It Isn’t (Always) Easy Being Thankful

by Cynthia Caruso

Years ago I stood at the family room window looking at the buck staring back at me, the dawn light coming between the trees behind the buck.  I was numb from the news of the prior afternoon, that the lump on my husband’s neck was cancer. Terrified, I thought I was obeying Paul when I whispered the words, “Thank you for this cancer.” I thought we were to thank God for all things. So I did, although I did not mean it.

Jack died.  I entered a 15-year depression.  Life was hard on many levels.

Yesterday, however, I flipped through an old journal and read about one of my monthly visits to the rector of the church in Vermont, where I moved in an attempt to start a new life.  This priest was gentle and willing to listen to me, talk to me, and I always left his office full of joy.  We are still friends.  I would never have met him, never even have made an appointment with him, had my life taken the course I had planned for it.  It was something to be thankful for.

I thought about where I am, right now, at Seminary of the Southwest, and how I would not be here had Jack lived.  He would have been 82, and I would not have forced him to follow my dream.  I would have been caring for him more and more; but instead, I am studying to become a priest.  Another thing to be thankful for.

I thought about my spiritual life, how it deepened after Jack’s death, how it became contemplative and silent, how I learned to pray the rosary and meditate, how I experienced God directly in those silences.  Thank you.

I thought of my connection to two different dioceses after I left West Texas  — Vermont and Rio Grande, how that happened because I went on a journey looking for new life and a job, how people from both churches, both states, have become part of my Holy Family, and how I would never have gone to New England and then New Mexico if Jack and I were married still.  There is nothing to say for these people, except “thank you.”

Paul says to give thanks in all circumstances, not FOR all circumstances.  I never needed to say “thank you” to God for Jack’s cancer; but I cannot keep from thanking God for the gifts of people and opportunity that I received only because Jack did get cancer. 

Cynthia Caruso is a former member of St. Boniface in Comfort. She is currently a seminarian from the Diocese of Rio Grande at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin.


4 thoughts on “It Isn’t (Always) Easy Being Thankful”

  1. Cynthia,
    What a beautiful perspective you’ve been given! You know that I, too, echo your words. God remolds us in marvelous ways–and we can be so thankful for that.

    How about this for a title for your book: From Bluebonnets to New Bonnets?

  2. Cynthia, it is good when we can see how God is/has worked in our lives and be very, very thankful. I agree that I would not be where I am today with a life very full of many blessings, if it had not been for a divorce. God is Good!!

    1. Cynthia, this is a beautiful piece. Our pathways may not be easy, but if we are willing to look for them, there are wonderful gifts all along the way. Thank you for the reminder.

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