Friday, January 13, 2006

Laying it down

You'd have to be a certain vintage of Catholic to recognize this phrase: "Offer it up." It speaks to the idea of offering up your cares and suffering to help the poor souls--people serving time in limbo before their souls can enter into heaven. It's a theological concept I don't really get, but it's essentialy about finding meaning in what seems meaningless and hopeless.

Which is about where I am at, these days, spiritually. I have really neglected my spiritual life over the last year. We go to church weekly, but what with trying to keep a little one reasonably occupied and quiet and quite frankly doing a little too much social activity versus spiritual activity as the Magpie considers church her personal fan club, I have not been as present as I would prefer to be. I am too "loose brained" as one of my church friends puts it, to do well with daily prayer. I feel like God is a good friend I email occasionally and who sends me great gifts, but not someone as present in my life as I would like Him to be, my own fault.

And our current situation doesn't help matters. We're both so freakin' depressed over our career travails, although I must say mine is going pretty well right now (knock wood). Paul's been on several second interviews but has heard nothing from any of them, and we were both hoping we'd know something by now. And here's a dirty little secret--my husband annoys me when he is depressed. He gets broody and cranky, makes ridiculous decisions and needs me the most precisely when he's the least fun to be around. I have been spending a lot of time pondering the concept of a sacramental marriage--that we are supposed to be representative of God's love to each other. That means I am doing a lot of biting my tongue and being patient and gentle, or at least shutting my giant flapping jaw when I can't achive that. Anyone who knows me even a little would understand that is far from my strong suit and it takes a lot of psychic energy.

I just feel lost in the wilderness, alone. It's a crappy feeling, which is what made what happened at church Sunday so amazing. It was during the Our Father, and I was in my usual pew with my parents and Paul and Maggie, joining hands and singing the familiar prayer. When suddenly it was as if everything else fell away and I saw as clear as anything all the love I have around me. I could feel the support and the love from everyone who feels it for us, as if all our many friends there were just beaming out their concern and caring for us (and I even felt it from a few people I don't know, too). It only lasted for a moment, but I know that was God showing me I am not carrying this burden alone, at all. It was an incredibly powerful moment of clarity. Paul talks about having those sometimes --it was what convinced him to go into social work. I have only had one other, also in church, when we were in the depths of our infertility. I felt a strong sense of God saying it would be all right, that a child would come to us. And of course it is more than all right.

Here's the thing: I have a very hard time realizing I am not driving this bus. I am responsible for my choices and actions, but my life is in God's hands. I can waste a lot of time and energy wrestling with something that's out of my control, or I can try to lay the burden on God and let things be what they will be. Funny how least resistance can sometimes be the harder path.


Jamie said...

I am coming in late here but I wanted to say that this is a lovely post.

Arwen/Elizabeth said...

Amy, I just linked over here from Selkie (you caught my eye because I also live in Motown, or at least near it).

I am Catholic too, and I just wanted to tell you that this post really touched me. I often feel that I'm not as spiritually present as I'd like to be - and I too have been blessed with moments like the one you write about here. So please, keep sharing - it does mean something.