What a week it is been. I’m still processing it all and honestly, I’ve been struggling. I talked with my dear friend who is a priest and he said that one thing we can all take some comfort in is that we are not alone in our suffering. The whole world is currently enduring suffering together, simultaneously. The enormity of that thought is in a way comforting. However, it still is really hard to bear the heaviness of the cross. It is still tempting to feel alone.
Where I’ve been struggling is that I still am going to work like I always do every week. I’m in healthcare. We don’t shut down or close. We care and provide for the community in sickness and health. We work to prevent illness from occurring in the first place, but then when it does occur we comfort, mend, and heal the afflicted. We serve every day. This hasn’t changed. This won’t change. So even though the rest of the world is in quarantine, I still go out. This causes me some great anxiety. I’m surrounded by the ill. I’m entering into the most susceptible areas that could be carrying the virus. I don’t like to be alone so the threat of being exposed and having to quarantine and stay away from my family is a scary thought for me. I don’t want to expose anyone. I know others are struggling with this same fear. It’s isolating. What’s worse, is that it is not just me that is continuing to go into work. Ian is too. We are living that same reality.
Friday. I was so grateful it was Friday. I couldn’t wait to be finished with work for the week. I needed the weekend to relax and be away from the virus talk at work. I had plans to spend the weekend with Ian and it was the only thing that was getting me through the long, stressful week. Like I mentioned in a previous post (Gratitude is Better Than Attitude) , Ian and I live in 2 different states at the current, this will change when we get married, but until then, our distance remains. He was planning to travel to come and see me but then I got a phone call Friday. Ian’s work mandated that all employees could not cross state borders and return to work without an automatic 14-day quarantine or being first cleared by a doctor. Really!? This news hit my heart like a baseball bat. I had been worried this would happen and now it was the reality that was staring at me in the face. I tried to think of every possible way around this, including me just driving there for the day, but we both came to the conclusion that as much as it pained us, it wasn’t prudent for us to be traveling and we didn’t want to risk exposing anyone in the event we had possibly been exposed. Newsflash: I now don’t know when the next time I can see my fiancé will be. Please pray for me!! My Friday hope of a relaxing weekend, quickly was squashed.
I cried a lot. I asked God the whole list of questions including, “why?” I didn’t get an answer but I know that He is trying to help me grow. I know that at the end of this I will come out a stronger woman, a holier woman, a more faithful and trusting woman, a more loving woman, a more grateful woman. I know He is helping me grow in virtue. I know that He never allows suffering without following it with redemption of some sort. I know that if Jesus is allowing this suffering then it is because His glory will be made manifest through it. I know that Jesus is having mercy on me by allowing me to notice all of my attachments. Oh, how many things are my heart attached to besides Jesus that often take His place. He is helping me notice these so I can begin to loosen my grip on the things of this world that will never fully satisfy me. How difficult this process is.
I was praying the mass on Saturday afternoon and all of this was on my heart. So many questions, so much fear, so much anxiety regarding the unknowns was swimming around. Then, somewhere deep in the stillness of my heart the phrase “Be Satisfied,” resounded in my heart. Whew, Jesus. I immediately knew He was telling me to be satisfied with Him. Be satisfied with what He is doing in my life right now and be satisfied with what He has provided and given me at this place, in this moment. I was reminded of the prayer Ian and I were both praying separately prior to the Lord bringing us together, so I thought I would share it…
Be Satisfied with Me by St. Anthony of Padua
Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone, to have a deep soul relationship with another, to be loved thoroughly and exclusively.
But to a Christian, God says, “No, not until you are satisfied, fulfilled and content with being loved by me alone, with giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me. With having an intensely personal and unique relationship with Me alone.
Discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found, will you be capable of the perfect human relationship, that I have planned for you.
You will never be united to another until you are united with Me. Exclusive of anyone or anything else. Exclusive of any desires or longing.
I want you to stop planning, to stop wishing, and allow Me to give you the most thrilling plan existing…one you cannot imagine.
I want you to have the best. Please allow Me to bring it to you.
You just keep watching Me, expecting the greatest things.
Keep experiencing the satisfaction that I am. Keep listening and learning the things that I tell you.
Just wait, that’s all. Don’t be anxious, don’t worry, don’t look around at things others have gotten or that I have given them.
Don’t look around at the things you think you want, just keep looking off and away up to Me, or you will miss what I want to show you. And then, when you’re ready, I’ll surprise you with a love far more wonderful that you could dream of.
You see, until you are ready and until the one I have for you is ready, I am working even at this moment to have both of you ready at the same time.
Until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me and the life I prepared for you, You won’t be able to experience the love that exemplifies your relationship with Me. And this is perfect love.
And dear one, I want you to have this most wonderful love, I want you to see in the flesh a picture of your relationship with Me. And to enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting union of beauty, perfection, and love that I offer you with Myself.
Know that I love you utterly. I AM God. Believe it and be satisfied.”
So, as I read this, it became apparent to me why Jesus was whispering this to my heart during mass. I was praying so earnestly prior to meeting Ian. I was working on falling in love with Jesus and being content in the present moment; fully trusting that He was enough for me and that whatever was supposed to unfold in my life would happen in His time.
God brought Ian into my life in the most amazing way. I firmly believe with my whole heart that Ian was the one God chose to be my husband and He had the events of our life pan out in just the right way so our paths would cross and we would find each other. We both believe it was all the Holy Spirit….and the generous heart of a dear friend who listened to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. But it was really beautiful and our love story that God has written for us is my favorite.
Now, Ian is to be my husband. After our season of engagement preparation, we will make vows to one another and spend the rest of our lives learning to love each other and learning to love God with one another. It seems unfair that especially now, we are not able to be in each other’s physical presence. However, as I was praying about this, I realized that it actually may be a gift the Lord has given us. It is a gift to relearn the lesson that Jesus is the only one who can and will fully satisfy our hearts. He is giving both of us a season of reliance on Him to learn that even though Ian and I love each other very much, we will never be enough for one another. As much as I don’t want to, I know I will let Ian down and he will let me down. I will fail to be the wife I hope to be daily, the wife he will need me to be daily. I will disappoint him and frustrate him at times and I know this goes vise versa as well. The thought of it breaks my heart, but I realize our own weaknesses. We are not perfect but I know Ian will love me despite my imperfections and I plan to love him through all of his. But like I said, because of these things, we will never be enough for one another. I need God. Ian needs God. We need God in our marriage. We need to love Him first so that we can love each other better. We need to both learn to be completely satisfied with the love of God alone so when we fail to love each other well, we are still secure in the love of a never-failing Father who will soften our hearts and help us love each other even more through our imperfections. Jesus is trying to prepare me for marriage by teaching me the most important lesson I can learn: Ian will never fulfill me. Only God can fulfill me. I need to be satisfied with the love of God and God alone. Only then, will God give me the love that is far more wonderful then I could ever dream of. The love that exemplifies in the flesh, the love of God. The love that Ian and I will share. The love that Ian and I will be so much more prepared to rejoice in after this current season of pain.
This is only a season. It is meant for good. Let it draw my heart ever close to God’s and ever closer to Ian’s in the process. I pray the same for you all. Let this season of suffering and fear draw our hearts ever closer to the Lord’s. Let this season renew a passion in our hearts. Let this season transform us so we can blossom at the end of it and be shining lights of beauty and grace to the world.