Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Legacy Box - Love

In my legacy box today: Does your definition of love change throughout your life?

Your definition, your understanding of that definition, the way you express love...all of that changes throughout your life. You do what you can with what you know then when you know better you do better, to paraphrase Maya Angelou. As a child love is that sense of security your parents give you. As a teenager it's that electricity you feel when a certain someone comes near. As a newlywed you realize it's both the feeling, the electric zap, and the security, "I can be myself with this person and he will not leave". As an older married couple love begins to focus on the other; how can I ease his path today? It's more active, less reactive. It (love) is always a choice, but never more so than in the middle of the night when one child is vomiting and the baby is crying and the parents haven't had a full night's sleep in seven years. To desire the good of the other is love.

I have not arrived. I am a highly selfish creature. Innately selfish; concupiscently selfish... and I have several medical conditions that often leave me inwardly focused. Yet I recognize love. My husband loves me as Christ loves the Church. His is a mature, generous, desiring-the-good-of-the-other love. I am beyond blessed to be his other.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Legacy Box - A Long Marriage

In my legacy box this morning was this question, "What is the secret to a long marriage?" Bill and I have been married seventeen years. We've already outlasted his parents' marriage (and those of over fifty percent of couples today). Yet, as I prepare a celebration for my parents' fiftieth anniversary next year, and as I look forward to the rest of our lives, Bill and I are just babies in this marriage business! But here's my best shot:

God! "A cord with three strands is not easily broken." Pray for and with each other, attend church as a family, read and share insights from spiritual books. Realize that you are your spouse's best chance to get to Heaven; take that seriously. Pray fervently for him, admonish him gently if he steps off the Path (do this out of sight and hearing of the children), praise him often, thank him more often. Be the spouse you want to have. Continue to grow throughout your marriage. You cannot change your spouse, only yourself. Pray. Communication, with God and each other, is important. But words, although small, are strong. Like bricks. Don't throw them around in anger, tearing things apart. Use them intentionally, building your relationship home. Touch is important as well, the kind that "leads somewhere" as well as that of solidarity. And pray.

I have to admit, Bill is much closer to this ideal than I. I have room and (God willing) time for improvement. The pain of marital discord and/or divorce must be incredible. And unfortunately, someone could follow my "advice" and still find himself in that situation. I'm so sorry we live in a fallen world. That we cannot choose our crosses. Although, now that I think of it, who would choose that cross anyway? Who would choose any cross? I think I've just wandered into another topic for another day. I'm off to strengthen my marriage!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Good Samaritan Seen Anew

This is straight from my morning devotions in Divine Intimacy this morning. It was so beautiful I had to share it.

"A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who also stripped him, and having wounded him, went away, leaving him half dead" (Lk  10:23-37).  That unfortunate man represents each one of us. We too have encountered robbers on our way. The world, the devil, and our passions have stripped and wounded us. Who can say that he does not have in his own soul some wound, more or less deep, left by temptation or sin? But, on our route, there was also a good Samaritan, rather the Good Samaritan par excellence, Jesus, who, moved by compassion for our state, brought us help. With infinite love He bent over our open wounds, curing them with the oil and wine of His grace. The oil represents its gentleness and the wine its vigor. Then He took us in His arms and brought us to a safe place, that is, He entrusted us to the maternal care of the Church, to which He has consigned the price of our ransom, the fruit of His death on the Cross.

The parable of the good Samaritan thus delineates the story of our redemption, a story which is ever in action and which is renewed every time we draw near to Jesus, humbly and regretfully showing Him the wounds of our souls. It is actuated in a very special way in the Mass,  where Jesus presents to the Father the price of our salvation, and renews His immolation for our benefit. We should go to Mass in order to meet Him, the Good Samaritan, to invoke and receive His sanctifying action. The more we recognize our own misery and our need of redemption, the more will Jesus apply the fruits of redemption to us. When He comes to us in Holy Communion, He will heal our wounds, not only our exterior wounds, but our interior ones also, abundantly pouring into them the sweet oil and strengthening wine of His grace.

See what I mean? Beautiful! And it calls to mind one of the songs we used to sing in Summer Break Players, a multimedia performing, traveling group I was in for several years. Basically the youth group for my church, but really cool. I cannot remember at the moment who wrote the song or unfortunately what the title is (hey, it's been 30+ years - I remember the lyrics!); I'll give due credit when I search it out.
Okay, the song is called My Eyes Are Dry by the amazing Keith Green who left us much too soon but is adding a little somethin'-somethin'  to the praise around the Throne.

My eyes are dry
My faith is old
My heart is hard
My prayers are cold
And I know how I ought to be
Alive to you and dead to me.

What can be done for an old heart like mine?
Soften it up with oil and wine.
The oil is you, your spirit of love.
Please wash me anew in the wine of your blood.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Legacy Box - Wedding Day

I've gotten to the "Your Courtship and Marriage" section in my Legacy Box now.  Yesterday's entry said, "Tell about your wedding day." This is what I wrote:

I had "planned" an outdoor wedding since I could first start dreaming of my wedding. We were going to marry in the amphitheater at Brown County State Park, with blooming dogwoods and redbuds in the background. But May 11, 1996 was 50 degrees Fahrenheit and drizzly so Bill decreed the wedding would be held indoors at the Abe Martin Lodge for the comfort of our guests. It really was the only logical decision to make. But he didn't consult me before making it! If he could make a decision that so drastically altered the wedding day without asking the bride, what did that foreshadow for the marriage? I very nearly did not go through with it. What he saw as a logical decision in just another day I saw as decisions continually made for me for the rest of my life without my input or consent no matter what plans I've already made. We've grown.

Now. A little more information. Bill stayed in the lodge the night before our wedding with his family and I stayed in a cabin with my folks. No phone. (Or cell phones.) We stuck with the STUPID old chestnut of "bad luck for groom to see bride before wedding" (who thought that nonsense up anyway?). The Abe Martin Lodge was our put-into-the-invitation backup plan. I did not hear of the change of plans from Bill (obviously), but from our wonderful photographer. I did not react well. Bill was surrounded by people; his family, early guests, our best man, my brothers (who served as ushers), the minister, the families of these assorted personages, not to mention the Lodge employees who took such good care of us. Many of these people, I found out YESTERDAY, were pressuring Bill to move the venue inside. He claims he can't remember who in specific. I was ALONE. My parents were decorating the amphitheater and my matron of honor, my Aunt Becky, chose to dress in her camper. I guess it didn't occur to her I might need supported.

So I'm preparing myself, absolutely torn as to whether I should marry this man at all. I cried all the first make-up off. I prayed a great deal. What carried the day was putting myself in his position. I knew this man I loved so much was very logical AND very thoughtful. With the weather the way it was, in his mind there really wasn't another choice. And while I was thinking 20 minutes on cool stone seats wasn't out of anyone's capabilities, he was truly thoughtful of our guests. These lovely folks had taken time out of their lives to share in our happiness - the least we could do is make them comfy.

So I married him. I've never regretted it. Shortly before I entered the Church we convalidated  our marriage in the Church. No outdoor weddings for our children; if God calls them to marriage they will be married in the church. Bill had always dreamed of being married in a church; we both made some compromises in our wedding. I hope I teach our children this: the wedding is just one day. Prepare for the marriage.