Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Story

As I may have mentioned once... or twice... the last month has not been the most fun.  May really is doing better, but there have definitely been some feelings left over from April.  Starting off May with Mother's Day is not my favorite. Last year the Mass I went to didn't do the blessing of the mothers.  I was both relieved, and not.  I think mothers are awesome and deserve recognition, but I hate that it's so complicated for so many.  Still I don't want the mothers to get shorted their blessing because I have issues.  Can we just have a Mass somewhere for all those who would like to skip that part this Sunday?

Anyway, in the midst of revisiting all the feelings that I have about not having a husband or children to share my life with, I keep reminding myself that I can't live in what could have been, what my plan was that didn't work out, what I wish were the case, or what I might have done differently to lead to a different outcome.  I can only live in what is. That is my story.  The could've's, should've's, and would've's were The Plan, and my plan has fallen apart completely.  There is no plan left.  There is no knowing whether some of those elements will someday be a part of my story or not.  They are not right now at this moment, that is all I know.

I can tell you that I held on to The Plan for too long.  There was not room for pain and brokenness in The Plan.  When those came up, I rejected them, and unfortunately that left me with bitterness and emptiness as The Plan disintegrated. It also led to jealousy as I looked to others and could see in their lives the elements of the Plan that I have desired for so long.  Not to mention what it did to my relationship with God.  If my Plan wasn't good enough, then He was supposed to have a plan.  Only, He seemed to have forgotten me, or not loved me enough, or something.

So, The Plan is dead.  The story simply is what is.  It is this moment. It is the good and the bad.  It is the opportunities that present themselves today.  It turns out, that while the pain really sucks, embracing the pain as a part of this life and this moment is not all bad.  As a bonus, it doesn't leave much room for the bitterness.  I hate to tell you that the emptiness can still be a butt kicker. I don't embrace pain because pain is good.  But I embrace it because it can bring good things.  I have been broken by the pain.  There has been more breaking in the last month or so.  But I see things coming out of that that I never expected.  When you work out, you are not only okay with muscle soreness, you embrace it, because you know you are getting stronger.  Do you know how that process works? When you stress a muscle beyond what it can currently handle, little fibers of the muscles actually tear.  When it repairs, it builds back stronger than before! (Also, part of the reason why it is so important to have rest days as part of a healthy work out program, so your muscles have a chance to build back up!)

But, because the focus is more on what is, than on what isn't, living the story also gives me a chance to appreciate and delight in the good things that are in my life. There is a lot of that to focus on this month, and I am enjoying it.

I am starting to see more clearly that this pain, this suffering, the emptiness, all of it are not in my life because they are good things.  They're not.  But they can become something good, because the story is not determined by the one that brought sin into the world.  It is determined by the One that took what is and redeemed it.

At daily Mass today, we were singing "At the Lamb's High Feast".  There was one line that really got me: "When the paschal blood is poured, Death's dark angel sheathes his sword." I've always associated that with bodily death, and that is likely what it was referring to the most.  But whoever you are and whatever your pain is, it likely feels like death sometimes.  I know that's how it feels to me.  I can say things like "live the heck out of your story" but that doesn't mean I don't feel like throwing in the towel.  Today I was thinking how any of our pain and suffering, joined with His, has the potential to become life.  His blood poured out on all of our pain makes it something new.

Let me tell you, in the last couple of weeks, Papa (JPII) and I have been praying for some awesome blessings to be poured out.  You know, the kind of blessings that aren't in disguise.  I hope to join you all in some awesome stories of joy and praise.  But please know that I am also praying for you in the pain, because I know that there are a lot of people dealing with a lot of pain right now. 

I'm going to throw this in again.  Because I love it, and because I choose it as a part of my story for this month of May.


  1. About Mother's Day, I understand. A few years ago, the local K of C stood at the doors of my church and handed out carnations to mothers. A nice gesture which I wouldn't begrudge the mothers. Only, I wish the K of C had thought a litte more about how they were going to hand out the flowers. As I approached the door, the K asked me, "Are you a mother?" as he started to offer me a flower. When I replied that I wasn't, he drew back the flower. OUCH. If ever there were a time I really felt left out, that was one. I'm sure it must have been painful to the infertile women as well.

    "There is no plan left." This post could largely have been written by me. Single, late 40s, have experienced & continue to experience profound brokeness, grief and loss. Late April was awful; two situations for which I've prayed for months - novenas, Rosaries, you name it - were completely lost. May hasn't been better. Contrary to our Catholic faith, I must train myself not to hope, because I cannot bear any more the anger, despair and loneliness that swallow me when another hope is lost. It's ugly, but it's reality.

  2. What a beautiful post. I am truly sorry for your pain, and I will certainly be praying for you. Thanks for having the courage to share this--I know that it's not easy. Prayers for a peace-filled weekend!!!

  3. Beautiful!!! So raw and so real. Thank you for being so honest. This line really stood out -- "I can only live in what is. That is my story." It's calling me to live my life to the fullest TODAY, because today is all I've got right now. Thank you for the prayers, you and JP2! You both rock. Sending up prayers for you two!! Let's see some blessings not in disguise, please? :)

  4. Many prayers for you this weekend. This post brought tears to my eyes. I hope you find some comfort in knowing that you have touched this community. I don't know God's plans for you but I do know that he loves you. Praying for you.

  5. Just beautiful!
    I also had a tough April and am hoping for a better May. Thank you for the reminder that our story is unfolding every day.

  6. This was beautiful!!! I'm sorry April was so rough, it was horrible for me too, and I'm hoping and praying we both see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm starting to feel a little better emotionally, I think. I hope your prayers to JPII bear much visible fruit SOON! You said it: "it turns out, that while the pain really sucks, embracing the pain as a part of this life and this moment is not all bad." I'm learning this the hard way. Hope today was easy on your heart.

  7. I read this the day you wrote it, M, and haven't been able to stop thinking about it! Do you mind if I ask you a question (that you've probably already answered, but I was probably in full blown tantrum mode and unable/unwilling to listen to reason...)?

    "Only, He seemed to have forgotten me, or not loved me enough, or something."

    That. How did you/are you (as I realize it may be a process you are still in) get/getting past that feeling?

    It is one of the places I get stuck (obviously).

  8. Isn't that true? The plan is now garbage... and has been for about 3 years now. I avoided Mass on Mother's Day and headed over to the youth mass at the university -- hah! Worked for me.

  9. I like your idea - have a Mass where they don't focus on Mothers Day! It would be nice and less painful for so many.
    I pray your May is a better month - that Saint JPII intercedes for you - that you embrace today (I totally struggle with this ... I always think "I can do that tomorrow, etc") ... many prayers for you!!!

  10. Just now reading this. Loved every word. Favorite line? "I don't embrace pain because pain is good. But I embrace it because it can bring good things." Mmmhmmm.

    I am sorry you are experiencing this level of brokenness. Many of us have things that truly break our hearts and spirits this side of heaven and it doesn't seem fair. Sigh. But I love that you are praying for blessings to pour forth!!! Only a surrendered heart could have that type of hope in the midst of suffering.

    May God continue to surround you with peace and perhaps some blessings NOT in disguise ;)