Finding God in life’s turmoil and small mercies.
With Karen and Derek Boylen
The Easter Tridium is a time that our family looks forward to and this year in the Boylen household things got off to a good start. We celebrated a lovely seder meal before Mass on Holy Thursday night. Good Friday was planned, we would go to stations have a light lunch of “Jesus time” food and then attend Veneration. A holy, prayerful Easter looked to be on the cards.
God had other plans. We woke up on Good Friday to the delightful sound of our three year old daughter, Jordyn, throwing up all over the bedroom floor. Isaiah, our five year old, followed shortly thereafter and all our prayerful, holy plans went down the drain.
Watching five children sit at a table looking miserably at their Easter eggs because they feel too sick to eat them is heart wrenching.
Sometimes, people mistakenly think that the goal of life’s spiritual journey is to model our lives on monks piously praying in silent, peaceful monasteries.
For those called to such a vocation this may certainly be part of their life journey. However, it is a false expectation for those whose vocation is marriage and parenthood. Our vocation calls us to discover God in sleepless nights and children’s spew.
The Boylen Easter bout of gastro taught us a few lessons. It taught us to be patient; it took a while for us to get through to Jordyn that she really did need to take the bucket EVERYWHERE she went.
It taught us to be kind; however tired and grumpy we felt, our little ones felt even worse.
Gastro taught us not to be resentful or to take offense. However unjust it seems, gastro isn’t anyone’s fault. Our children weren’t trying to make us unhappy, we were all victims.
Our Easter experience also taught us to endure whatever comes. Right from the beginning we knew things were only going to get worse, and they did.
However, while the gastro didn’t last more than a week, three things did last after our Easter experience; our Faith, Hope and Love (see 1 Corinthians 13). The turmoils of family life are the key way that couples and families grow close to God. It’s part of God’s plan.
What gives us hope is that it mirrors the Easter story. In the turmoil and sometimes suffering that life throws at us, His redemptive hand is at work, teaching us to love and drawing us close to him. When we reach out and love our families through the ups and downs of life, we let God’s love be realised through us.
Sometimes things don’t go according to our plan. Sometimes we get unwelcome surprises. But if we look with a prayerful heart, and strive to live a life of love, God blesses us with small mercies.
We took advantage of the gastro opportunity to attend Good Friday services without any sick little ones. Derek went to Stations and Karen went to Veneration.
We got to pray uninterrupted and without having to juggle family members. We had planned a different experience of Easter 2009, but God took over and showed us, that his plans too can bring us closer to him.