Note: If you were directed to this page by a search engine when looking for the source of the “God’s in his heaven” quote, please see Pantoufle’s comment (#5) below. There, you will find the answer!
So yesterday I was whiny and grumpy and feeling sorry for myself because my Lutheran husband said he would not attend the Easter Vigil with me this coming Saturday at the Catholic church.
After I got it all off my chest in this blog, I had an opportunity later in the afternoon for some quiet reflection. I was reminded of this verse: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” (Psalm 34:19). And so I spent some time praying and asking God to show me what to do.
He led me to read I John 3, where I read this:
“The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers……Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.” (verses 16, 18)
(The footnote in my Bible suggests that this means we are to love and serve others even to the point of self-sacrifice.)
Then He sent me to Isaiah 5:
“Woe to those who tug at guilt with cords of perversity…..to those…..who change bitter into sweet, and sweet into bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own sight and prudent in their own esteem!” (verses 18, 20, 21)
God does not feel sorry for me at all, you see. He is very practical.
By the time my husband arrived home from work, all my bitterness was gone. I also knew I was not going to drag him into a “discussion” about this or try to put him on a guilt trip to get him to change his mind.
Last year, when I was feeling especially torn over the fact that I was planning to become Catholic and my husband was not, the Lord had directed me to read the book of 1 Peter. Ever since, I have tried to always keep in mind his advice to wives, that we should be subordinate to our husbands, “that they may be won over without a word” when they observe our reverent and chaste behavior.
It’s not always easy to keep my mouth shut, but when I consider what my marriage would probably look like if I always said exactly what I thought (and if he did the same!), I am grateful for the gift of self-control. Our communication isn’t perfect, but at least we don’t fight all the time as some couples do.
Anyway, we had a very busy evening. The Cub Scouts meeting, which was supposed to be at someone else’s house, ended up being switched to our place at the last minute; so we were all frantically scrambling around picking up toys and getting things in presentable order before the boys came over. (In the end, only one other kid showed up—it was a very small meeting, but they had a lot of fun playing games with plastic Easter eggs.)
By bedtime, I thought everything was okay. But I had the strong sense my husband wanted to say something. He went to bed at the same time I did (which he just about never does), and he was lying there scowling for a long, long time. Perhaps he was expecting me to scold him or beg and plead. Perhaps he was planning his defense. Perhaps he was trying to think of a way to explain himself without making me upset. Perhaps he was trying to get up the courage to say he’d change his mind.
Whatever it was, I have no idea, because he did not speak. And neither did I. I only prayed and prayed (silently, of course) that the Lord would soften his heart and change my own so that I would be able to love him with the kind of love Jesus has for him. I wanted to say something: “Are you okay? Did you want to talk about something?” But I kept silent. It just felt like the right thing to do. You see, usually I am the one to initiate conversations about “big stuff.” And I’ll talk and talk (stereotypical woman, to babble on and on) while he says nothing. Then I’ll ask him what he thinks, and he won’t have anything to say—except sometimes, when he’ll manage a very few thoughts. But my point is that if he has some thoughts he wants to share about this current situation, I think it would be best if he shared them of his own accord, when he is ready, not because I made it my business to pry them out of him.
The fact is, this whole situation—me being Catholic, him still being Lutheran—is still very new to our family. It’s going to take us some time to sort things out and get used to it all. My attending the Lutheran church with him every week might not be the best arrangement; but unless and until I feel God asking something else of me, I will have to keep doing it.
In the meantime, I have reconciled myself to attending the Easter Vigil on my own. I certainly won’t be the only one. There are two ladies from my RCIA class who I know will be there without husbands—one is divorced, the other’s husband does not attend church at all. I can sit with them. And the Mass will still be beautiful. Christ will still meet me there, in the words from Scripture and in the Eucharist. The Easter Vigil is the holiest night of the year. And nothing will keep me from rejoicing in it.
Thanks be to God.