f Morning Rose Prayer Gardens: Mar 22, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lent 2012, Week 5

Fast from anger; be more patient
Fast from pettiness; be more mature

                When I was in my early 20’s I was always angry about something. It was the age at which I learned that the world did not revolve around my expectations, and that my constant complaining and pettiness were unproductive.
                I was married at eighteen to a man only a year older. It was a good Catholic wedding with fourteen attendants, the officiating priest a relative, and the nave of the church filled to capacity with extended family and friends of our parents.
                It was 1972 and I had wanted to be married in a garden wearing a ring of flowers in my long blonde hair and a gauzy white gown that I would make. I had imagined a small gathering of well-wishers with a porch reception of cake and tea.
                My very Catholic grandmother and mother would hear none of it. There would be a three-tiered veil instead of the halo of flowers on my head. The small wedding I desired—and one that would not put everyone into debt—remained a fantasy.
                The ceremony, reception, honeymoon and following two years were relatively uneventful. It was in the third year of this marriage when the limerence of being love struck wore off. I noticed a significant change in my husband…and it was not a good change.
                He was moody and angry and I often responded the same way, mirroring his behaviors. We became annoyed at the least provocations, petty and controlling in our anger. He was rarely at home.
                I was too young and ill-equipped to recognize the root of his behaviors. I often believed him when he said I was the cause of all the marital unrest. That was until the day he left me for my brother’s wife.
                My anger and pain consumed me.
                Living with my brother until I found my footing should have been a blessing for both of us.  The problem was that my anger and hurt bled into nearly everything and anyone at his house. I would pick away at every emotional wound inflicted by my ex and share my suffering with whoever was at hand. I was impatient with myself and those around me. I tried to make things go the way I wanted them to go. I had lost control of myself and my world.
                Eventually people stopped coming to my brother’s house, stopped calling to see how I was doing and stopped returning my calls after having exhausted all their excuses for not wanting to be around me. It took a while but eventually I realized that my immature ways of dealing with the hurt and anger had driven them all away…including my brother. Shortly thereafter I moved from his house into our grandmother’s home.
                It took time and a lot of coaching from my grandmother for me to let go of the anger and learn to be more patient through the healing process. I don’t recall any one thing she said as much as I remember the calmness that she encouraged. It was a time of maturing as a woman and recognizing how much my behavior influenced the world around me.
                Now in my late 50’s, I continue to learn about patience and occasionally laugh at my own pettiness when things do not meet my expectations. Some days it’s a challenge to be charitable in all things. But to be charitable is my personal definition of maturity.