Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On Becoming a Widow, Part One: Day 6 of 31 Days of Falling by Faith

I have discovered Ronda De Sola Chervin.

A convert to Catholicism (previously an atheistic Jew), she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. She is also a mother, a grandmother, and a widow.

I'd not known of her before buying her book Becoming a Handmaid of the Lord at the St. Philomena Bookstore in Emmitsburg, Maryland, a week ago. The book contains portions of journals she kept from 1977 to 1996. Looking for her on the Internet, I found her website, which includes a page called "Options for Catholic Widows." She has also published a couple of books on widowhood: Walk with Me Jesus: A Widow's Journey and A Widow's Walk: Encouragement, Comfort, and Wisdom from the Widow-Saints.

Although in the eyes of the law my husband and I were no longer husband and wife during the last five years of his life, I never completely stopped feeling like we were, and I have been certain since the day I learned of his death that, in the eyes of God, we were still married. I knew it even before I got that unforgettable, wrenching call from the police detective. It had been a week since we'd talked, but on the way home from Mass that morning, without prelude, as though someone else was speaking it to me, the thought was loud and clear in my head that, yes, David was indeed my husband. I have accepted, therefore, with humility and honor, the title widow. I have a lot more to say about that later.

Meanwhile, I am very slowly reading Becoming a Handmaid of the Lord, and doing what I do as I read: underlining sentences I want to return to later--such as these:
"Jesus made me feel that it made no difference where I was or will be. 'I want you to be my Bride whom I can set down anywhere in my Church. Be in my heart.' No more fantasies about ideal places to be, no more wishes, worries about the future." In other words, freedom!
"I feel that Jesus waits for me to be alone if only for a few minutes and then floods me with His love afresh . . . and that He will not abandon me for little failures to respond." In other words, patience and persistence!
"I asked the Lord if it were selfish of me to be so eager for this solitude. He seemed to say that he wanted me alone to comfort me for all the years of suffering." In other words....
There are no other words.

For now.

Amen.

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