Thursday, September 26, 2013

On Virtue, Suffering, Growth and Waiting for the Phone to Ring...

Okay, let's just get it out of the way.  I'm still waiting for that lump of plastic to ring.  And it's still not. So I've been thinking things like:  "Apparently 'tomorrow at the latest' (yesterday) means different things to different people" even though I know it's really that the super nice people who did the test are super busy and likely overworked and underpaid since they work in a giant sprawling county building and that's likely why they haven't had a chance to call yet.

As a side note I believe I have learned, over the years, never to ask for a virtue like patience.  Because do you know how God gives you the opportunity to work on a virtue like patience?  Yeah.  By helping you find ways to practice it.  Oh sure, I guess it involves some pouring out of grace but right now I'm kind of in a let's-sulk-around-the-house-about-how-much-being-patient-and-waiting-for-the-psych-people-to-call-stinks type of mood and I've been doing a fair job of ignoring that fact.

It's like when I prayed for help with that whole little gluttony-pizza-ice-cream problem that I inevitably have when I'm pregnant or nursing (so pretty much always) and suddenly I had a nursing baby who was allergic to dairy and another kid who has major food intolerances so that our eating options are pretty much some meats, some veggies and some fruits, eggs and nuts and none of the wonderful cheesy grain-i-ness that sound oh-so-appetizing All. The. Time... which all feels like it happened about five minutes after I made that fateful help-with-gluttony prayer and has me laughing these days in a sort of resigned way while shaking my head and saying: "Not what I meant.  Not at all what I meant.  Didn't you see that I was asking for a magic power to resist ice cream, not an actual chance to work on self control or sacrifice?"

Except that in my head, when there's no suffering at all going on, I make these crazy requests to God to grow in love and understanding, even though I'm beginning to have an inkling of what the answers to those types of prayers generally require.

You see, even in the perfect little world in my head I know that growing towards sainthood, even with the outpouring of grace required, doesn't happen in a vacuum.

I can look at Jesus on the cross and remind myself that he told us to take up our crosses and that there was something in there about the path being narrow that made this whole thing sound like something other than a cake walk... or I can read the lives of the saints and the trials that they oh-so-often endured, and know that Jesus was obviously very, very serious about the aforementioned taking up of one's cross... and I can't ignore the fact that this growing often seems to involve suffering.

In fact, I can even see the tininess of the things that seem like "suffering" to me in my day to day life, at least from a distance, when I'm in a mood to examine these sorts of things.  Those moments of perspective, incidentally, also usually happens to be when I'm in the mood to request whatever sufferings God would like to send my way so that I might grow and become more like my savior.

From a distance it always sounds like an awesome idea... and it makes me feels so brave, like I'm trucking along down the road to sainthood (I think that usually happens right before a face plant of some sort, which you can probably see coming from a mile away).

Because in reality, it's never that pretty.  Sure I can pray for sufferings to offer up like a champ, I can imagine all the rosaries I'll say when I'm in labor and all the fantastic intentions I'll have while I'm praying them, but when the wheels hit the pavement it's more like "oh-my-goodness-the-red-superhero-boots-just-accidentally-smashed-my-big-toe-one-too-many-times-and-the-nail-broke-in-two-and-God-please-please-please-please-it-hurts-make-it-stop."  Which is about as not-heroic as one can get.

Still, we push on and I try to pray for the grace to be a little bit less of a weeny the next time it inevitably happens (those boot wearing toddler feet are dangerous!).  And some days (okay, more like moments) I actually feel like I'm toddling along in the right direction with teeny tiny steps... by succeeding at something small like not whining about a headache for an entire hour (inevitably the headache lamentations still usually tumble out of my mouth after a point, however...).

This isn't the post I set out to write...  but I have to say, having written it and having thought about actual suffering, like the sufferings of the saints in the book Sadie is always pushing into my lap, the fact that my phone still hasn't rung suddenly seem like a much, much smaller problem than it did when I began.  And that's something.

Baby steps.  Baby steps...


  1. If you want to stop carb cravings the supplement L-Glutamine works very well. Just an emino acid but removed from the pill and taken as the powder the carb craving vanishes. (From the book, THE DIET SOLUTION).

    Waiting is no fun, but the young man's posts, and the conversations among him and his ASD buddies is fascinating and IMO more help that your doctors will be. I don't think anything is as useful as adults who know because they live with it talking about what therapies were good and which were a waste of time-- who better to know?

  2. You can always call them for results too. The worst they can say is, "the results aren't in yet." But likely, your file is just sitting in a "to call" pile with others. Can't hurt!

  3. I'd call. I find if they havent its because they forgot or have this expectation that you will call or there's some hold up and it will be longer than anticipated. My husband's office mate waited a whole month to get office keys because she said nothing. Too often we need to be sqeaky wheels. Being impatient to me is if you call before they said they would.

  4. I'd wait until tomorrow morning, but if they haven't called by then, you should call. It is past when they said they'd call, it will still give them the day to get back to you if they need to and hopefully you'll have an answer before the weekend.

    I hate waiting for calls like this.

  5. Yeah, there's nothing wrong with calling. I usually end up having to when dealing dr's offices.

  6. Thank you for writing this. It made me smile and lessened my load. Our prayers are with you and your family.


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