I have been praying for a special intention since the beginning of Advent. The intention was not for me; rather, it was for my soldier, Ryan Shaw. He is a fine young man who has some minor chinks in the perfection that an Army Auntie (like me) tend to see. He is not perfect (ok, I will admit it). He is, however, a good, solid moral man who has served his country with distinction and with honor. I hoped and hoped that God would bend His permissable will and grant my petition.
It is not to be, and that is all there is to that.
I am disappointed. in fact, I am disappointed enough to be in tears for the past two days. I am disappointed because I know that Ryan is not getting what HE wants and no one who has had a place in a person's life since their conception wants that man or woman to ever be disappointed. We know it is unrealistic - that is not the point - but no one who has watched someone from birth and loves them ever wants them to be upset, to be hurt, to be disappointed, to face hardships of any kind.
Look, we will not say that out loud. What we will say is the party line of proper child rearing: we know that kids learn from hardship. They learn from their mistakes. You cannot shield a child from the world, you can only teach them how to negotiate through the ups and downs of life by giving them the proper tools and hope they learn to use them.
The truth is we cry when they cry, we hurt when they hurt. When someone is mean to them we want to beat the living daylights out of that person even if it is another nine year old. We do not believe it when someone tells us they have done something wrong and take great offense to any criticism of them - even justified criticism. If we could wave a wand and make sure they go through life without a care in the world we would do it.
I have been praying and praying that God see fit to grant my petition but He has not and I am so sad. It means my soldier will have to take another path, a path he did not want to have to take, and so he is sad. I don't want him to be sad. End of story.
This is where my faith kicks in and it is why, when I heard that the final decision had been made, my response was to get on my knees and (while crying) say, "Thank you, Jesus."
I do not know why I am thanking my Lord for His decision; I only know that the decision that He made for my soldier is the right one, the best one, the perfect one for Ryan. It is not what I would want but it is what GOD wants and that is much more important than any hair brained scheme cooked up by his Auntie back here in Modesto.
For someone like me - a sober control freak that has a tendency to think she is unloved and unworthy - not getting my way is really difficult. It brings up all those feelings of inadequacy, of not being good enough or lovable enough to get her wish.
But it was in my 12 Step program that I was reintroduced to the truth that Faith means reliance, not defiance, and my faith in my God and His Holy Church HAS to be solid even if what I want is not being given to me in a brightly colored package adorned with ribbons.
I am sad today; sad and wishing I could have somehow changed the outcome of history for Ryan. I love him so much and cannot stand that he is hurting. I feel sick, and I am crying.
I am also grateful; grateful that God loves me enough to do what is best for my nephew despite my pleading and my begging. I am grateful that He is a true Father, one that understands I am disappointed but is willing to stand my wrath and anger towards Him for NOT giving me what I want.
I am also frightened - I do not know what the future holds and I am afraid that this will knock him sideways and off track.
Faith and fear CAN exist side-by-side. Faith and fear are NOT mutually exclusive no matter what false prophets like Joel Olsteen or Mariane Williamson might declare. I am afraid - but I trust in Jesus and I know everything is going to be alright no matter what happens.
But please, Lord - protect my soldier. Bring him home safe, sound and whole.
And if it be Your Will - let the Niners kick the crap out of the Panthers today.