The Anchoress has recently been going through a series of physical trials and sufferings that may eventually leave her deaf. We humans tend to lash out in anger and frustration in such situations and the Anchoress, in her own words, is no different. However, after yelling at God and demanding answers from Him, she was moved to pen an extremely moving essay entitled “Listen“.
A brief excerpt:
We can do such numbers on ourselves, sometimes. We can willfully shatter our own spirits, plunge ourselves into a bleak, lugubrious brood of misery, and we can do it so quicklyâ€¦particularly if we are unwilling to listen.
Driving Buster to work last night, I told him what was going on and gave him a taste of my â€œitâ€™s not fair,â€ rant. He was, as ever, thoughtful and sympathetic. And fast with a response, too, one I needed to hear.
â€œMa, listen,â€ Buster said, â€œdonâ€™t you remember about Job? Remember how heavy his afflictions were, and how he was testedâ€¦â€
â€œScrew Job, Iâ€™m not Job,â€ was my heated response. â€œIâ€™m not some great model for mankind, here, and there is no greater purpose being servedâ€¦â€
But Busterâ€™s arrow had hit the mark, and by the time I pulled into the parking lot my head was bowed in shame, because I knew better. â€œI know that everything works to Godâ€™s purposes, I know it. â€ I admited to my son. â€œBut this sucks. Why is all of this happening to me? Why is all this crap being piled on? Not that I want it all to happen to someone else, God forbid! But why does it have to be me? I feel like my body is falling to pieces and Iâ€™mâ€¦Iâ€™m just so angry!â€
â€œMaâ€¦what have you told me, all my life? God always uses the imperfect – the weak and humble and broken things to strengthen and build up and heal the world.â€
â€œIâ€™ve never said that!â€ I sobbed.
â€œYou say it all the time!â€ Buster laughed. â€œYou point it out all the time! About King David, St. Peter, St. Bernadette, John Paul II, Terri Schiavo, President Bush, heck, even the Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God was first made weak, humbled and brokenâ€¦â€
â€œWell, Iâ€™m not any of them!â€
â€œNo, youâ€™re not,â€ he agreed, smiling as he got out of the car and walked around. Leaning in to give me a kiss, he said, â€œyouâ€™re not any of them, and you donâ€™t have their greatness, youâ€™re just an insignificant woman in a small suburban townâ€¦but in your little world, your broken little self can be used for something good, if you let Him use it. Maybe you should stop complaining and listen. Maybe all that silence in your future is so that you can hear something else.â€
Read the whole thing. I found myself touched by her sincerity and in awe of her Job-like take on things. It’s truly a witness to her Godly character that she has raised a son so wise and willing to respond so gently, yet firmly to her cries.