35 More to 50

photoHusband and I are not very good communicators. Whomever invented texting saved my marriage because although we aren’t good telling each other how we feel or even talking about the budget, we are good at texting. And we flirt via text.

When Monsignor Richard Lopez married us 15 1/2 years ago, we thought marriage would be easy. At least I did. I thought certainly it would be easier than dating–and we could live in the same house.

But these last couple of years have been hard. Like, really hard. Financially, emotionally, miscarriage, alcohol, relationally, just hard.

Sometimes I stop and think about how grateful I am that we were married in the Church, that we had a nuptial Mass and were surrounded by all of our family and friends. I am grateful our marriage is so blessed. Because it takes supernatural grace to sustain marriages through hard times. God is definitely responsible for these 15 years.

I thought about this and texted Husband a little bit ago. I wrote, “15 Years is a long time.” And he made my day when he wrote back, “35 more to 50.”

I think about the debate going on right now in this country regarding gay “marriage.” It doesn’t make sense to me that two people of the same sex could be married. But I think it’s only a matter of time before it’s the law of the land. Just like contraception and abortion. These things change society. Whole cultures change based on these types of things.

But for me, and for my family, we’re Catholic first.

The Best Medicine

tumblr_mde4ncT1kk1qbzun1o1_500I have always been a big fan of modern medicine—maybe it’s my Catholic upbringing which implies the sciences are gifts to us from God’s grace, or maybe it’s just because I’m all about the quick fix to ease my aches and pains. I hold medical researchers, doctors and smart people in high regard.

If I’m completely truthful, I actually don’t hold the agnostic or atheistic researchers and doctors in high regard—those types think they are gods so I absolutely hope to steer clear of them. But the humble faith-filled smart doctor people have my complete affection and respect.

But today I experienced the most natural form of healing which involved no medicine, no research, no health studies, and no cardiovascular exercise: lunch with my mother.

I’m telling you, and I’ve said this before on my blog, that my mother is one of those people that lives her life the way the saints did: in self-sacrifice for the people God has entrusted to her and in complete obedience to Him and His will.

She would say, “Are you kidding me?”

And I would say, “No, I am not kidding, Mom. I want to be you…the same way I wish to be a saint but never will be.  You give me an ideal to strive for and you offer mercy and forgiveness before I even realize I miss the mark.”

I could write about how Mom goes to daily Mass, takes care of my father and mothered and continues to mother eleven children who never got hooked on drugs (ha ha ha why is that my standard, that none of us ever got hooked on drugs…ha ha ha).. and I could write about how when we were wealthy and then had hard times she went immediately to work to make ends meet; how she loves and forgives and loves and respects and loves and loves and loves her husband.  This is huge; because marriage is really hard.  Especially for me, lately.

I could tell you all that, but instead I’ll just talk about my lunch with my Mom today, which will give you an example of how to be a mother:

Me: Mom I’ve been in such a funk lately.

Mom: I know darling–you haven’t written any blog posts in almost two weeks and I miss them.

Me: I know. I’m a little worried after sending out all these resumes at the beach that some of my future employers might read my blog so I don’t know what to write anymore.  What if they read what I write and think I would make an awful employee?

Mom: Yes, maybe. But does it matter?

Me: No, it doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t want to work for anyone long term who didn’t get it.  And Husband and I are like friends passing in the hallway.  After 15 years of marriage I don’t think he likes me.

Mom: Sure he does darling.

Me: And he does this and this and this.

Mom: Yes

Me: And this and this and THIS. And he did THIS!

Mom: Yes.

Me: And here I am 43 years old. And I have everything I ever wanted: marriage, children, family, house, blah blah.

Mom: Yes. (she holds my hand.)

Me: So how are the rest of the siblings?

And then my mom updates me on everyone… All of my ten siblings, what’s new and what every one is up to.

And then I take it back to me.

Me: So I don’t know. I’m just all crabby lately.

And she says, “We have to have lunch at least once a week.”

And I say yes, yes, we do.

And we will.

