Every time I read something about the current Synod, my head wants to explode. There is so much I want to talk about, but I can’t at the moment. It would take a good bit of time and effort to turn my jumble of thoughts into something coherent; with big things coming at me fast and furious I can’t divert much energy to all the fun tidbits the Synod is throwing out. Not yet, anyway.
But with the topics of marriage and family dominating Catholic news, it leaves me ruminating on how blessed I’ve been, and continue to be, in regards to my own marriage and family. I never thought about the influence my family had on me growing up until I married my husband; when my own marriage was deemed “freakishly harmonious” I was dumbfounded. You know all those articles that share the top qualities of a good marriage? I skim through every single one saying, duh…uh huh…DUH…yep (eye roll)…*sigh*, because to me those lists are nothing more than common sense. The reality is that these are not common sense, and that thanks to my upbringing I have been given riches far beyond any material possibility. I want to put my deepest gratitude here on record to the following:
1. My family. Growing up I was surrounded by loving couples raising their children to the best of their ability. From my grandparents (on both sides) to all of my aunts and uncles, every relationship I was exposed to can be summed up by two words: affection and fun. That doesn’t mean that each part of the family is perfect; as I found out later in life everyone had their share of dysfunction. But the fact that I was jaw-droppingly surprised at learning the less fun stuff about my loved ones speaks for how hard they all work to put love, optimism, and joy first in their lives. I am very grateful to my grandparents, my parents, my aunts and uncles, and my cousins for being such positive examples in the world. Thank you all.
2. My husband. Did you know that Grimm’s Fairy Tales, in their original versions, are really gritty? And bloody. And not always happy. But the happy endings, when they happen, are beautiful and inspiring and romantic. They just don’t require stunning vocal harmony, awesome hair, or moral and physical perfection. Grimm’s happy endings are dirty, hard-won, and genuine. As individuals, my husband and I are gritty. But his grit is fashioning me into a pearl of great price, and because of our union I approach life with a sense of peace and joy I could never have on my own. Thank you, dear husband. Thank you.
3. The Most Holy Trinity. Thanking God for the good in life is often lip service, but I cannot overstate my gratitude to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. By the work of the Holy Trinity I have been fashioned for a particular purpose; my families (biological and by marriage) and friends are the instruments of grace by which my vocations have been passed on to me and are nourished. I am grateful for those graces, and the charity from which they spring.
Obviously this list doesn’t cover all of the amazing people that make my days blessed and abundant, but all of you, named and unnamed, should know that you have made a difference in my life, simply by being. Thank you, and may God bless you abundantly.