Make the Wait Worth It

weddingI keep writing about the same subject, but perhaps it’s as helpful as writing about the reflections in the many facets of the same gem. Here we go again!

I fall, sometimes, into the dangerous trap of seeing Oliver’s conversion as a goal which, once attained, will make my life easier and more enjoyable. I would be able to hang religious images in my house, and I might have someone who can take Lillian out of Mass if when she becomes unruly. I might be able to create family celebrations around feast days. I might be able to pray over my dinner, or hold a rosary in a thunderstorm without being questioned. I subconsciously think that if I can just hold on until that moment, then my entire life would be renovated and made new.

But that’s selfish.

Extremely selfish, I might add. I ought to desire Oliver’s conversion solely because I think it will do him good to have a relationship with a person, Jesus Christ, and be able to ultimately inherit eternal life with Him. It’s wrong of me to ever view my husband’s spiritual life as a problem to be fixed. The view is too narrow. I should always be praying for him in every aspect of his life.

The goal mindset also discounts God’s ability to use this indeterminate wait to allow me to grow in holiness and shape me into someone entirely new. Someone who may be able to more consistently rise above her selfishness to desire the ultimate good, even at tremendous cost to herself, of her spouse.

My homegirl, Servant of God Elizabeth Leseur says this of the same trial in which I have been living:

And then one’s self-love does not like a state of things that makes one less esteemed and appreciated and apparently unequal to one’s task. That perhaps is the true, hidden fruit of this trial: a little useful humiliation, less dangerous sympathy and admiration, very deep pain that does not elicit any praise.

Y’all. Don’t waste the wait.

Trust God and allow him to infuse your wait with meaning. There is no “happily ever after” here. We are all pilgrims. There is only more journey.

[Funny story. Oliver and I were married as two non-Christian, unbaptized people in a Catholic Church before the Blessed Sacrament by a Church of Christ minister. It sounds like it could be the start of a joke. For serious.]

Domestic Camino

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I was little and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said, “an explorer like Indiana Jones.” I am still captivated by the idea of the journey. For the most part my dreams of travel have been tempered by lack of time and money. But still, I yearn for the walk.

So far I have spent my Lent reading Spiritual Lessons Along the Camino as my Lenten devotional. The book includes 40 spiritual lessons complete with Scripture that the author learned from her pilgrimage walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I hope I can walk the Camino de Santiago some day.

Yesterday with my imagination aflame, I opened the drawer of my jewelry box seeking my baptismal shell pendant only to find it nestled in the crook of my Appalachian Trail wishbone. I hesitated, and then strung them together onto the same chain. I’ve always been one for symbolic jewelry. I bought the wishbone right before I took off on my 200 mile Appalachian trek and received the shell from my cousin on the night I was baptized. The shell is also the symbol of the Camino.

An international, month-and-a-half long pilgrimage is a difficult goal to possess when you are also the mother of a 4-month-old and a two-year-old, and your dream can not be anything more than something far off and unfeasible and barely glimmering on the distant horizon. I think that for now it will have to do to just live my life of base domesticity in the spirit of a pilgrim rather than setting off down an actual trail. I want to remember that my entire life should be a pilgrimage leading me closer to God.

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What should being a domestic pilgrim look like?

1. Eliminate some of the noise. A pilgrim would spend the day walking in silence, open to the inspiration of God. To a certain extent I think it’s possible to do this every day. This Lent I have given up listening to the radio in the car. It’s hard to do. I used to go on drives just to listen to podcasts, but the silence had definitely not been empty.

2. Walk in conversation and expectation. Pray earnestly and expect God to communicate with me. Live in a spirit of “seeking”. Something I struggle with. Number one helps with this one! .

3. Be humble. Be small. Accept everything as coming from the hand of God. Give up thinking that I “deserve” anything better. Become more of a minimalist.

4. Local Pilgrimage. Embark on some local (driving distance) types of pilgrimages. I live near San Antonio, easy distance from some old Franciscan missions, San Fernando Cathedral, the National Shrine of the Little Flower, Oblate Grotto. I could attend a Latin Mass for the first time. I could visit the Mission of Divine Mercy. I could commit to going to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on a regular basis. Really, there are so many possibilities.

Thoughts? What am I missing?