"The endless, useless urge to look on life comprehensively, to take a bird's-eye view of ourselves and judge the dimensions of what we have or have not done: this is life as landscape, or life as a résumé. But life is incremental, and though a worthwhile life is a gathering together of all that one is, good and bad, successful and not, the paradox is that we can never really see this one thing that all of our increments (and decrements, I suppose) add up to. "Early we receive a call," writes Czeslaw Milosz, "yet it remains incomprehensible, and only late do we discover how obedient we were." Christian Wiman - Source: My Bright Abyss - www.plough.com.
My husband and I were driving along the 95 expressway when I noticed the Powerball Lottery of $420 million on the billboard. I hardly ever buy lottery tickets unless there's a huge winning number like this one. Then I buy them because I love being a part of everyone's wish for something bigger than we are. I told my husband that I bought some tickets. He then asked me what I'd do with all that money if I won. I answered, "You're not going to like hearing what I'd do with the winnings, so maybe we should stop here. He said, "No, I'd really like to hear what you'd do with all that money!"
I said to him, "I'd donate most of the money to an organization or create my own that supports single parents and children, but especially mothers. And of course this would also include orphans. I'd do everything in my power to see that mothers of young children are being supported, especially those without any outside support of a father, parent, or family member, who is not being looked after. I'd make it easier for mothers to stay at home and raise their young children while granting them financial support for every necessity that other families have. And, I'd also buy houses for those in my immediate family who are single and living alone, and pay their expenses for the best caretakers to help the ones who need it."
Instead of asking him what he would do with all that money, I smiled and said "I think I know what you'd do with the money, "You'd put it all in the bank or invest it!" He said, "No, I wouldn't. I'd travel the whole world over in first class!" And he didn't say anything more. I was really surprised hearing this, since he travels so frequently already, and is always investing.
"Funny," I said. "When you think about it, we're both already doing these things, aren't we? You're a businessman who takes every opportunity to travel whenever the chance arises, even if the venue or the menu isn't to your liking. I realized a long time ago that you are most passionate when you're traveling. And, you've been happy and successful doing this all along, ever since I've known you. And I'm glad you got to live your life the way you wanted. And, I'm very happy with my position in life, doing what I can to spend time with my children with the finances at hand, and helping those in need. But I know that I couldn't have done this if I were traveling with you! So I've learned to grow independent with you. And I don't think you could have created such a wonderful life for yourself with just your investments alone, either. Don't you think?"
Then I started thinking about his insatiable desire to travel, to invest, and how those desires have always been met. In hindsight I realize that, as much as I would have loved for both of us to meet each other's needs a little more, and have compromised or stretched more at times, in a real sense we've actually done this in so many ways that didn't interfere with each of our longings. We've never held one another back. And the distance between us has given me more room to grow in more ways than I ever could have imagined. My husband was always true to himself, and I've been true to myself as well. This is what I found out late in life, and hope to share this with others who might feel alone in a marriage (as I did at times) or who feel alone because they're single. Loneliness might cause us great pain at times, but it can also bring us closer to the love that is inside us, without expectations from something outside of us. This trust is the greatest gift of love we receive; it makes us whole and comes to us from God.
About Catherine Nagle: Catherine grew up in Philadelphia with 16 brothers and sisters, reared by loving, old school Italian parents. Catherine's artist father's works graced churches and public buildings; her mother was a full-time homemaker. A professional hairdresser, Catherine worked in various salons while studying the Bible and pursuing spiritual growth through courses, seminars, lectures, works of Marianne Williamson, and conferences, including the National Theology of the Body Congress. She is also an Ambassador of the Society of Emotional Intelligence. The mother of two children and now a grandmother, Catherine lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and son. She is the Author of Imprinted Wisdom and a contributor to Anne Born's These Winter Months: The Late Orphan Project Anthology.