Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bittersweet

Last night, I got an intriguing text from the oldest daughter that simply said: "Please stay up, we're going to drop by soon."

By "we" I knew she meant herself and her boyfriend.  And I knew, instinctively, that they had news important enough that they wanted to share it with us and did not want to wait.  My husband goes to bed very early, so it was just my youngest and I waiting on the couch and my middle child doing homework in his room.  When my daughter came in, she was obviously disappointed that her father hadn't stayed up, so I dispatched child #3 upstairs to rouse him.

I knew when I got the text what the news was going to be, but in all honesty, I wasn't sure under what circumstances the happy event was going to take place.  My husband took his place among us and my daughter, with her somewhat-fidgety but nearly giddy boyfriend holding her, told us they were getting married.  And no, they were not going to make us grandparents!

My oldest has been a bit of a free-spirit for awhile now.  She goes camping in the mud, loves outdoor folk-festivals and a few years back,  traveled throughout Peru alone for three weeks when her travel companion decided to return home shortly after they arrived.  She and her fiancee informed us they were going away in March, alone, to get married but would later have a party for close family and friends sometime in the Spring.

Her husband-to-be is very smart and very sweet.  She went out with him for nearly a year before bringing him home because she wanted to be sure before she introduced him to the family.  So what's my obstacle?

He's not Christian and what I might call lukewarm Jewish,  and my daughter has not practiced her Catholic faith with any regularity.  They've decided to get married in a civil ceremony.  The fact that they're doing it privately, with no friends or family, makes it somewhat easier for me. I won't  have to witness or participate in a ritual contrary to my faith.  It's not how I wanted it to be for her, but it's their life and their relationship and there is not much I can do about it but pray for them.  I spoke my piece, telling them both that I would prefer they got married in church, and that I wanted them to bear in mind that if they were insistent on doing it their way now, they could always do something later to sanctify their marriage.  They listened respectfully and said they would think about it.

The wedding will take place in March, when the groom-to-be is on Spring break.  I asked what the hurry was, and the next bit of a bombshell was dropped.

"We're joining the Peace Corps, and we want to do it as a married couple".

I nearly swallowed my teeth.  The Peace Corps is a two-year commitment to places like Ethiopia.  She just graduated from college and he finishes graduate school in May.  They want to go on a mission before they're tied down to jobs, but I can't imagine having a child so far away that I'll likely not see until the commitment ends.

When I shared the news with a dear friend who is a devout Catholic, she was hopeful.

"Sounds like a good intention for St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.  They're on the list!"

Can I ask you to put them on yours?

18 comments:

  1. Wow that's a lot to take in! I will keep all of you in prayer for sure. How did the rest of the family take it?
    It honestly sounds like they are wanting good things. To be married, to help people. Gos did amazing things in my eldest when she began taking steps like that.
    Congratulations!

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    1. Thank you Kelly. They are both inherently good people and it's heartwarming that they want to cement their bond before they set out on their path together. But works without faith... you know how that goes. The rest of the family (as in the bride's grandparents) do not know about the Peace Corps part of it. It's best to feed my parents as little information as possible when it comes to these things :)

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    2. Well, prayers on the way. TO GoD. lol.

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    3. I knew it was a typo LOL!

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  2. Will pray, especially that they have experiences that lead them to the Catholic faith.

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    1. Thank you Allison, it is much appreciated :)

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  3. Wow, that must be a shocker. I probably told you, but not sure if you remember, my wife is Jewish. I guess we were both luke warm faithwise when we got married. However we were both conservative (and I don't mean politically) by nature. We had both a priest and a rabbi perform our wedding, obviously not in a church. But it was a beautiful affair as they took turns doing readings from the old and new testaments and blessings. I will say it adds complexity to the marriage, especially as I've returned to my faith. But I do love the Jewish side of my family and look forward to the jewish holidays. I always say I'm jewish on my wife's side. It throws people for a loop, especially jews. Children's religion may be an issue. Odds are they will decide on nothing and that will be the worst of the possibilities. We went with Catholic for Matthew because I'm the more religious of the two. May God see them through as He has seen my marriage through. They will be in my prayers.

