Tag Archives: Growing Up

On my Sister’s Engagement

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Hello everyone! My name is Teresa. I’m Selina’s older sister and Matron of Honor. First, I just want to say how happy I am that we have all just witnessed this truly beautiful sacrament of Holy Matrimony between Selina and Andrew. And I have just one thing to say about it… FINALLY.

In all seriousness, though, this has been a long journey.  Selina was saying that as of yesterday, she and Andrew had been engaged for seventeen months.  Now, I know that they didn’t necessarily plan their engagement this way, and it’s been difficult for them to wait so long to finally be married.  But I just want to say that it has been one of the most beautiful engagements I’ve ever witnessed.

I was blessed enough to move home just a couple months before Selina and Andrew were engaged, so I was able to be there—and to be with Selina—for much more of it than I would have otherwise. As Selina’s older sister, I can say that she and Andrew both have grown so much these past seventeen months, and I want to tell you all about a few of the virtues that I’ve witnessed in their engagement—that I know now are going to be hallmarks of an amazing marriage.

I think the first big challenge in Selina and Andrew’s engagement came the spring after Andrew proposed, when they decided it would be best for Andrew to take an opportunity to work and teach with a school in Urbil, Iraq.  I remember Selina coming into my room shortly after they’d made the decision, and she was just crying.  At first I thought she was crying because it would be so hard for her to be away from Andrew.  But in fact, Selina was crying from joy! Because she was grateful for the opportunity, because she was grateful for Andrew’s courage in taking the position, and because she was filled with an unexpected peace that they would emerge from that challenge all the stronger.

It was beautiful to see Selina’s faith in that moment—faith in God, in Andrew, and in their relationship.  In that moment, my little sister’s maturity and self-sacrifice amazed me.

And then, as you all know, Andrew was accepted into Officer Candidate School midway through his time in Iraq.  And he and Selina made another difficult decision: for him to come back, go to Rhode Island, and commit to the U.S. Navy. One of the biggest challenges that came with that decision was that the timing of this whole wedding was thrown into complete turmoil.  As was mentioned last night at the rehearsal dinner several times, both Selina and Andrew are planners. Andrew’s being in the US Navy made it really difficult for them to begin to plan either this wedding or the rest of their lives together.

But again, I witnessed Selina rise to the occasion with so much sweetness and grace.  You all should have seen her in the months leading up to this day. Her concern with the material details of planning a wedding sort of fell away, and she told me, “I don’t care.  I just want to be married.” I admire so much Selina’s ability, amidst the stress of planning a wedding (not to mention being IN SCHOOL), to focus on what really matters. Because your marriage is your vocation.  It is THE MOST important thing that God has put in either of your lives.  Everything else is secondary. And you have both shown that you understand that.

Andrew, I am so happy to welcome you into our family.  Because I see these things about Selina—that she is selfless and faithful and sweet and gracious—but I think you see them even more.  You see that you are the luckiest man in the world, because you could not ask for a better wife.

And Andrew, I want to tell you one more thing that I think you know: Selina is so proud of you. She is so proud, that I am sometimes embarrassed to take her out in public because I know as soon as I turn my back she’ll start talking to a complete stranger about you and your accomplishments, and this day, the day she gets to be married to you.  You deserve that pride she has in you.

This has been a long journey for you both.  But you have shown that you have faith in God, you have faith in each other, you can roll with the punches and you can come up with the knowledge of what is most important in life.  You are going to have an exceptional marriage, and I could not be more proud.

Congratulations Selina and Andrew.  Many blessings for a beautiful marriage and life together.  I love you.

Frying Pans of Grace

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There are already 4 drafts of this post. Just so you know, it was going to be a big confessional post about how very anxiety-ridden and transitional and un-free my life feels right now.

I even had a whole section on my nightmares about my upcoming teaching job. (I may find a use for that later. Suffice it to say that I, she-who-never-ever-remembers-dreams, have spent the past 2 months remembering nightmares from every night, and fantasizing about jumping onto every train, plane or automobile I see… so long as it is going far. Isn’t that just exactly the quality you look for in your children’s future teacher?)

So, this is the slightly less confessional version:

Growing-up is scary. Cliche, I know. Bear with me. In the past week I have had the dubious joys of moving away from my hometown for the first time, owning my first car, renting my first non-collegiate apartment, and starting my first salaried job. All of these things fall under the headings of “BIG GHANGES” and “BINDING CONTRACTS” and as such “REALLY FREAKING SCARY.”

I think that even in my somewhat stunted idea of adulthood, I understood that being adult meant less freedom. I couldn’t just pick up and leave if I wanted to. But as “That Girl” – you know the one, the one who never left her home town, and went to a college where both her parents worked, and never intentionally broke big rules – the idea of those kinds of roots and confines never bothered me. I never really wanted to pick up and leave.

Until now. Because the really scary part of choosing independently to bind your self to a place, a job, a community, is that you are responsible. If you mess up, no one made you.

See? Scary!

That was the confessional part. Here is the part where God smacked me with some Frying Pans O’Grace (Pretty much the only instruments of Grace that I notice… I can be a little thick.)

What is the thing that Angels say ALL THE TIME?

Now to my pathologically guilt-ridden mind, the first thing this suggests is that I should feel terrible because I am just a scardy-cat ALL THE TIME.

Enter Frying Pan #1. The fact that they say it all the time probably means that it is normal to need reminders. God’s World is not a placid place. God’s Angels are not floaty cherubs who lay around on clouds being un-intimidating. God’s Son calls us to extraordinary things, that a sane mind would run from, screaming all the way.

Sure, in my case, the “Extraordinary Things” are things like binding myself to a single place, and taking responsibility for the education of specific children, and paying rent. (YESTHATISEXTRAORDINARYTOME). Still. To do this requires a specific kind of insanity.

Enter Frying Pan #2. (Also known as Jennifer Fulwiller of  “Conversion Diary”).

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jennifer-fulwiler/do-you-want-to-spend-the-rest-of-your-life-changing-diapers. PLEASE Read Jen’s blog post, for a phenomenally eloquent description of the “Both/And” of diaper changing.

As Catholics, we are called to view reality as it really is, not as it seems. And reality is always “Both/And.” It is sacramental. Just as the Eucharist is both Bread and Our Lord, so also are our lives Both/And.

Teaching is both a repetitive, anxiety-ridden, service centering on lesson plans and classroom, and an adventurous opportunity to serve and shape children into faith filled, thoughtful adults. Growing-up is both the agonizingly slow experience of deliberately planting yourself and staying still long enough to grow roots and the terrifying adventure of being vulnerable in a way that only still things can be.

OH THE ADVENTURE!

So, to be afraid is natural when you are having to see the world as “Both/And”… it is super intense! However, natural though it may be, we are also called to “Be Not Afraid!”

For Christ is not fear. He is the “Both/And” of Absolute Adventure and Absolute Peace.