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.

Comments are closed.