Called to Be is a series of blog posts on the vocation of marriage, written by Melanie Jean Juneau. Our guest blogger – who is is the administrator of the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers, Editor in Chief for Catholic Stand, and regularly posts on joy of nine9 – shares with us her story and reflections. Catch up with the first article, Advice for People Who Are Dating and stay tuned for the next ones!
“Laugh and grow strong.” – St Ignatius of Loyola
I have always managed to keep our difficulties in perspective through humour. One of my jokes is on the typical marriage vow about ‘for better or worse’, ‘for richer or poorer’, ‘in sickness and in health’. I say, “Well, we’ve seen worse, poorer and sickness and now we’re more than ready for better, richer and healthier”. Then I dissolve into gales of laughter.
I must admit Michael never fails to simply raise one eyebrow in my direction and smile apologetically at our visitors.
One evening, everyone was finally asleep and Michael had gone out to play hockey. A couple of minutes into my free time, I heard five-year-old Jean vomiting everywhere. It covered her pillow, pyjamas, sheets, quilt and was in her hair and all over her face. I washed her with a warm face cloth and lots of sweet-smelling soap, put on clean pyjamas and tucked her into my clean bed.
I had no sooner stripped Jean’s bed, rinsed out all the bedding, put in a load of wash and remade her bed when she vomited all over my pillow, sheets, quilt, her pyjamas and in her hair. I cleaned her up a second time, tucked her into her now fresh bed, stripped my bed and piled up the dirty bedding in the basement. But guess what transpired in the next 20 minutes? The entire procedure happened all over again.
Finally, I tiptoed into the kitchen to deal with nine-month-old Joseph who had woken up during all this activity. I had corralled him in part of the child-proof kitchen only to discover he had pulled out three litres of oil, tipped it over and spilt all of it onto the kitchen floor. Now, Joseph was gleefully laying on his tummy, splashing in a pool of oil which soaked every inch of his clothes, body, and hair.
What was my reaction to this overwhelming scene? I leaned against the kitchen wall and slid down till I sat on the floor with my legs sticking straight out. Then I giggled. Then I laughed until my stomach ached and tears were streaming down my face.
It has been proven, when people laugh at their foibles and do not take themselves too seriously, their problems suddenly shrink and they, in turn, gain perspective. Over-dramatizing conflict is deadly. This is simply an example of cognitive therapy in action: take a step away from each conflict and looking at the big picture, through the eyes of God.
Beloved – An essential spiritual companion for married and engaged couples