Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Gift of Fear

For twenty years I have been a faithful husband. I love my wife with all my heart and soul, and yet, as those of you who are or have been married know, the journey is not always splayed with rose petals. Many days there is a sense of utilitarianism; who's turn is it to drive the children to their appointments? Who will make dinner? Which bills get pain first? Routine, as in any way of life, seemingly takes over: off to work, laundry, cooking, cleaning, disciplining children, and the list goes on. Sometimes we don't get get along at all, perceive slights and hurts both real and imaginary, and are just plain cranky. And yet, year after year, we are faithful to one another, seek each other's opinion and support, and rely on one another for our well-being...and occasionally, every once in a while, we sneak away from the children, go out for a nice dinner or a show, and really enjoy one another. Special moments like these are a reward for our faithfulness to one another.

Faithfulness is something to be worked at. It isn't just "not cheating", but includes an array of actions and a state of mind. As a nurse I work primarily with women, a reality not unnoticed by my wife at times. She has often expressed her concern that a "pretty young nurse" might take me away. There is little chance of that; I am quite certain there is nary a nurse at the hospital thinking, "Ooooh, nine kids...what a catch! I'm going to steal him away and work until I drop dead to pay his child support!" But the real reason it won't happen is because I love her too much to allow it to happen. Do I notice other women? Dyin' if I'm lyin'. But there is only one woman given to me by God that I have been given the responsibility of loving, cherishing, supporting and encouraging. I will not jeopardize that.

My relationship with other women requires vigilance. I won't put myself in a position where I am tempted. I will not put myself in a position where there could be misinterpretation or scandal. I don't ever want the woman God gave to me to believe that anyone is before her. She means too much to me, and the thought of hurting her or weakening our relationship is anathema to me.

Fear of the Lord is like that. Much of our relationship with God is pretty mundane...reading, prayer, Mass, etc. At times of dryness it may even seem routine, and our desire for excitement may make us lax. But faithfulness, as in marriage, calls us to rise above. It calls us to continue the work of relationship, to be faithful to prayer and dialogue, and to continue to reach out. And like marriage, every once in a while our God sneaks us away and lets us know how much he really loves us. That, too, is a gift of faithfulness. Fear of the Lord is a gift that impels us, in periods of routine and dryness, to be faithful in prayer for the same reason I am faithful to my wife: I don't ever want the God who made me to believe anyone is before Him. He means too much to me, and the thought of hurting Him or weakening our relationship is, once again, anathema to me.

Holy Spirit, give us the gift of Fear of the Lord. Make us faithful.

1 comment:

  1. That's a beautiful post David, nice job and well said.


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