Our son, Justin, is deploying to Afghanistan on Saturday, and I am dreading him being over there. I’ve gone up and down with it, cried some tears, and moped around. I’ve felt guilty for being so sad.
Justin will be getting married when he returns in September or October. I keep thinking, “What if he doesn’t make it back? I can’t look forward to a wedding that may not even happen.” And I feel like a bad Catholic for my doubts and my worries.
Recently I heard something on EWTN Catholic Radio about offering up our suffering to God. I’m not exactly sure what is meant by that; maybe it means that carrying our cross is pleasing to God. Not because God wants us to suffer, but because it strengthens our faith and gives us depth of character.
I cannot change my feelings, and I don’t think that God wants me to be disingenuous. In his ministry on earth, Jesus got angry, cried, felt apprehensive and experienced many other emotions because he was human. It makes me feel better to know that God truly identifies with our suffering because He suffered Himself.
Every Monday morning I meet with two women. We do a little each week to prepare for the upcoming wedding of one of them. Today (Monday) I was a preoccupied with my thoughts, and I guess that it was noticeable because one of the friends said, “What are you thinking, Jenna?” I decided to be honest instead of brushing off my feelings or denying them.
After I explained, my friends came to the consensus that we didn’t need to meet next week. They thought that I would want to be by myself. But after I thought about it, I decided that we didn’t need to cancel getting together next Monday. I would feel better if I was busy doing something positive.
My friends’ compassion touched me. I am a private person when it comes to talking about my own deep sadness, and it was a big step for me to admit that I was feeling down. I should do it more often, because most of the time people want to help.
So today, I offer up my sadness and worry to God. He can do with it as He sees fit. God gave me my precious son and is perfectly able to protect him in Afghanistan. I accept whatever is God’s will because He will give me the grace to accept it. I thank God for giving us feelings because it makes us more compassionate towards others — just as He is compassionate to us.
I will live one day at a time praising God for his sacrifice, care and continual love. And I will look forward to my friend’s wedding and the wedding of our son.