Happy dating Catholics, circa 2009 - Indiana Dunes
I want to share with you all a great secret: the reason that I have started to write. Luckily I saved myself the trouble and wrote it down earlier; so here is the excerpt from the letter I wrote my husband when we were dating:
"I have never wanted to really publish because I never thought that I had much to say but pretty things, nonsense things. I have things to say now. I want to write about this, what's right here, between two people, who never thought they could really love another person like this--and I want to write this because it's really true, it's so real, and I am not afraid to want to write this because I'm not worried that it's going to disappear. It won't. Not ever. I believe in this with an unshakable belief, comparable only to my faith in God and in His Holy Church--and I have since I first began praying. Since Day 1, when I fell on my knees and asked God if you could be in my life and received more peace than I thought possible on any one thing, I have known. Unmovable not as any earthly thing like mountains or the ocean itself, but like God, eternal and True and Good, felt somewhere deep in the heart where only Beauty lives in complete secrecy and yet unbearable light.
You draw things out of my soul that I thought life had beat out of me, forever."
Life is always difficult, it must carry its share of sorrows for all persons, but for the nonbeliever they are so much heavier. Without Christ to make the yoke easy and the burden light, life is so often incredibly lonely and frightening. I am not a very good person even now with all the help of the great company of Heaven, but before, I was far worse - and I hurt myself far worse.
For such a long time after, I believed that my life would be beautifully given to some great, noble cause: likely very poor people in a far away land, or becoming a civil servant closer to home. I wanted to be a religious, to walk around wearing no shoes and ministering to the weary and downtrodden; I have always been just a leedle idealistic. Yet in all my wildest imaginings, I never imagined marriage. Men, I thought I had learned, were not a kind to be depended upon. I was not very good with them myself and seemed to have some horrid affect of making very bad animals out of them.
Like Circe with all those Greek chaps
When Tom and I became friends, I had a new dream: I wanted us to be like St. Francis and St. Claire, great saints of the Church that would set the world on fire with love for Christ! I was sure that our letters would be preserved forever, a record of our growing journey to holiness. But then they took a turn towards something entirely unexpected, and unsought. Tom felt the stirrings in his heart first and I had no idea the tremors it would send through my soul.
True love for another person, without design, falsehood or pretense, or selfishness, must have that affect on a soul so tarnished, like mine. It acts as a polish, shining away all the ugly, cruel and small pieces of myself, until ego is gone. His love refines me, constantly, into the woman I want to be: it is not painless, but it is beautiful, and baffling:
"I wanted to say "I have still yet to conceive a reason why you love me" but that is not true. I know I am cheerful, and at least a decent cook. I know I can make some people laugh.
But I suppose what I mean truly is that I am not sure what of these disparate pieces of me inspire such love and devotion in you."
See my crazy eyes? This was after a very intense rosary walk at the National Shrine, somewhere around 1am I'm pretty sure - ain't he just hotter than fish grease?
What I am fumbling towards here is giving credit where credit is due: if anyone stumbles upon this little corner of the world, where a zealous loud-mouth is rambling on about various topics holy and heartfelt, you should know that any good in her should be attributed to her husband's softening influence and love (and the good God's grace). Without him, I would still be a little lost idealist, doing God's will where I could, but as rudderless as the boat in my Papa's front yard.
The day before he moved to Alabama to begin our courtship in earnest, I wrote this:
it's 17 hours.
17 hours till you're here, finally in my arms like you've been in my heart for so long,
after months of waiting
and more waiting
and desperately clinging
it comes down
to 17 hours.
you're sleeping, peacefully i hope, softly, i pray, dearly....
if i had all of the words to express my feelings right now, then i would be
the truest expressions of the holiest emotions can only be
but not -- here ---
in this space that we assign it.
i can't help but cry. i just can't but marvel. i never thought my life would be this beautiful. i never imagined you.
never in my whole life did i think someone as good as you existed.
i feel i am about to burst and so i will do all that i can do...
so i will clean
and i will sing
and i will
among these trappings of my
then clean some more
because it's the only way i have
praise be to God,