I had a very good experience growing up Catholic, but like most people, have struggled with my faith. For me, I struggle the most with separating the faith from the politics, the human interpretation from the divine intent. But if there is one thing that I got from my years of Catholic school and from the priest who has been an important part of my family's life for many years, it's that the struggles are okay. So is the questioning. Faith is not supposed to be easy, homies. I'm pretty sure those were Jesus' exact words.
I am usually okay with living this type of spiritual life. Going to church, going through the 'motions', and more importantly, being part of the community and experiencing that presence in my life. Questioning, re-discovering, then questioning more.
And then reality hits, and you're all, like, wha?
Two things happened in the last couple of weeks.
1. This guy:
...who had some weird red spots on his belly, which the vet thought were bug bites. Turns out our little Dan was very, very sick and needed some serious medical intervention. It was a scary few days.
2. This guy...
...who has been nothing short of a father figure to me for the last eleven years, and the most loving and doting grandfather in the world to my children. Turns out Anna's medical equipment is a little faulty, and Ye Ye is now recovering from triple bypass surgery.
I, the good Catholic girl, who goes to church and owns multiple rosaries and can say the NEW Nicene Creed by heart, discovered something important about myself in all of this worry:
I have no idea how to pray.
The loss of control in both of these situations hit me hard. The worry, the panic, the fear, all of the things that should lead me to the comfort of my faith to get me through, overtook me. My prayers sounded a lot like this:
Lovely lady dressed in blue... Oh my god what if....
Our Father who art in Heaven... how about I bring some dinner over to my in-laws tomorrow...
Hail Mary, don't get distracted, get through this... Dressed in blue... wait, that's the wrong one. How can this be happening?
Whoever is listening, please protect my family. Help us through this scary time. And sorry for all the bad words I've been saying lately, especially regarding whoever bonked my car in the Target parking lot. What a... oops. Sorry. Amen.
When I got the call on Thursday from L that his dad's surgery had been successful, I felt like I could breathe again for the first time in two weeks. And that was when the praying started, the prayers that I am comfortable saying, the prayers that have connected me to my faith for the last thirty-five years.
Thank you, God! Thank you thank you thankyouthankyouthankyou!
Over the last couple of days, the prayers of thanksgiving have continued to flow. Thank you for the family I married into, thank you for the dog that we happened upon, thank you for my sweet babies who have the ability to cut the tension in a heart surgery waiting room with a green tutu:
and sparkly pink toes:
And thank you for the friends and family who have prayed with us. However you did it, it worked.