The only thing certain about life is that it is uncertain.
That isn’t deep or profound. But it is true. Yesterday I found out that a young woman I went to college with lost her husband of 5 months. It made my heart ache even though we never talked much. I was surprised the effect it had on me. That evening and this morning I found myself thinking a lot about her and how hard it must be.
Yet it made me worry for myself. Too often I trick myself into thinking that my complete happiness will come when I am engaged, or finally married, or starting a family. Everything is transient, though, and it can all be taken away in a moment. My heart began to feel restricted and desired to be closed off. I began to desire that I would never be in a situation where so much could be lost. So quickly I was being tricked into thinking that to be closed off was a better option than suffering at the hands of love or for the sake of love.
I imagined what she was feeling and I knew I never wanted to feel that. I didn’t ask the age-old question, “God, why do bad things happen to good people? Why did this tragedy happen?” I didn’t ask that question because I didn’t wonder it. The question I asked instead was “What can I cling to, Lord? How could I endure losing that which I hold closest to my heart?” In honesty, I was thinking that having God alone wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more than the assurance that God would always be with me. Instead I wanted promises that specific people would always be in my life, that certain things would never happen to me, and that parts of my heart would be left unbroken.
I know that God alone is enough. That He provides the graces for every heartache. Yet in all honesty, I do not live as though He is enough. I do not cling to Him now as though He is all that is certain. I cling to other superficial things or to things, good as they are, that cannot fulfill me.
My mind knows the correct answer. God will provide. In fact, God is providing. It is not some future promise but rather a lived reality. The paradox of love is that one must love with one’s heart vulnerable and revealed or it is not actually love. Yet to love means one will suffer and feel sorrow. I have a natural tendency to want to protect my heart, to guard it from all that could injure it. This can be good but it can also close it off from a deep, penetrating love. The battle within is between self-preservation and self-gift.
This little heart has a lot of expanding to do. She needs to begin to live as though everything rests in the hands of God and that He will truly provide for every need. To be so grounded in the Lord that should all else be lost, she could rest assured that not everything was truly lost. Sacred Heart of Jesus, sanctify our hearts.
P.S. My household sister who lost her husband has a fund set up for her and their unborn baby. If you feel your heart moved in that direction, please give a gift of money. Regardless, please pray for them.