Thursday, February 2, 2012

The BIG Question: Are YOU Ready to be a Deacon's Wife?

It's been nearly five years since my husband Scott began discerning whether he might be called to serve as a deacon in the Catholic Church. It's a long process, so there's been a lot of time for him to consider whether this is where God wants him to be.
All along the way, I've been a part of the process. I've answered many questions. Yes, I feel he may be called. Yes, I think he's ready. Yes, I know it won't be easy. Yes, I support him 100 percent.

But then came the question I never saw coming:  So, are YOU ready to be a Deacon's Wife?

Hold on, I thought. A Deacon's Wife? Aren't "they" wise beyond their years, poised and calm in every situation, capable of calming the most rambunctious CCD class without blinking an eye, and able to leap tall pot-luck menus in a single bound? 

They're a different breed of women, for sure -- like superwives.  They're always there to help, and they never complain or find themselves searching for just the right words to say when someone's just lost a loved one or made a really bad decision that begs for better advice.

I stammered for a minute. "Um....I hadn't thought of it that way before," was the best answer I could muster. I remembered one day, early in the process, when there was a row of about five or six of these amazing women sitting before me. I drank in their advice eagerly and filed it away in a mental folder labeled "Someday". What was it they said? I should have taken notes! 

This whole time I've listened to the theology, cultivated a healthy respect for the liturgical rubrics, and even learned to say the Liturgy of the Hours on my own, without Scott having to mark the pages for me anymore. But as we prepare to leave the classroom environment and enter true "service" mode, I notice more and more eyes on me and mine (which includes a very noisy and energetic 3-year-old who seldom stays quiet during mass). I'm suddenly feeling inadequate and unsure of where I fit into this new role.  I'm pretty certain there's not even one liturgical supply company that offers a spousal "cloak of invisibility," though any company that could produce such a thing would certainly add to their sales revenue in no short order.

 No, there's no way around it, I thought. I am NOT ready. I'm willing. But I'm not ready. So being the procrastinator that I am, I set the question aside for a while, just like Scarlett O'Hara. "I'll think about that tomorrow, at Tara," she would often say, and so do I. Never mind that in my closet there's a box of things I've never decided what to do with (aptly labeled, "Tara"). But this question just won't fit in the box. So what else could I do, but "blog it out?" And at just about this point the words stop coming.

True, some answers flash quickly through my mind. God will give you what you need.  It's not about you.  But they sound so much like lines from a greeting card that I just don't know.... maybe ... if you're one of the superwives. My husband's potential ordination comes with an alb, a dalmatic, and a stole. But as far as I know, there's no "Superwife" cape for me, and no cloak of invisibility either. And now I'm smack dab in the middle of a huge "blog it out" question that I have no idea how to answer.

And then I hear it, that quiet little voice:  "Mommy, I threw up."

I immediately stop typing and take my daughter into my arms. I gather a washcloth, towel, and change of clothes for her. I take her to her room and clean her up. Then I clean "it" up (God does bestow on us mothers a grace I call "Love's Iron Stomach"). I soothe her, caress her, and hold her in my arms until she's sound asleep again.

Then I return to the laptop and ask myself, what was I saying? Oh yeah, the Hallmark answers that don't seem to ring true.

God gives you what you need. Well... Maybe... Yes. Definitely! He did, in fact, just send a sign (and a messy one, at that). Could it be that this "Deacon's Wife" thing is a lot like motherhood? You start out willing, but unprepared.

It's not about you. It's about the little one(s) God has given you. You may not be ready, but they still need you.  Somehow, out of love and joy for these little blessings called children, you "do your best, and forgive the rest."

Before long, you know what's coming. From out of no where, you have the patience, and the iron stomach, to do it. Then, one day over coffee, you're able to smile to yourself when your single friends say things like, "I could never do that." But you know they can, and they will, someday, when the time is right.

And so it is. I am not yet what I'll need to be. But I love my husband, and even more so, I love my Lord. And I love the Church he's given us here on earth. I'll do what I need to, one day at a time, because I love them.

God will give me what I need. I know it won't come all at once, just like the graces of motherhood. There will be mistakes (forgiveable ones, I pray).

And it's not about me.  Becasue  if it were, I'd never be able to do it.  

And ... the best is yet to come.  Wait, wasn't that a Carpenters' song?

No, we've only just begun.  Lord willing, we shall.

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