Date: September 14, 2021
By: Angela A.
For as long as I can remember, I have been the type of person who likes to be in control - I like to plan ahead, I prefer predictability over surprises, and I struggle with adjusting to change. As I am sure holds true for many, I was not prepared for the great shift these "unprecedented times" would cause in my life.
I am ashamed to admit that, while it was devastating to watch what was going on across the
world, I was relieved that I was not directly affected and was able to continue living my
comfortable life. Both my husband and I were still employed, and we enjoyed the flexibility of working from home and the extra time we had to spend together. However, things started to change as the virus continued to rapidly spread and a global pandemic was declared. I became consumed with keeping up to date with the news and social media, and it was increasingly worrisome to watch the numbers steadily rise and hear of relatives and family friends contracting the virus, being hospitalized, or sadly losing their life.
Although I knew it was coming, I took it really hard when I inevitably lost my job. Even as an
introvert, being home all the time made me go stir crazy. I ached to receive the Eucharist,
missed gathering with my Church community, longed to hug my family and friends, was
frustrated over strained relationships with loved ones, and quickly grew tired of Zoom meetings. Being in isolation forced me to slow down, reflect, confront my battles, and sit in the ache of loneliness. I felt that I had lost control over many aspects of my life, and I desperately craved to have my once comfortable life back. I began to experience overwhelming internal turmoil and crippling anxiety. Turning to prayer often brought little reprieve, and I recall feeling so defeated. In my Blessed is She Lenten devotional, I prayed,
"Lord, I ask for peace and clarity. In my deepest moments of despair and confusion,
continue to pursue my heart. Purify me of my own desires, help me to completely
abandon myself to Your holy will, and wherever you call me, help me to accept in peace."
Peace, healing, and clarity became my constant prayer - to have peace of heart and mind,
healing from anxiety and spiritual battles, and clarity in where God was calling me next. While I continued to experience what St. John of the Cross refers to as the dark night of the soul, I persisted in my prayer and began to find some solace. Wherever I turned, I was being invited to trust and surrender. This message was made loud and clear during a counselling session; I was struck when my counsellor encouraged me to hand over the control to the one I trust.
St. Teresa of Avila put it so beautifully: "Christ does not force our will; he only takes what we give him. But he does not give himself entirely until he sees that we yield ourselves entirely to him."
Looking back, God seemed distant, because I was too prideful in trusting in my own powers
instead of allowing God to take control. I had been clinging so tightly to my own hopes, dreams, and desires that I was blinded from being open to God's vision for me. God was inviting me to trust and surrender so that I could be open to the graces He wanted to bless me with. In learning to yield myself to God, I have been given a glimpse of how He has been at work in my life. After almost a year of unemployment, the Lord has blessed me with a stable job in which I have received nothing but an outpouring of support. Perhaps the greatest gift of God's generosity my husband and I have received is the realization that we can be content with living as a family of two. In my previous blog post, I briefly shared about our infertility journey.
While the yearning to be biological parents will always remain, God has helped us come to a
greater acceptance of this life which He has called us to.
To end, I would like to share a prayer that I have always resonated with. It has offered me great peace in the pandemic, and it is my hope that it would bring you peace as well.
Prayer of Abandonment
By Blessed Charles de Foucauld
Father, I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hand I commend my soul;
I offer it to you will all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve, and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father. Amen.