Give when nothing is given back

+ J. M. J.

Everyone has days that are easy. Other days seem like pulling out your hair. Lately, there have been many more of the “other days” than the easy days in our life. There is a lot of give-and-take change.

My husband and I have been failing to give and take. We have missed opportunities to be Simon of Cyrene to one another, helping carry the other person’s cross. (Love is always for the sake of the Other.) Just the opposite. We have made snide remarks without thinking of what they imply. Or worse, we have said The Thing Which Will Do The Most Damage At This Moment.

It is time for a redo.

And, ah, the children. The disobedience is coming to a head. My patience is wearing thin when it must be at it’s thickest, strongest, boldest. The moment my back is turned they make mischief. What used to be the sound of children laughing gaily as they should is now repulsive to me, as my mind repeats, “Clothes. They need to put on clothes,” as the pressure builds and I let off steam in the worst way.

Where is this coming from? Oh, God, forgive me and grant me the grace to get out of this hole and turn away from this anger (whether passive-aggressive or just plain aggressive).

There is peace in the storm. If I had not gone through this period I would not understand why God called me to the vocation of marriage.

I live one block from the church. I can walk there in less than two minutes when my husband is home. Being there alone with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is more refreshing than anything else. He brings me solace, His faithfulness, His selflessness, and He fills my soul with graces to take back home to my family.

When I’m there, I wonder why it is I am here married and raising children. Is this loud and hectic life really what I am supposed to be doing? If it is, why do I feel an ache that cannot be filled?

The truth is, only Christ can fill the ache. I was not called to the ease of the quiet (though that has its own crosses). My vocation is to love my husband. My vocation is, by extension, to care for our family. It is not easy to love my husband sometimes, as any wife can tell you about her husband sometimes. When we show our vulnerability that is when it is easiest to hurt us. He doesn’t try to hurt me but I take it personally because, “He should have thought ahead. He should have known doing that would have hurt me.”

I can harbor it and allow my husband keep in the same routine. Instead, I heard a homily this past week about carrying with joy The Cross God Has In Mind for Your Salvation.

It is hard not because I was supposed to be doing something else. It is hard because the cross is hard. If it is to be a fruitful cross that will help my husband, our children, our loved ones, and myself to heaven then it must be a difficult cross.

I cannot let everything done and left undone be an offense against my very soul. And so I kiss my tiny cross and carry on. Give when nothing is being given back. Maybe I am in the right place God has in mind for me to save my soul, after all.

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