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    1. Thanks Manny and of course I remember that your better half is Jewish ;0

      I still don't know why your comments keep getting caught in my spam filter but I apologize for the delay in getting them published.

      I appreciate your words of encouragement. Joyce

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    2. Manny's comments always go to my spam as well. Must be something in the email address? Strange.

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  4. Dear Joyce, they sound very young and idealistic. I think there is much to be hopeful about. They sound like the kind of individuals who, when God finally gets a hold of them, turn into dynamos in the Church...volunteering to lead up all kinds of wonderful apostolates, etc.

    I know how you feel. I didn't know where my son would end up getting married last summer, and was so relieved when it was in a Catholic Church, but sad because there was no Mass. Also, they weren't practicing their faith, but the priest seemed aware of that.

    To my great surprise, they went to confession and both received Holy Communion on Christmas Day. I almost fainted in the pew. I don't know if they go to Mass regularly. I doubt it. But I can see they are finding their way, and I am so very grateful.

    Keep praying, and I will certainly pray too..especially now that I'm up several times/night with these shingles. Please remember me in your prayers too. This is driving me crazy!

    God bless you, dear friend. I just know God has our kids in the palm of His hand. Hang in there. Big hug to you! xo

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    1. Thank you Patricia, I was thinking of you a bit when I wrote this, given the past trials you've had with your son concerning the faith. You must have been overjoyed at Christmas, I would have been. I have been praying for you and I have heard that there is almost nothing so painful as shingles. I know you will make the most of your suffering and I pray it ends soon, at least so you can sleep at night. Hugs back! Joyce

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  5. Joyce, I know you know it, but as soon as I read this I thought of Is 59:1 The arm of the Lord is not too short to save...I'll be praying for them and you. Blessings +

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    1. Thanks for the reminder Caroline, I was thinking as I drove home from work tonight that all the seeds of His goodness are there. They just need our prayers to water them. Thank you for helping me do just that. Joyce

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  6. I will pray for them. I hope they have many good and happy years together, and that they'll eventually make their way home to the Church. God does answer these prayers. Just today a friend of mine told me that he had converted to Christianity after I had been praying for him for a couple years. If God answered my prayer, then surely he'll answer the much stronger prayer of a mother who loves her child.

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    1. You must be elated at the news of your friend, Daniel. I'm very happy for you and for him. Thanks be to God!

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  7. Oh darn Joyce. I commented last night and it's not here. Perhaps it's in your spam. Not sure I can reproduce it. It was just a little of my experience being in a Catholic/Jewish marriage. Of course I prayed for the couple.

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  8. All in all, I'd say the Peace Corps is a wonderful thing for them to do when they are young. I always wondered why judges don't sentence young people to service there when they are complaining about how horrible it is here. Your daughter and her fiance/husband will do some very good work there.

    I grew up in an area where everyone (but me) was either Catholic or Jewish. I could say the baruch over candles on a Friday night and Hail Mary on Sunday. Both are very rich cultures and, as you know, share the same background. Their David is our David. And, they are still the chosen people. If you get the chance you should attend a seder (Last Supper for us)and participate. It's a moving experience as you read from the book while eating the bitter herbs, etc.

    I don't know if you have ever listed to The Fourth Cup by Scott Hahn but it discusses the 4th cup of the seder as it relates to the crucifixion. Very interesting.

    Will continue to pray for you and your family.

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  9. Thank you Kathy, I have never been to a seder but if invited, I would gladly go. I will check out The Fourth Cup. The prayers are much appreciated. Joyce

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Comments which reflect true Christian charity are always welcome. Comments which attack the Pope, the Church, priests or other bloggers will go in the dustbin, especially if they are anonymous. Thank you and God Bless you!