Feeling Trapped? Remember St. Patrick

My husband, Craig, has had a chronic health problem that makes it impossible to sleep at night, difficult to get up in the morning, and leaves him feeling perpetually fatigued and unproductive at work. Yesterday he overslept and missed a meeting – I forgot to give him a “wake up call” from school – he was so agitated about what was going to happen that I was afraid he’d have a car accident. Thankfully, he arrived with both the car and his job intact. But it was a hard day.

I spent the morning thinking about what we would do if Craig lost his job. Frankly, if a comparable work situation was immediately available I’d be delighted to see him switch tracks. But at his age and in this economy, he feels certain that it would involve a move and a pay cut. Likely I’d need to return to work full-time as well – immediately. But doing what? Substitute teaching is a great stepping stone to teacher’s certification, but does not pay well enough to support the family. Lord, I need a plan.

A short time later, I received an e-mail from a friend about a mutual friend – a single adoptive mother of two – whose mother had been placed in hospice. She had been juggling job, hospital visits, school events, Girl Scouts, bedtime routines, and every other aspect of family life with such good humor and grace. Now she was about to lose her mother, who had been a constant source of support to her.

Well, Lord, perhaps what I need is not a plan but a little perspective.

On St. Patrick’s Day we remember the fourth-century patron saint of Ireland, who as a teenager was captured and sold into slavery in Ireland. He later escaped, and volunteered to return as a missionary. That is, he willingly returned to serve the people after escaping the bonds of servitude.

This aspect of his life is one that extraordinary moms do well to consider when the circumstances of our lives leave us feeling trapped – as they sometimes will. We can chafe and fret over the unfairness and indignity of it all. Or, like St. Patrick, we can rise above these things by choosing to see

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in the hearts of all that love me,
Christ in the mouths of friend and stranger.

For the full Prayer of St. Patrick, click here.

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