Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Postcard to the Edge

There have been many times in my life when I've wanted God to send me a postcard.  I say it all the time, half in jest:  Wouldn't it be nice if He'd just send a postcard?  I'd be happy to do whatever He asked, if He'd just put it down in black and white.

Then darned if it doesn't happen. He does it;  He sends the postcard.

And you wonder if you should never have asked.

But let me backtrack a bit so you'll understand the context of this past week's events and how postcards figure into it.   Dan and I love many things about living in the house we are in now.  The farm was where our little boys (the first four) grew up to be men for one thing, and many happy memories bounce around inside the walls of this house.  No less important to us has been living within easy driving distance of my extended family, and we cherish our parish church for the dear, old friends and the familiar faces we know and love.  But, we've never fallen out of love with our home on the Western Slope of Colorado.  It's a hard thing to explain because we only lived there for two and half years, but it's where our heart is.   We miss the daily parish life there, we miss the Sisters, we miss the friendly small-town atmosphere, we miss the snow-blanketed San Juans and the aspen-covered Grand Mesa...  We yearn to be there.  So, we started a novena to our intrepid, delightful, powerful-with-God saint, Philomena, asking for her intercession to help us get moved back over the mountains.  And, let me tell you, if you haven't ever asked St. Philomena for something and don't know it already -- well, just step back and watch her move when she has a mind to!  I mean: Put. On. Your. Seatbelts.

On the fifth day of the novena (incidentally, right after we changed the wording of our petition in a way we think she was willing to work with), St. Philomena woke me up in the morning with her signature knock, then sent us a nice neighbor who graded our driveway gratis, and a roofer who offered (and has worked out how) to roof our house and barn through our insurance company for free, as well. Great starts, we thought, to getting our house sold so we can make our move.  But that same day Dan also got the first hint that his job was in jeopardy.   We kept praying our novena every day after our rosary, though, and on the the ninth and last day we found out that Dan was probably going to lose his job. 

Ungh!  Punch-to-the-belly kind of postcard, that one.

We're still reeling.  You see, we thought we were some of the lucky ones.  We had it in our heads that Dan's was a recession-proof kind of job and that we could just bump along through the hard economic times, secure in a salary if nothing else.  So this was really unexpected.  And heart wrenching because there are disappointing circumstances surrounding the situation with Dan's job loss that are a cross and burden to our souls.  But we're ok with it all, because we have the absolute certainty that, perplexing and difficult as it is -- it's all part of some plan of St. Philomena's and God's. We're not sure how this is getting us over to the Western Slope...  but, to tell you the truth, we're not sure that's so important anymore.

Maybe that was the message?  We don't know. We're still going to hold  that move out there as a goal, but you know, it doesn't really matter. Being doubled over from a sucker punch gives you a chance to see your life from a whole new perspective.  A pretty humble one.   And we've found as we've straightened ourselves back up again that we may have had it coming.  We've been pretty complacent.  Pretty lazy.  Pretty status quo.  We needed and deserved the correction. 

And with that self-knowlege, we're moving forward with concrete resolutions to be harder working and better attuned to our priorities. Deep breath.  Moving forward.  Postcard received.

But God is so good.  He  didn't quit after the first stiff news and leave us hanging.  He's gone on to give us the most humbling and warming consolations all this last week -- in the same way, it seems, that a parent goes in to hug his child after he's had to punish him.  I have to say it again: God is so good.  After that first postcard, He's sent us a hundred additional ones -- unexpected words of comfort and advice from the most amazing places:  a sermon that spoke to the very heart of our spiritual struggles; a prayer to St. Joseph sent by a dear friend; a story that I read to the children by chance that could have been written as a warm hug just for us in this hard time; the gentle words of St.Francis deSales popping up everywhere and snuggling into our hearts as lessons and comfort; amazing signal graces, tangible hugs from Heaven, that have astounded and delighted us.  For every downturn, there have been at least as many upturns -- and hairpin turns and bighorn sheep in the road... Something like the Million Dollar Highway . We're only a few days into this, and it's already been quite the trip!

And, though I've learned a few good lessons so far in all of it,  the best thing I've figured out is this (and I'm speaking to myself here):  God's the cruise director.  He plans the itinerary.   You're the one who's supposed to be sending the post cards, ya dummy.


MightyMom said...

I got some questions about those knocks.....I gotta email you.

sorry for your tough times...and I"ll rejoice when you make it to the other side of them.

Sara said...

Sorry about the job loss; I thought lawyers were immune, too. I was very complacent, myself. Thanks for the St. Philomena lesson!

Blessings each day said...

Well, your post took my breath away too as I ddn't see that coming.

As I look back on so many things that were so hard to deal with (like the financial collapsing of our business in Phoenix) I see how God's Hand was in it to give me a life jacket for after Mario went to Heaven (forcing me to focus on the business and not just the sorrow). The bankruptcy also occurred at a "perfect time" or I never would a have been able to leave Phoenix and marry Michael two years later.

I pray that wonderful and amazing things come from all of this as God IS so good. And I will be praying for peace and comfort and all good things to come your way quickly.

blessings and hopeful happy hugs,


Kim H. said...

First of all, this post is wonderful Lisa. Truly an inspiration -- more than you'll probably ever realize. Okay, well, you'll realize it some day when you meet the Big Man, that's all I'm sayin'! :)

And yes, God is so good. I always joke that he has to all but whack me to get my attention. I'm not so good at finding his postcards, but I am getting better, praying to let go and trust more. HIS will be done.

I often wonder about our journey to the South. The whole process of packing up and leaving the life I thought we were destined for -- a lovely home, good schools, a wonderful, wonderful traditional parish, stable job -- as much as it baffles me, I have to keep reminding myself that GOD has a plan and HE's in charge. I remind myself that a lot these days when I'm having my pitty party when I hate this house, question our kids' school situations, go back and forth about our parish, wonder about dh job and will things ever get better?

Just know I'm walkin' along side of you and am hear with an ear to listen.


SQUELLY said...

Woah! What a blow but Lisa what faith! You and Dan are firmly in my prayers.

God bless!


Gardenia said...

beautiful post. Hello, I just found your blog today, through Abbey's Road sidebar. (I just found Abbey's Road too). You tell your story so wonderfully. I am definitely looking up St. Philomena. right now! Thank you for this inspiration today. Yes, God sends postcards -- if we will only go open the mailbox! :) Best to you and your husband. and I look forward to reading you more.

GrandmaK said...

It seems we all are on the same journey. That in itself is comforting. I have found too that the road I travel is not really mine but the leader of the "tour." Indeed, we found when Ron was part of a RIF (reduction in force) we were granted many blessings. Our concern at the time was with 2 of the kids still in college and one still in high school. And you know,fretting was replaced by the knowledge that we are loved by a compassionate and caring God and he did and still does care for us! Praying for you! Cathy

I have fond memories of St. Philomena. That was the name of the Folk's parish in East Denver. When in nursing school I spent many wonderful hours at Mass there!

Anne P. said...

Oh, boy do we know where you are! When Don lost his job, it was a rough ride..But, we both had so much growing up to do, and it was not until the end of the journey that we saw it. He fully appreciates his job now, and it sickens him when someone sits and complains so much about hating their jobs! He just knows that he is a lucky one this time..
Prayers going for the two of you!