Burdens

Have you ever noticed that, when you’re feeling weighed down by the need to make an exceptionally important decision, you really do feel physically burdened by it? It’s as if “the decision” takes up residence in your head and neck and shoulders and forces you to carry it around with you everywhere.

For single parents, the heaviest burden has to be when we need to make a critical decision – alone – in connection with our child. I don’t think it makes any difference how accustomed we’ve become to doing things on our own. Deciding whether to get a fixed- or variable-rate mortgage doesn’t even belong in the same sentence with deciding what direction to take when, for example, your child’s health is at stake.

I’m going through a difficult time these days because of an impending decision that only I can make for my son. To protect his privacy, I won’t discuss the specifics; but I worry so much about making the wrong decision.

It’s scary for one person to have so much responsibility for another person’s life. When major decision-making falls totally on one parent’s shoulders, especially when there are multiple options, no clearly “right” or “wrong” choices, it’s indescribably nervewracking.

I love my son so much and I want to do whatever is best for him, for his future. But how am I supposed to know what that “best” thing is?

Of course I have doctors and other professionals, my dear boyfriend, relatives, friends, and many other kind people with whom to discuss this. But when all is said and done, it’s up to me. That’s probably why I research, read, ask questions, make phone calls and write e-mails, day after day after day. I’m terrified of missing something important, of leaving a stone unturned.

Information is power, one of my friends tells me. So why don’t I feel powerful?

I’m sure that married parents, or unmarried parents who are both alive and can speak to each other (not an option when the other parent is dead), have similar worries. They too must hope that they’re making the right decision in such situations. But at least they can make it together, with the comforting knowledge that someone else who loves their child as much as they do has reached the same conclusion (assuming they agree).

Thankfully, I do have God to lean on, so I’m praying for His guidance. (Actually it’s more like Hello, God, what am I supposed to do here? Help me, please!)

I do find myself playing one particular hymn over and over these days; it seems to speak precisely to the way I’m feeling.

*****

Holy Darkness

Holy darkness, blessed night,
heaven’s answer hidden from our sight.
As we await you, O God of silence,
we embrace your holy night.

Holy darkness, blessed night,
heaven’s answer hidden from our sight.
As we await you, O God of silence,
we embrace your holy night.

I have tried you in the fires of affliction;
I have taught your soul to grieve.
In the barren soil of your loneliness,
there I will plant my seed.

Holy darkness, blessed night,
heaven’s answer hidden from our sight.
As we await you, O God of silence,
we embrace your holy night.

In the deepest hour of your darkness
I will give you wealth untold.
When the silence stills your spirit,
will my riches fill your soul.

Holy darkness, blessed night,
heaven’s answer hidden from our sight.
As we await you, O God of silence,
we embrace your holy night.

Holy darkness, blessed night,
heaven’s answer hidden from our sight.
As we await you, O God of silence,
we embrace your holy night.

Text: Inspired by St. John of the Cross, 1542–1591. Text and music © 1988, 1989, Daniel L. Schutte. Published by OCP Publications. All rights reserved.

*****

I take this song to mean that, when it feels most like God isn’t paying any attention to me, His answer will come if I’m just still and quiet and listen carefully for it.

I’m listening, God…..

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