It’s now been three and a half weeks since Ray’s heart attack. From finding my husband dead on the floor, to praying while performing chest compressions, to facing a future filled with uncertainty, I have been blessed with “a peace that surpasses all understanding.”
The Mass readings throughout this Advent season have spoken to me in an entirely new and more meaningful way, so it came as no surprise last night when I looked at today’s Mass readings and saw this:
Brothers and sisters: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4-7)
In the past few weeks, so many people have marveled at how “strong” I’ve remained through all of this. Honestly, when people say this, I feel like a complete and total fraud. I’m not strong. My God is. The only thing I did right was this: When the crap hit the fan, I immediately put the situation into God’s hands.
Seven years ago, when Bear was about to have surgery, I was a nervous wreck. I went to the Blessed Sacrament chapel and prayed the Rosary. When I was finished, I was filled with calm and peace. I knew it would be okay. I didn’t know that Bear was going to be fine and we’d live happily ever after. But, I knew that, no matter what, God was going to take care of him, in His own way, and that He would take care of me and the rest of the family, as well.
In the years since, there have been many, many times when I have been in stressful situations but remained unconcerned. I put it in God’s hands, knowing… God would provide, and God would be glorified.
My husband laying lifeless on my family room floor, while I did chest compressions, surrounded by our five children, definitely raised “stressful situation” to a whole new level. Thank God, my response had become automatic. The words that ran through my head were:
God will provide. God will be glorified.
I can’t explain it, because it really is a peace that surpasses all understanding, and I can’t explain what I myself can’t understand.
But I can tell you this. I’ve known it. And I’ve been incredibly blessed in it. And I pray that everyone reading this post will know it as well.
I don’t think that response would have come so easily without practice. In fact, I know it wouldn’t have. It came with years and years of taking small problems and handing them over to God, and then watching in wonder and awe as He took care of them.
And so I sit, free from anxiety, filled with a peace that surpasses all understanding. Thanks be to God, my husband has had a miraculous recovery already. However, the fact remains that we don’t know what tomorrow holds. Perhaps he will remember that he has five children, and recall their names correctly. Perhaps he won’t. Perhaps he will return to a meaningful life as a husband, father, and provider. Perhaps he won’t.
Regardless, God will provide. For Ray, for me, and for the children. God will be glorified. And God will grant us peace.