July 22, 2011 by Nicole
The last few weeks back from my pilgrimage have been an interesting test of my commitment to maintain the conversion that I experienced while at Lourdes. So far, I have kept to my “plan;” I have gone to an extra mass for the last two weeks, I have been more committed to praying my Rosary to reflect on the life of Jesus, and I have been looking for more opportunities to represent my faith as a Christian.
The last few weeks have also been an interesting exercise in patience, as my husband again has two potential job prospects on the horizon. I have done my best to be prayerfully patient about what might happen, even if once again God wants us to continue to wait for the opportunity He has in store for us. Of course, it goes without saying that as in New York, my being Catholic might be a problem for one or both of these churches; I might once again be judged because of who people think I am, or what people think I believe. And once again, I will find myself questioning why our marriage seems to present itself as such a roadblock to another faith community.
But if I have learned anything from my unique position as the wife of a pastor in the last few years, it is that you cannot allow a select (and very small) number of people to shake your commitment to God and faith in His plan. Moreover, since I have returned from Lourdes, I have learned something even more important about this experience.
I don’t think I ever really understood what it means to have faith–real, honest to goodness faith–in God. Particularly after the outcome at the church in New York, I was angry at God. Why did this have to happen? Why can’t you fix this? How long are we going to suffer through heartbreak after heartbreak, and how much longer do we have to experience letdowns and disappointment? Each time seemed to get closer to where I wanted to be, and thus the disappointment of being denied the finish line –merely feet away–was becoming unbearable.
What I have come to realize is that I don’t really trust God for my “daily bread” as much as I think I do–or thought I did, rather. The anger of disappointment got in the way of steady prayer. The verse in Matthew 6:33: “But first be concerned about God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all of these things will be provided for you as well” (NAB) reminded me of something I had not really thought about before; the anger comes because the thing I have been seeking and desiring above all else is not God’s kingdom, rather earthly comfort, financial stability, and everything else that most people want in life.
Don’t get me wrong–I am not saying that these things don’t appeal to me, and I don’t enjoy struggling on a monthly basis to make ends meet; I clearly don’t enjoy the strain that this puts on my ability to be a good wife. But I think that what I ought to be concerned about is whether I can recognize and not take for granted the “daily bread” God provides for me every day. I ought to be less concerned with why people do what they do, and more concerned about whether I can continue to pray with steadiness and love for God’s love for me in times when I am frustrated and angry about the challenges and difficulties in life, and especially to love and pray for people who especially need God’s help in their own lives when it comes to loving people of other faith communities.
So, once again, here we are, waiting to know the outcome of this latest job interview–waiting to know if having an interfaith marriage will once again be a potential challenge that some people cannot yet overlook or accept. For my part, I will continue to pray for the strength to remain steady, especially if the answer is once again to wait.