you" upon his lips. He does not remember this in the morning. God knew how much I needed him. And God knows, I love him with all of my heart.
"For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of affliction, to give you and end and patience. And you shall call upon me...and I will hear you. You shall seek me, and shall find me: when you shall seek me with all of your heart." (Jeremias 29:11-13, Douay Rheims Version). Finding that inspirational journal was truly one of those amazing "God moments" in my life. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it was His way of reaching down and reminding me of His great love. All I could do was smile and whisper, "Yes, Lord. I understand. Thank you. I love you, too."
No, indeed, life is not what I would have planned for myself. It is infinitely better... for He is in the details. And while it might be my life, it is His story. :-)