I confess, I’ve been a bad Catholic. Or at least an annoying one.
Ever since we found out that God was NOT calling us to adoption right now, I’ve been nervously pestering him. I pray “Jesus, I trust in you,” but he knows how weak a line that is. My usual prayers have gone something like this:
“Please, please don’t let me miss my vocation. I know you said don’t adopt and I’m ok with that, but what if those other people are right and if we don’t raise children then we’re missing our vocation? Please don’t let me miss my vocation. Please don’t let my life be a waste. Please let my life and my marriage mean something.”
His answer has always been the same:
“Don’t you trust in my goodness?”
And clearly that wasn’t doing it for me so he sent me a lightening bolt. Allow me to explain.
My Uncle Silvio died this week, 81 years old. His joy and humor was an inspiration for everyone. But it was his cross that was an inspiration for me, and this is what I want to share with you.
He was married for 59 years to my Aunt Violet. They were never able to have children, and they never adopted. And even though this lack of children was indeed a suffering their whole life long, this couple had an amazing gift. Everyone could see how much they were in love, and they were always such a pair. Everyone’s favorite aunt and uncle.
Aunt Vi’s sister, my Aunt Annie, was married to Uncle Sil’s brother Ben. In what seems like an incomprehensible twist of fate, my Aunt Annie and Uncle Benny had 8 children.
I don’t know how Aunt Vi and Uncle Sil dealt with this, or if this in itself was a struggle. I’ll have to ask my Aunt Vi one day. But this is what I do know: Aunt Vi and Uncle Sil loved those 8 nieces and nephews so much and became their second parents.
Now that Uncle Sil has passed, watching the outpouring from Aunt Annie and Uncle Benny’s kids and grandkids just shows how much this couple was truly loved by everyone. They were always so joyful and happy and funny and the life of every party—a party that traveled wherever they went.
I want to be them when I grow up.
Even though sometimes God doesn’t take away our crosses, he still loves us so, so much. He has a plan for us. We are going to suffer, but he is going to give it meaning. He is going to use it for his glory and our salvation. “He wants our hearts more than he wants our healing,” as Fr. Mike Schmitz said. And what a glorious thing it is, to give him our hearts.