Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Here's to Marriage

Thirty years ago today, we said, "I do" and accepted each other in the Sacrament of Matrimony. I've heard some use the term "wild ride" to describe the joys and sufferings of marriage and family. I don't know if I would call it a wild ride, but I certainly would call it eventful. I can't even begin to tell you the struggles we've gone through -- struggles seem the most vivid, I guess. But, the fact of the matter is that they always have some element of humor, and certainly joy, attached to them in the retelling.

For instance, Eddie (our child with significant special needs) suffered a terrible accident when he was 15 yrs. old. He was thrown from a horse and suffered a broken jaw and many contusions and lacerations as a result of the fall. It was horrible and it was the result of a freak incident involving a baby calf (it's too strange to explain). Anyway, that was a trying time for our family -- so many unknowns involved with trying to feed a boy who doesn't suck through a straw when he has a broken jaw. The story of how we managed through it all is very complicated and long, but suffice it to say that God managed to work good through the suffering:

1. Eddie needed a feeding tube. When we were getting ready for the procedure, the doctor mentioned that they might not be able to easily place the tube because of Eddie's scoliosis. "What scoliosis?" we asked. Unbeknownst to us, Eddie was developing a severe and rapidly progressing scoliosis, which without immediate attention would have been inoperable had we not acted upon it very early. This accident brought it to our attention with enough time to get appointments and a surgery scheduled -- and even then, his curvature progressed so quickly that we almost weren't able to have the surgery. It was a blessing that came from a terrible suffering.

2. But, that's not all. Eddie broke his jaw which itself needed special medical attention. A wonderful oral surgeon from Georgetown Hospital took Eddie into the OR to examine the break and decide whether it would be best to wire his jaw shut or leave the break to heal on it own. It all depended on how the bone was broken and whether articulation at the joint would be diminished if left alone. Well, the doctor decided it was in Eddie's best interest to leave it alone and allow the head of the mandible to reshape naturally. After about 4 weeks, Eddie was doing something he had never done before. HE COULD CHEW! Now, how about that! Apparently, his jaw muscles were spastic and frozen until the break which relieved the joint and allowed it to move. Who knew being thrown from a galloping horse could produce such wonders?

I guess some might just call this event something of a "wild ride" (pun completely intended)! But truly, it comes down to looking beyond the joys and the sorrows to see how God is moving, working, loving and shaping your life. It's easy to get stuck in being happy only during the high moments and bitter and angry during the lows. The challenge is to be joyful during it all.

How does one achieve such a thing?

Surrender.

We were meant to give ourselves entirely to God and entirely to our spouse; to be good stewards of creation and relationship and to be fruitful and multiply. Well, we screwed that up pretty much in the beginning, but thankfully, Our Lord and Savior has redeemed us and restored our relationship with the Father through His Passion, Death and Resurrection. If we can see this good and be joyful in His sacrifice, we should be able to manage any struggle or difficulty with joy through His grace. We just have to let Him be a part of it all. That's where the joy lies in recognizing that fact: He moves through it all.

Thirty years has passed so quickly. But it hasn't gone by without the gathering of a host of amazing stories of sacrifice, suffering, elation, awe, each of which has brought with it an abundance of love, joy and thanksgiving. Each special moment has offered one more opportunity to grow closer to God and family and to share the wonder of it all through our encounters with others.

Here's to marriage -- here's to thirty more years of wonder and joy.

No comments: