Not going to lie, last week I was completely certain God threw me a sucker punch. I had prayed all the Novena’s, went to Mass and Confession often and tried harder than usual to be “good”. This goodness, of course, had a great cause—to gather and use my deeds in order to spare my son the pain and suffering of a second surgery this year (his 10th total). While my husband gave out prayers readily, I selfishly hoarded mine for Brennan’s surgery. Though we both shed tears after finding out Brennan’s surgery did not go as planned, I found myself still crying in despair in the midst of my husband’s rejoicing.
The days after surgery had us running on fumes; we ‘slept’ separately while Liam stayed with Brennan and I stayed elsewhere with Winston. We ate in shifts when we could and linked up around doctor’s visits and to find words to not only thank the many lovely people who prayed and encouraged us, but also to face (or ignore) the few ignorant and hurtful comments made in the process (that will get its own blog post later). Our first weekend home was spent in solitary confinement with the kids for Brennan’s health so Mass was not on our radar (not that I really wanted to go anyways).
As an aspiring Secular Carmelite, we are charged with praying the Liturgy of the Hours as well as spending at least 30 minutes in meditative prayer. I begrudgingly prayed the hours and I am still not done sobbing or screaming at God during my prayer time (not very meditative, I know). Finally, last night, I angrily asked Liam why he isn’t as irritated with God as I am, especially after seeing Brennan’s most difficult post-op recovery. He sat up in bed and told me, quite frankly, that he never asked God to only give Brennan one surgery, and that he has actually never even asked God to heal Brennan. I was completely astounded and could only muster up a simple, “why”.
He told me he prays that we are transformed to God’s likeness, not that God gives us like circumstances—that it’s not on his heart to pray for a miracle but that our family’s love and joy despite these circumstances—that IS the miracle. If I would only take the smallest step back to observe the blessings God has bestowed upon us, that my heart should shatter –not for Brennan—but for children who don’t know the joy and love of Jesus and who don’t have earthly parents who strive to emulate that love. That love is putting Brennan’s cross on our backs and helping him carry it with a smile because you know what? He does. Every. Single. Day.
Liam reminded me that faith is knowing that God CAN completely heal Brennan, and he COULD have made it so Brennan only needed one surgery this year—but that’s not the point. We live in a world where bad things happen but there is always purpose in our pain. Zelie Martin said, “there is always joy alongside our suffering” and I am here to testify that Truth. Purpose over perfect is my 2018 mantra and it sucks so badly that God used my little son to show us that. But the miracle is joy. The miracle is Jesus.