Sunday, April 16, 2006

easter prayer

Sometimes I feel so in love with Steve that it's scary. I don't mean this in a sappy way. I really mean scary. Because the more you love someone, the scarier it is to contemplating losing him (or her). There is a part of me that is always scanning the horizon for possible danger (enneagram type six?). So, every once in a while, I get hit with this anxiety that something this good and amazing - our marriage, our happiness - could so easily be taken away. That I could lose him. This is why I pray for his safety every time he goes out for a run or drives home from work on a rainy night. The cruel part is that the happier I feel with him, the harder the anxiety can hit.

And so there are little moments like these: Today, Steve and I were joking around about some silly thing we could say to our son when he's a teen-ager, and how he'll roll his eyes and think his parents are such dorks. And we were laughing about this, looking forward to it all, and suddenly this dark thought popped into my head: What if Steve weren't here? What if something happened to him and he were to miss all of these moments we dream about? My life would feel so empty without him there. There would be no laughter like this. No inside jokes, the kind that come so easily and readily to us. The rich, private world we inhabit together would dissolve into thin air. (And I can't begin to imagine what it would be like to lose our son. Not to mention if Steve lost me - or us. Those are whole other posts.) Life can be so fragile - I know that. I've seen it happen to other people, and it fills me with anguish to see the toll such a devastating loss takes on them. So this afternoon, when this thought came into my head, it nagged at me a bit, even when I tried to push it away. It made me cling to him a little more tightly.

Yet, as Steve often reminds me, life is also beautiful. He, who has experienced real loss - more than I ever have - finds such beauty in the world that it puts me in awe. I think of this morning, when he got up and discovered the chocolate-filled Easter basket I'd left for him. He was so incredibly happy and surprised! I had to sneak down to the basement during one of my middle-of-the night bathroom trips to get it and bring it upstairs. I left it on the toilet seat because I knew that would be the first place he would go when he got up. Sure enough, it was ... and he never saw it coming. Hearing his boyish expression of delight from the bathroom made me giggle under the covers, and it completely made my day.

And so, especially on this Easter Sunday, I don't want to let the dark thoughts and anxieties overwhelm me. I want to be a person of faith and optimism, someone who can live in the present and appreciate every moment we have together. I want, desperately, to be filled with trust that something so good in my life can actually keep on being good for many years to come - that the odds are in our favor. That we deserve happiness. That I deserve it. Because I've been in that place where I feel undeserving of love and happiness, and it is not good.

For Christmas this year, a friend gave Steve and me a copy of a StoryPeople print - the one that says: "Feels like some kind of ride but it's turning out just to be life going absolutely perfectly." Sometimes, when I look at it sitting propped up on our bedroom dresser, my heart swells up with tears of recognition, with this feeling that maybe it's possible. That, in fact, it's absolutely true for us right now. And I should just relish that with gratitude - and spend more time focusing on the life in front of me and less time scanning the horizon. And to trust, as my husband does, that life is beautiful.

So that, I guess, is my prayer this Easter evening.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

One grows closer to holiness through perfect love and gratitude each moment of your life because those are what bear fruit. Bearing fruit is at the root of Christian living. You cannot avoid the future or worry about it, because your spiritual gifts are lived out in the present according to God's plan. Remember that Jesus mourns right beside you when you suffer, but it's the divine gift of grace through suffering that also bears fruit to the world.
You may enjoy reading "Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux." Her simple, "little way" of finding joy in all things is one of the most revered theological teachings of the Catholic church.