Not-So-Holy Family

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In the Catholic tradition, today is the Solemnity of the Holy Family. This morning at Mass, the homily really struck me; the Spirit called me higher in my own life: fatherhood, marriage, my responsibility as the head of the family, and so on.

During the homily and after, not once did I try and justify myself. Normally I would only pick and choose what to apply to my own situation, in my mind knowing that my wife is a non-believer and that’s why my kids are not being raised in the Catholic faith.

On the contrary.

Amen, I was saying to myself, listening to the points that were being driven home by the priest. I’m gonna start getting my kids involved in my parish. I’m gonna live out my faith to the very best of my ability so my wife will see the Holy Spirit in me.

All these are good things, right?

Well, before I even walked through the door after getting home from Mass, my wife blurted, “You need to fix the refrigerator ASAP. It’s not cooling properly. Call your brother.”

I always go to my younger brother for any handyman-related problem. A firefighter/paramedic, he has that manly “gift” that somehow bypassed me.

Before I called him, I took a drink of bottled water from the fridge. It seemed cold enough. Then I opened the freezer and took out one of those plastic bricks that substitutes for ice in our cooler when we go on picnics. “It looks like it’s working.”

That set my wife off the deep end.

So there I was in a yelling match with her while the kids were in the very next room playing. You’re really putting today’s homily into practice, I kept thinking to myself.

Without playing the blame game, let’s just say that I could have prevented the huge argument.

A heart check from God? Probably. It really sucks, though. What sucks most is that I haven’t seemed to learn anything from our 12+ years together.

Like the rock band Extreme lamented in the 90s: “Am I ever gonna change?”



About Topaz

I'm a college teacher, writer, and faithful Catholic. I do my best to juggle all of these while dealing with my mental illness -- a constant thorn in my flesh. View all posts by Topaz

2 responses to “Not-So-Holy Family

  • Food For The Journey


    It’s been awhile, but I feel so blessed to be able to respond to your very heart felt words. I feel sad that your wife is unaware of the gift she has in you. I know this to be true because sadly, I emasculated my own husband instead of really working at getting to know this complicated man that God gave me. That chapter is over and I can only pray that he is stronger because he is in the arms of a woman who treats him with dignity and respect.
    I see you as a man of integrity and incredible courage. You have faced much sorrow in your life. Your battle with depression has been difficult, but you have not given up! Anytime one of us decides to more fully yield to God’s direction as you have, we can expect push back from the enemy. God intends to refine us during these skirmishes, and though they are unpleasant during the time, they make us more like His Son. Because of this, He is glorified.
    Your children will grow to respect you because as their dad, you cared enough to lead them to God. Refrigerator and marriages will break until the end of time, but the strong bond that exists between father and children will last an eternity.
    I would be proud to call you, “Abba.”

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