Skip to main content

Gaudete Sunday...and not really happy about it

Today is Gaudete Sunday, the "halfway mark" of Advent that focuses on the joy of the nearness of Christ.  In fact, the readings virtually shout "rejoice, rejoice" at us - He is almost here!

And I'm not very happy about it.

Let's be clear.  Today is not about "happiness".  Happiness relies on external stuff:  your belly is full, you've got the stuff around you desire, you're comfortable, etc.  Joy is a whole other state:  it's about being able to rejoice DESPITE the lack of these things.  Joy is about recognizing that I'm never going to be completely happy in this life - because I'm never going to have all I want here.  It is only in Christ that we find joy.

All that being said, I'm not very happy today.  Our van got totaled this week - right after we borrowed $600 to have it repaired.  I spent the week scrambling to find a school to take Dark Haired Daughter, who got released from residential treatment about a month earlier than we had originally been told - and we got very short notice about it.  As you might imagine, schooling choices for a mentally ill and cognitively-challenged teen on probation are limited - ahem.  I finally found a place, but couldn't get anyone there to return my phone call.  Finally, I just showed up, papers in hand and demanded (nicely, but demanded) to enroll her.  All of which is great, but they have a uniform, and today I have to head out and shop for her....with money we don't have, 'cause the van just got totaled......and on it goes.

I had to get a surprise root canal (and let me tell you, the only thing worse than a root canal is a surprise root canal) and it still hurts.  This whole week was just horrid.

In the midst of it, I got a note from one of our spiritual advisors, a Franciscan Sister:  I kept asking myself what I could do to help the situation.  Finally it dawned on me - I can offer my suffering and pain that I have been living regarding our dog, Sophia.  It has been an arduous journey, but we finally came to the decision to have her put to sleep, and I just returned from the Vet's office.  She will be buried on our land.  I believe that my suffering through this whole process will be redemptive for you.  It is what I have to offer.

If I hadn't been at work, I would have put my head down and wept at that:  it was a moment of joy...pain and passion and support and knowledge that we are not alone in this very difficult time.

Today is Gaudete Sunday, and I'm not very happy.  But I am resolved to be joyful.

Comments

  1. Oh :( I hope next week is better for you! Thanks for your explanation of the difference between happiness and joy - how cool! :o)

    I'm a new follower from Catholic Mothers Online. Please feel free to come by my blog, and if you like, follow me back.

    Jamie
    For Love of Cupcakes

    ReplyDelete
  2. Praying for you, Elise. May your joy be complete.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for stopping by, Jamie! I will definitely be over for a visit!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hon, feeling your pain...it's been hard in different kinds of ways here and trying to take on the Word and not myself...oy. Sunday here was all about joy as well, and how we are such a complaining people. It is HARD when we try and find joy in things that would otherwise knock us out! Trying also to be joyful in things that throw us for a loop and yet, we still stand on the Word, clinging...Like you, we have no roadmap and no one to lean on, but HIM. Peace, Sister.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

I love comments, even if you don't agree, but please don't leave anonymous posts. A well-mannered reader leaves a name!

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Trauma Mama

Dear Husband and I both enjoy certain medical shows, such as "ER" and "Code Black." ("St. Elsewhere" was another fave!) These shows revolve around trauma: humans who'd been ambushed by life: a car accident, a fire, and abuse, as examples.

More often than not, these shows also highlight the trauma the doctors and nurses needed to deal with. Having a patient die is always offensive to a doctor: they are charged with saving lives and losing one is the ultimate failure. Nurses spend more time with patients, and can forge strong bonds with people that may be in their lives for just a few days.

But trauma doesn't always look like a bloody body being wheeled into an emergency room, or a house surrounded by fire trucks and police cars. Trauma comes in many forms.

According to one website, trauma can look like surgery. It can look like moving. Trauma can be losing a beloved spouse or more horrifying, a child. Trauma can also be chronic pain, loneliness, m…

Be Brave

A few years ago, it came to my attention that a young family member was struggling with anxiety and depression. I was able to share with her a bit of my own struggles, and let her know she wasn't alone.

A few weeks after our talk, I saw the movie, "Brave." It struck me that the young protagonist, Merida, modeled a great quality. She was indeed brave.

Being brave is not about recklessness. It is not about confidence. It's not about being foolish, or looking for glory in the eyes of others.

Bravery is about doing what is right, even when you are a quivering mess. It's about knowing that things may not turn out the way you expected, but forging ahead anyway. Being brave is standing by the hospital bed while a loved one is dying, and all you really want to do is turn back time. Bravery is standing up to a bully, when your legs are screaming for you to run. Brave is doing what needs to be done even when you're scared and tired and feeling helpless and hopeless.

I …