The trip to Florida was odd in many ways.
I haven’t traveled like that in years; I think it has been 10 years since I was last on a plane. I don’t like even the thought of the security lines and all that. But lo and behold, while my daughter was subjected to the usual take-off-the-shoes-and-everything-else-including-the-kitchen-sink routine, I had been identified as “precheck” or some such thing. I went through the express lane. I kept my shoes on, sent my carry-on bag through the scanner, and stepped through the metal detector in record time.
I have written before about being away from home and my chapel and feeling lost because I am unable to stick to my usual schedule for the Divine Office. I was expecting this trip to be even worse on that front, because we would be gone for a full week. My spiritual director helped by dispensing me from my usual schedule and offering some advice which consisted mostly of “pray the Rosary”. And so, though I took a couple of prayer books and prayed Laudes and Vespers a couple of times, I let go of the rest of it and prayed as I could. And I did not feel lost or discombobulated in any way.
While we were in Florida, it seemed as if time stood still. It was forever, but it was only a moment. It was like being in the Twilight Zone. I enjoyed the time there, though it was not without stress. I was happy to be there with my daughter, and to have her help in navigating through the busy highways. When we arrived home, instead of being disoriented and feeling like I had a lot of catching up to do, I felt as if I hadn’t been gone at all.
|...except that we came home to sub-freezing temps and snow...
Generally, I have never felt so much as if I were in the right place at the right time, and participating fully in God’s perfect will.
But it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. The main purpose of the trip, if you recall, was for my daughter to meet the young man with whom she had been corresponding via CatholicMatch.com. This is where the story becomes complicated.
The first couple of days were great; but then satan threw in his monkey wrench: the young man abruptly became emotionally distant and less available to spend time with my daughter. At first, we were both dumbfounded and completely confused; but then he explained some things to her and it all became clear.
This young man suffers from PTSD, for one thing, and a critical factor in his emotional withdrawal was the fact that the anniversary of the main precipitating incident of the disorder occurred while we were there. He explained the circumstances to my daughter, and she explained them to me. Ahh…it is such a sad, sad story. He is under such a horrible attack through this disorder and through the situations he experienced that led to it!
I have never felt so compelled to pray for anyone as I am for this young man. And my daughter has had the same reaction. The young man feels he is not fit for a committed relationship now, given his reaction to the anniversary etc. But my daughter feels more committed to him than ever. She is willing to wait for him to make some progress in dealing with all of this, and has told him that.
I think that a lot of people would tell her that he is pretty much a lost cause; she might as well move on and find a healthy man. But my daughter told me, “Even messed up people deserve love.” Yes, they do, and I am proud of her. She sees who he is under the “messed up” part, and I saw that, too. Of course, that doesn’t mean she has to marry him. She can help him and support him as a friend. The thing is, she wants to marry him, and hopes he comes to the same thought. Even though I warned her that he won’t be “healed” overnight, and that likely there will be issues for him (and her) to deal with for the rest of their lives together, she is willing (perhaps with the naivete of youth!) to commit to that.
I cannot discourage her, because I think God gave me an insight into the whole plan – the amazing providence that led me to suggest CatholicMatch to her, that led his mother to do the same for him, that brought them together online, that sent us on an outlandish trip from one corner of the country to the other, that led to a “crisis” in his PTSD, that led to…what? A renewed commitment on her part, and a compulsion to pray for him on mine. I can’t explain exactly what I “saw” as I prayed one night, but it was definitely a dim picture of God’s plan. I saw the plan for my daughter, and for the young man, and even for the way I myself fit into the whole picture of their relationship. I think there is some small part for my prayers to play in the redemption of this young man.
|My Miraculous Medal rosary;
each bead is a little
And even if what I “saw” was something I created out of my imagination, I know that there is nothing wrong with my daughter “waiting” for this young man, at least for a while. And there is nothing wrong with praying for him, of course! And he CAN be healed in an extraordinary way if God desires and if the young man himself cooperates to some extent.
How long should my daughter wait? I don’t know. But God does. And I believe God will make it clear to her when and if she should stop waiting and “move on”.
There is more to all of this than I can tell you here; but you get the big picture, I think. In your charity, will you also pray for this young man? I don’t want to mention his identity here, but God knows his name and I’m sure He will honor your prayers.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.
St. Raphael, pray for us.