Emmanuel: God with Us

Merry Christmas!

It’s been a rough week. Friends from church lost their son in a tragic accident. His funeral was Friday. My oldest son flew in late Thursday night to be there for the funeral. He, my middle son and I sat together at the church. This family was a fellow homeschooling family and our boys grew up together. The memories were overwhelming. His death makes all of my fears and worries seem SO trivial since I am a worrier of epic proportions.

The homily (sermon) at Mass today is what I need to remember every day, not just during Christmastide. God is with us. He never leaves us. No matter if our worries are small or big, He is with us. How can I forget that it is God who has gotten me through all of my trials!? I am not alone on this journey.

DW came to the funeral. Thankfully, he did not sit in the pew with us like he did the Sunday after he left! It’s been almost 2 years since I have seen him. The last time I saw him was at my middle son’s college graduation that happened a year late because of COVID. As we walked into the church hall after the funeral service, someone whispered in my ear that he was standing to my left. I just kept on with the conversation I was having. I felt the stare. I turned to my left and saw him. WOW! My first thought was, “WOW! he looks rough!” As he walked toward me, I looked away for a minute, he just kept staring. When I turned back, that $h*t eating grin came across his face. I wanted to wipe the smirk right off of his face. The smirk I’ve seen so many times in the last 32 years. The smirk that comes before the belittling and lambasting. He made a sharp left turn and walked past the person to my left, then crossed back to join our conversation. I couldn’t help myself. The words just popped out. I said, “Age has not been kind to you,” and I walked away. Afterward, I felt awful for saying it. I made it to confession today before Mass! I was really shocked that he looked so awful that the words flew out.

I didn’t need to see him. I know my oldest didn’t. Not on the day we were mourning the loss of their friend. Later it appeared as if there were harsh words being exchanged. It hurts my heart that they do not have a relationship. I cannot control the relationship they do or do not have with their father. Only DW has the power to make it better or worse. I cannot control that which is out of my control.

I’ve been preoccupied with making sure my ducks are in a row as my last pension payment is Jan 1. Not sure I ever explained why I call it my pension payment before. I call it that because DW referred to it as welfare for as long as it was ordered by the court. I turned the tables and said it was me pension for having been with him 26 years — 24 in marriage. But with the time drawing near, I have been worried and overwhelmed. Thoughts of the past haunt my mind.

The last few months, the words of my father, the words of DW have been in my head. My dad told me I couldn’t make it through college, OCS, on and on. He told me I was a failure, that I would never be good enough. It’s harsh growing up with parents who always let you know what a failure you are. DW always told me that I was an awful person, mother and promised he would take the kids if I ever left him. He said I would end up alone. In the days after his text that ended the marriage, he would tell me that I would NOT succeed without him, that I would end up alone because the boys would all side with him, he told me that I would never get the house and once he told me, “You won’t be able to take care of yourself, you’ll just need to marry someone, that’s what most divorced women do to survive.”

As I move on to another chapter, I worry about *making it on my own* and being able to pay my own bills. I’ve done the math a thousand times, and it works out. The pension payments, after taxes, don’t even cover my mortgage, truth be told. I found out recently that he’s been telling the boys that I won’t be able to keep the house once my pension ends. He’s even asked them if I know my last pension check comes on Jan 1. Really!? Mercy me. He even told my middle that I’ll probably make him pay more “rent”. I am not sure how DW knows such things. He has no idea how much I make at my current job.

You can’t make these words up. Middle pays have the electric, half the water and half the internet. That’s it. I made the deal with him that he could live here if he did that AND made headway on his student loans. I haven’t needed him to pay anything, but the reason I had him pay SOMETHING is because the people in my house contribute. It’s the same reason my drug addicted son who lost his job no longer lives here. He would have been able to stay if he had made the effort to find a new job and to get help. He’s ben living in DW’s empty house for several months with no job– he’s getting a free ride. It’s a dream for an addict. No responsibility, just typed up rules that change once a month when DW visits. There are no consequences to not following the rules or damaging the house.

I doubt myself a lot. I have always doubted myself and my ability to survive, yet here I am. I need to trust God more than I doubt myself, because God has been with me ALWAYS. I know that it is HE who helped me beat the odds since I was a little girl. It was all God. At every turn, He took care of me. I have no reason to doubt that He will continue to take care of me. As long as I do my part– pray and work hard, God will do His part. I just need to stop fretting and worrying that I’ll lose my house and focus on God’s promises. I need to stop focusing on the words of two men who don’t understand that God is with me, that God is bigger than any of their thoughts or words.

I may have to sell my house one day. It’s a big 4 room house and one day middle won’t be here with his husky and I won’t always have two rescue dogs and 5 rescue cats. There will come a day that I will need to sell it and move on to the next chapter of my life. One thing is certain, I won’t lose it because I can’t make the payments. God is with me. I have a good job and I will keep on working, praying and doing my part.

Merry Christmas! The Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us! God is with us.

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