We are asked throughout Advent to stay ready. For the next few weeks I invite you to reflect with me on the many forms of readiness.
For behold, all generations will call me blessed.
I didn’t date much before I met my fiancé. There were a sprinkling of dinner-and-a-movies, sometimes more than one with the same man in succesioon, but I never cared to give my time or my heart to any of those kind, well-meaning men who crossed my path.
In the years leading up to meeting Robert I turned down dates with men because those men were too old or too far away. I am now engaged to someone older and farther away than any of them. Funny how life works out.
So why did I fall in love at thirty, other than that he compliments my cooking even when it’s crummy, he knows the names of the homeless people outside the courthouse where he often works, and he pours me lemonade when I’m sick and dehydrated? Because I had an open heart and an open mind when a miracle sat down next to me on the train. I was ready.
It hasn’t been perfect. Though Robert is clearly one of the great blessings of my life, it took me time to accept this blessing without reservation. The distance between us – and the dream life we are willing to wait for, which doesn’t involve either of us dropping everything to move right now – causes strain. I am tempted to zoom my focus in on the frustration and ignore the blessing, afraid that if I allow my heart to be truly grateful, God will not know how badly I want certain things to change.
An unexpected pregnancy, a child who stirred the pot and died an early, brutal death: none of this could have been the life that Mary expected.
Those were not the blessings that she wanted. And yet, all generations have called her blessed.
I start a new medication today. My doctor nearly had to beg me to start this “stepped-up” injectable. I don’t want to take something so strong, something that adds more evidence to the argument that I truly am chronically ill.
But I want to feel better. I want the energy to write and sing and socialize. I want to be able to engage all the blessings of my life. So after much cajoling and almost a year of pain, I will try.
Am I ready for the blessing of relief this might bring me? I don’t know. I haven’t convinced myself it will be a blessing in itself. I want to be healed by vitamins or time or divine intervention, not potent medications.
I still want blessings on my own terms.
In these last, difficult years I haven’t abandoned my conviction that we have a God who offers abundant love, and that grace allows the possibility to pull goodness out of the most tragic situations. Even when life hurts, God can rain down blessings. I pray I will be ready to accept them wholeheartedly.
What blessings have you resisted because you weren’t ready?
Fran Rossi Szpylczyn says
Beautifully put! I find myself asking similar questions, but how you have framed this… well, it is beautiful. Before Mark and I reconnected after our 24 year hiatus, I had what I called my “list of non-negotiables” – he broke every one, and here we are. God knows…
Every blessing to you and Robert.
claire bangasser says
Many many blessings on your engagement, Margaret!