Husband & Wife Articles


 

Time to Give Thanks

In Part Two, the author recounts how his wife entered the Catholic Church

By Bill Keimig

We have moved past the great feast of Christ the King and toward the Church’s new liturgical year, starting with the first Sunday of Advent this weekend. So, I’m mindful of New Year sorts of things – like renewal and recommitment. It is also time to be thankful, as we approach the secular feast that lands between these two Sundays.

The Keming Family

As a form of encouragement to other guys out there, and as a form of reconsideration of my own fatherhood vocation, here’s a list of things to be thankful for while trying to be a better husband and dad.

For my wife …
I get to be a husband in this life.
I get to be the one asked by our Lord to hold her at night and keep her safe.
I get to be the fellow parent at her side.
I am called to be in her struggles and to rejoice in her walk in the Lord.
I am called to rejoice in her every day.
I am called to rejoice in her maternal beauty.
I am called to repent for any day that she does not see this in me.
I am called to thank her in innumerable ways for the gift of herself to me in our shared vocation.
I am called to be patient enough for her needs.
I am called to trust in the deep possibilities of our vocation.
I am called to not let my foolish temptations impede my love for her.
I am called to not let my lack of understanding leave her heart lonely.
I am called to not let my selfishness steal the vitality from our love.
May I be a husband in prayer for her.
May I be a husband that prays with her.

For my children …
I get to be a father in this life.
I get to be the one asked by our Lord to show these souls what their heavenly Father is like.
I get to send them as apostles into the world.
I am called to be a gentle father.
I am called to take time and care to praise my children far more than criticize them.
I am called to find ways to let my heart really delight in my children.
I am called to find ways to recover from points of anger.
I am called to love them with energy, even at the end of the day.
I am called to arrange my life so that I can think about them with creative energy.
I am called to stop other activities in the moment of their need.
I am called to make time to teach them about God’s wonders, in detail.
I am called to be their highest and most frequent encourager.
I am called to think with them in their troubles, not for them.
I am called to laugh with them.
May I be a father that prays for them.
May I be a father that prays with them.

I am called to pay better attention. When asked in the evening, I often declare that the day was “fine.” Yet this merely testifies to an experience passed through without much trouble. But that doesn’t mean I’ve seen God in the day and discerned his lessons for me. My wife is supposed to help me with that, and I am called to share myself sufficiently for that to be possible.

Fellow husbands and dads, whatever appears most difficult on the above list, is the most fruitful to pray about. The measure of the inertia is the measure of its value to you. This is the step of trust of Mother Church that most asks of you a real surrender – a fuller conversion, a step out of yourself that offers a veiled goodness. Bend to this.  We only get one chance to live out a Catholic life; one chance to claim immense and challenging promises beyond our understanding. So, let us step to the kneeler and pray.

Bill Keimig writes from Maryland, where he lives with his wife, Heather (who wrote the Husband & Wife column for May 2011), and their five children.