Thursday, January 29, 2009
“We must consider that there is no vocation that has not it’s irksome aspects, its bitterness, and disgusts. And, what is more, except for those who are fully resigned to the Will of God, each one would willingly change his condition for that of others: those who are bishops would like not to be; those who are married would like not to be; and those who are not married would like to be. Whence comes this general disquietness of souls, if not from a certain dislike of constraint and a perversity of spirit that makes us think that each one is better off than we?
But it all comes to the same: whoever is not fully resigned, let him turn himself here or there, he will never have rest...
But this is not all: we must not only do the Will of God, but in order to be devout, we must do it joyfully.... not only am I obliged to do what this trying vocation requires, but I must do it joyously, and must take pleasure in it and be contented. It is the saying of St. Paul “Let each one stay in his vocation before God.” (1 Cor 7:24)
How could I let the feast day of St. Francis de Sales (patron of writers) pass without notice?
I am trying to resign myself to this new aspect of life- living with a distant, belligerent, anorexic daughter who is weight restored but far from healthy and happy. I miss the chaotic predictability of mothering a large family- I’ve exchanged it for the certainty of relying on God’s grace for the moment. I miss the hopeful expectation that God will work miracles in each child’s life- I’ve exchanged it for the certainty that each life will have it’s own tribulations. I miss joy- and I haven’t found it’s equal yet in doing the hard Will of God.... but I’d like to.
Sometimes I have doubted my vocation as wife and mother. St. Francis would not approve.
There have been many dark moments these past 2 months. Sadly, I’ve noticed that when I am deep, deep down in the well of misery, my daughter is at her most clear headed, but as soon as I start to pull myself together, she slides back down. Maybe she enjoys berating me up when I’m down and showing her maturity in the face of my raw, uncontrolled instability. My poor husband has felt alone. My other children have been bewildered and saddened by the stranger who looks like mommy, but cries and screams and beats her head against a wall... who can’t make simple decisions for fear of making a bad parenting call and scarring their little psyches... who constantly second guesses what the “right” response is to any interaction with each child. I have doubted, not God’s love for me, but my ability to respond to that love. I have despaired. I have been on my knees at 2 a.m. I have had to repeat like a mantra “Mercy, Lord, mercy, have mercy on me, let this pass, mercy Lord.” I never felt the pressure to be perfect before, but now I’m scared that unless I DO make all the right choices for my children, they will wind up as unhinged as Zoe. And that has unhinged me.
But I have been alright for most of this week. God sent me Darlene, Christy, Amy, Amanda, and Chris. George was awakened by his Gaurdian Angel at 2 a.m. to pray for us 60 miles away. Regina told me “I think it is the hardest thing in the world to accept criticism of yourself as a parent because, like marriage, it is a job that is so hard and in which no one is ever perfect. We are trying to image the divine: of COURSE we are going to fail.” AND, Noah had his First Communion, so of course we’ve had special graces. Kim assures me “this is a time of pruning.” And I have taken to heart the cousel of St. John Bosco to practice “Reason, religion, kindness” in my dealings with my children. All except Zoe. I can’t seem to make a bridge to her that is fireproof.
So my vocation is to practice unconditional love, like God has for me when I am distasteful to Him. The child who needs my love the most is the one who pushes me away the most, and that I find most irksome. Go figure. But I keep trying again.