Because I need her. Because my mom doesn’t judge or try to control me. My mom doesn’t get focused on petty stupid things and she doesn’t engage in gossip. My mom doesn’t like to go shopping (I really hate to “go shopping,” like it’s some sort of special event) and she doesn’t use passive aggressive tactics to manipulate me.  She just LOVES ME.  And she loves her other ten children just as unconditionally.

Like God. None of us says she loves one more than the other. No favorites. Unconditional love available for eternity for all of us.  Just like God.  So that’s where I’ve learned my concept of God, from my mother.

And my mom is my medicine.

100 Followers!

Yay! Party! I just got my 100th follower!

Hope Flows

Girl with a balloonThis hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil. Hebrews 6:19

Looking back at some of my old posts I was drawn today particularly to this one which sounds a lot like where I am today.  A little disconcerting to realize this was written almost five years ago, back in 2008–and I’m still in “this place today.”  Yikes!

The truth is my spiritual, family and professional life travels in cycles: re-birth, exploration, running the race, and the fall. Would love to avoid the falls, but the older I get I realize how necessary the falls are in leading me to more growth.

I’m in a re-birth phase today, in transition in all areas of my life:

From professional salesperson to my true love, which is writing with an eye for marketing and design.

From Mom of two little boys that need full-time supervision to having a lot more independence–Ben is old enough to “babysit” so even at night my husband and I can go out for a couple of hours and leave them at home if we want to.  Also, they’re both needing me less and less for help with school.  They attend a top Catholic school and the academics can be quite rigorous.  It seems they’re in their grooves, keeping up, handling the workloads on their own.

From newlywed and “young married couple” to a 15 year marriage that has weathered some storms and has the scars to prove it.  There is an acceptance and humility in our marriage now.  We’re not invincible anymore.  We need to actively “protect” and nurture our marriage.  It doesn’t run on autopilot anymore.

From financial fairytale ignorance to cultivating and developing a financial plan for our family that is diversified and works with reality, not with dreams. Investing all of our time and money in real estate, dreaming our investments would sustain us to and through retirement turned out to not be a great plan when the housing market tanked, along with our “dreams.”

From daughter who brings all my problems to my Mom to adult daughter who realizes that my 80-year-old parents need some help.

From a three-year stressful period of not taking care of myself physically to beginning again my self-care, more AA meetings and more running.

abandon hope2I love my life today. I feel good.  I have hope. As Pope Benedict said in the opening paragraph of his encyclical on Hope, “The present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey.”

Hope is one of the great themes in the Bible. The Pope observes a deep link  between faith and hope, so much so that, in some passages, they are almost “interchangeable.” He draws on the Letter to the Hebrews, Letter to the Ephesians and other New Testament letters to make his point.

In Ephesians, our Pope points out to us, “To come to know God—the true God— means to have hope.”

He discusses Paul’s encounter with the Ephesians. “Before their encounter with Christ they were ‘without hope and without God in the world’ (Eph 2:12).” In spite of their empty gods, the Ephesians “were ‘without God’ and consequently found themselves in a dark world, facing a dark future.”

Hope, of course, in and through Christ, leads to the light.

I had a rebirth of hope back in 2007–I remember it distinctly.  But it wasn’t even a couple of years later–in 2009 I went back to work in sales to ease our financial troubles at home–when my priorities shifted, and God was eased out of His place of prominence in my life. My spiritual life (from which the rest of my life breathes) didn’t flow.  Funny how life doesn’t flow very well when I’m not remembering to live in God’s will every morning.

It wasn’t on purpose.  I got attracted to working again, having a lot of money, being praised and liked by others. I won sales awards, and I chased each next thing I could accomplish to get me more praise and attention. More!

The malaise snuck up on me.  Taking a good job with plenty of income and benefits seemed to be a good idea at the time. It was a good thing, right?  But little by little I was losing “myself” by drifting from my God, chasing as Pope Benedict described above “empty gods.”

I have finally turned the corner to head back in His direction with my full attention.  It’s weird to say this, but quitting my job last April was the first step for me back to God.  And I have HOPE once again. We just don’t have much money. 🙂

My “goal” is God will.  And if I remember each morning to ask God to direct my thinking and my actions for this day, then hope flows. It’s as simple as that. Yay!