Tell me I’m not the only guy who does this.
Maybe it’s just my normal level of weird… mental issues… but I can’t help but wonder where my future wife is in the instant I’m thinking about her. Part of me is like: “Is she even out there?” Another: “I’ve got to ask her what life was like on this specific day, when I meet her.” And still another part: “Have I already met her? Did I miss a potential first meeting?!”
Honest to goodness, the last is probably the most, er, taxing. Stressing. Mind-boggling. It makes one insane just thinking about it, but I can’t help dwelling on it occasionally. It’s not easy to put out of my head. No idea why. And I’m not making excuses for myself either.
Now, another thing. I have told myself that I’ve never felt a call to priesthood or a religious order. That much, I think is true, thus far. If things change, I will give a shout or something. That constant question, right?
It all boils down to a matter of direction, something I have yet to figure out or learn to handle. I believe that life is exactly that for many – scratch that, all – people. Uncertainty and all that, is a part of human nature in this day and age. The future is uncertain, and the past is, well… semi-clear, yada yada yada.
Callings are tricky things. It’s a matter of leaping off the cliff. Giving oneself in full commitment, as my older sister said during a car ride to a pre-college test. That’s really the only moment where we understand what we were working towards. We’ve already crossed the gap, and in hindsight, everything fell into place thanks to the awesome First Mover, with regards to our vocations. Actually, just leave it at everything. Yep, First Mover moves everything.
Going back to the analogy of peaks and seeing what we’ve accomplished, you know how people tell you not to look down, the higher you go? Poppycock. I think looking back at what you’ve achieved and understanding how it has changed you is vital to the future. And yes, I advise looking down even if you’re on a mountain. Unless that makes you sick, because someone far below will not appreciate that.
Then again, maybe people tell you not to look down because of fear. However, the analogy still holds. Being imperfect human beings, we have a lot of failings in our past that stick in our minds. Looking back on those and seeing only those is grounds for failure. We must not fail.
A lot of the time, people forget one thing about looking down/back. There is beauty in the past and far below where you find yourself in your climb. Maybe the fear goes to the forefront of their minds, maybe their eyes have been blurred by something that shades the glorious view from them. Either way, I can understand the difficulty.
I find it easy to say: “Oh, I’m 16, I’ve got time.” Confession? Yeah, I kind of lie about that feeling of having time. I’m more anxious about it than I have any right to be.
I am concerned about my future, whether it be the near and present educational trials, or the far off peaks of marriage/ordination. And when I find myself looking back from where I’ve come, I’m afraid. Why?
That nagging feeling of a missed opportunity. That question asking: “Was she – ?”
Yeah, I return to that specific feeling. There are several others I could point out, but I started with this one, so I might as well end with it as well. Spin around a few hundred times, and instead of finding a potential dancing partner, you’re likely to just end up dazed and confused. Believe me, that’s what searching feels like. This disorienting mess of mine. And yet it is mine. Hmm… that’s depressing. Well, not really. There are better things to be depressed about… no, wait, that came out wrong.
I’m the kind of guy who has scanned the room at least three times before I’m fully in it. The kind of guy who wonders what a full-time profession will be like. Someone who’s looking for something both tangible and yet intangible at the same time. I feel like I’ve said that line before. At least I’m consistent, I guess.
What I’m trying to say is… what am I saying?
I confessed my fear of missed opportunities, something about peaks…. how are these related?
They are, it’s just that my brain is not yet responding. Give it a moment.
No, not a moment. A Steubenville trip.
About 17 days after I started this (yeah, that’s a while), I went to the Franciscan University of Steubenville for a retreat, something that I will definitely write an extended blog post on.
It started in confession, where I had doubts about living up to being a future husband thanks to well… all my failures. The priest in the confessional – oh, how I wish I could have remembered to ask for his name – told me that Satan’s last throw of the dice would be to plant a seed of doubt in my mind. Very small, but enough to make me very, very afraid of the future. It would make me question myself in an endless loop, with no resolution. But God through Father showed me that – and he was very blunt about it – it was ridiculous. No, not me or what I said, but what the devil keeps whispering to me. So basically, there I was, looking back down the mountainside, not taking in the beauty, but fearing what lay in the past, what lay below. But the priest pointed me heavenward. Thus, by the Grace of God, I will see my vocation through to its fulfillment, because Jeremiah 29:11!
As for missed opportunities, I’ll move to Saturday. It was FANTASTIC. After a Friday confession, I could enjoy the entire rest of the weekend, renewed and strengthened in the spirit. I still had the same fears, the same doubts, but I was ready to take them on, for I had been refreshed. It came to the fore in Adoration. The speakers kept telling us to let our worries drop aside, and it was in Adoration that I actually did. It was exhilarating, and for some reason, I started laughing when I saw the monstrance. It was crazy, because I never do that. The reason that I began laughing was – after some probing – a sudden realization that all my problems were insignificant in the face of God RIGHT before me. Everything became hilarious, and I was one of the many joyfully laughing that night.
Finally Sunday, there was a clarity and contentment in the fact that I was not alone. A full circle. I joined arms with Annie and Alex, and they joined arms with Teresa and Johnny, and on and on it went. God was within me and around me in all my brothers and sisters. I lived in the moment, just… at peace there.
On Friday, I faced my fears in confession, and began laying them down. Saturday, I completed the latter step, and found my fears to be insignificant. Sunday, I truly saw the gift I had been given in those people who surrounded me. Why worry about missed opportunities and look back at the negative, when I had a glorious opportunity that I was living right then and there?
So bringing it back to my fears for the future wife, is it going to be easy to be content until the moment I know her? Probably not, but I have found a great moment of clarity, and that was enough to keep me standing. It is in God’s hands, and as I said in my last post, He will put her in my life at the right time.
With this, I, following the example of the speakers, encourage you to lay your fears and anxieties at the foot of the cross. There are precious few moments of peace in this day and age, so don’t crush them under those things outside of your control. Oh, and look up the serenity prayer. That’s all I’ve got, people. I’ll be praying for all of you. Good night!