Have you ever had one of those weeks where, although not entirely horrid, you feel as if you are wading through quick sand? With no end in sight? If so, then you will understand my plight. Five out of every six weeks, I am an absolute angel. At least, this is what my Husband says. I am sweet, kind, gentle, and deeply submissive with only a few minor 'hiccups' here and there. The sixth week, however, hits with a vengeance!
The week began well enough. It was my week off between university courses. I wondered what I ought to do with my time. Perhaps, I thought, I could go on a retreat. I had heard about an interesting order of nuns not too far away. The prospect of being in the deep woods, alone in my own little hermitage, had sounded rather appealing. However, I knew that I would be dreadfully homesick. I also knew that I could not live without technology for a whole week, so I reluctantly decided against being a hermit. My sister-in-law (my brother's wife) pleaded for me to come visit her. We have become incredibly close since their wedding some months back. Distance was an issue. I considered starting in earnest for this year's spring cleaning, in anticipation of "The Great Move" Another option included curling up in a quilt and reading all of the books on my "someday" list and then re-reading all of my favourites. There seemed to be so many possibilities!
I spent my time in true-to-form ADD fashion: cleaning our already well-kept home, meeting with the moving company representative who came to appraise our flat, grabbing coffee at my favourite chain, and looking through a myriad of possible future residences before cooking dinner, taking a long walk in our neighbourhood, and catching up with my brother and his family. I got through three loads of laundry. I did our grocery shopping in the evening. Last, I managed to finish a novel just before falling asleep sometime in the wee hours of morning. All in one day. It was a good day!
The next morning, however, was not. I woke up to find that our scale had suddenly decided to play a practical joke upon me. Surely, that must have been it. I mentally went over the past few days. No, I had not changed any of my habits. I had not accidentally eaten something which I ought not have eaten. What, then, could be wrong? Why had the numbers gone up so drastically, overnight and without just cause? I felt awful. I had no energy. I hated the person in the mirror. In the end, I discovered the truth: Biology is a cruel master. Although I tried to the utmost of my ability to stay on the straight-and-narrow, I have to admit that there were a few bunny trails of snippiness along the way. I realised, too, with a sinking sensation that I ought to have gone to sacramental confession over the weekend, but had failed to do so. It was the start of a terrible week.
Mid-week or so, my Husband and I decided to take a very short trip eastward. He had paperwork to turn in for his new job and we also had to make a final decision as to where we would live. I was happy at the prospect. It was nice to spend time with our niece. My mother-in-law had just finished sewing a lovely floor-length denim skirt for me. We had chatted about future sewing projects together. It was perfect!
Then Friday hit. I do not know why Fridays in Lent seem to be the worst days of the entire year, but they are. It is not so much the abstinence from meat. This is a normal Friday occurrence. On this particular Friday, however, I found myself at the end of my rope. There were many reasons for this. I still did not feel well. Certainly, the constant nightmares I had been having in response to the events of a few weeks ago did not help. My two sister-in-laws began to get on my nerves. Going from one possible residence to another day after day with my Husband was both daunting and exhausting. At long last, my Husband and I did find the home of our dreams. However, in so doing, we also missed the opportunity for sacramental confession. Again. Nor could I receive Holy Communion that weekend, due to the low-gluten host issue. Inwardly, I sighed. It marked one more week of going without Our Lord truly present in the Blessed Sacrament since my trip to South America. The final straw that broke the camel's back came in the form of a critique by one of my professors.
I must step back a bit to explain the context. Since I had already taken the interesting courses for my major, I subsequently found myself stuck with only the most mundane general education courses from which to choose. I had signed up for a lower-level English class rather reluctantly, and with the dark thought that a monkey could have taken my place and manage to do just as well. You have to understand, I like a challenge. I am the sort of person who can write a fabulous 15 or even 20 page critique of a book that I have never actually read. I have actually done this several times and still somehow manage to receive an "A." Pride goeth before the fall, does it not? To my absolute horror, this particular class turned out to be far worse than I had originally feared: it was a grammar course.
Grammar and I are sworn enemies. After mathematics, grammar is next on the totem pole of most hated subjects. I had endured a bad university experience previously, at Bible College, which had sufficiently killed my dream of becoming an English teacher. To be fair, you dream would have been murdered, too, if you had had the same 7:30am MWF class with Professor Chestnut. We had spent the first two weeks writing in cursive script. This was followed by an avalanche of grammar that grew excruciatingly worse by the week. Apparently, I was not the only person who despised the endless diagramming of sentences at such an ungodly hour, for toward the end of that first semester our Freshman class began to think of the classic Christmas carol "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" with a rather fond affection. ;-)
But I digress. This current English course had not ended the week before, as had the other classes. More's the pity, too, for this particular professor had apparently taken it upon himself to hate me for time and all eternity. For weeks, I had endured his harsh criticism. This past week's response had been especially cruel. (See the last post's comment section.) I might as well admit that I completely lost it after that.
Despite the fact that my blog is entitled "Confessions of a Traditional Wife," I do not feel the need to go into the gritty details. That is between God, my Husband, my priest (in the not-to-distant future), and me. Two beautiful points must be made from this, however. The first being God's providence. The second, His mercy.
Why does it seem that God reaches down at just the precise moment in which we need His grace the most? All of the events of the past week had congregated together and had made me feel just as horrible and as wretched as one could possibly feel. I was within an inch of giving up. Completely. I had even given serious consideration to closing this blog. Just before doing so, however, I asked God for a sign. I try not to do this too often, but I truly needed a tangible manifestation of His love just then. In truth, I did not expect my prayer to be answered. I know that my life is blessed and that I have already experienced more than my share of miracles, but even I did not expect my request to be fulfilled. It was too obscure. Too specific. Not only was my request answered, however, it was done so immediately and to the very letter! This completely astounded me! Only God could have orchestrated such a thing. And I am beginning to think that a certain friend of mine is really my guardian angel in disguise. If ever I have doubted God, if ever I have doubted my purpose in life, this singular moment of grace has succeeded in demonstrating to me that I am loved. I have also been reassured that where I am at in life is exactly where God wishes for me to be.
The second point of this post is God's mercy. When I finally came to my senses, I realised that my words and actions had incurred a massive debt which would take much reparation to remit. More than I could begin to enumerate. I was cut to the quick by the thought of having offending both God and my Husband. I was also terrified to my very core at the thought of impending discipline. This is all very well and good, of course, for both my sorrow and my fear allowed me to resolve most firmly to go forth and sin no more. My Husband, however, did something very rare and beautiful: he granted me mercy.
I am not typically one to ask for clemency in any form. When I err, it is beneficial to my soul to feel the wrath that God's justice demands. I do not wish for mercy, nor do I hope for leniency. I do not want to feel as if I have gotten away with anything. I want nothing more than to be held undeniably accountable for my offenses. In this situation, however, mercy was absolutely what my soul needed. I literally collapsed in my Husband's arms when his decision was pronounced. I felt free of all burden! It was, to me, a further demonstration of God's love. I purposed anew to be the best wife possible-- concretely, through my actions.
There is a third blessing in all of this, as well. One I had not been planning on. As I was finishing the last paragraph, my mother called. I had not spoken to her in over a month and had only recently heard from her via e-mail. I had been very touched by her midweek note. It had read: "If
God bless you and good night. :-)