ESSAY: Weathering the Storms of Life

A lone tree on a hill blowing in high winds.
A circular logo with a silhouette of a woman in the middle holding her finger to her mouth as if to say, shhhh.

Secretum Meum Mihi Press

WEATHERING THE STORMS OF LIFE

by Kristen West McGuire

(This essay is a reprint from 2007. The McGuires are NOT moving this year.)

“How do you do it all?” Strangers and friends alike point to my eight children and bursting day planner with skeptical eyebrows. Many days, I’m not sure! My husband hands out the oars each morning, and the whole family rows (mostly in synch). Somehow, the “U.S.S. McGuire” makes it back to port each night.

When the going was rougher several years ago, the Lord’s help came to me in a dream. I was curled around a water toy, pulled by a speedboat I could not see, hanging on as my entire body bounced through rushing rapids. A divine hand protected me from the turbulence, but only if I kept my head down, focused on the task of clinging. Focus on the task at hand and let Him navigate. With God, nothing is impossible!

Our little ship is moving to a new port this summer. The logistical details are stretching my practiced “curl” into a dizzy, duty-driven tizzy. When I had my vision, the storms were not of my choosing and beyond my control. This time, the storms affecting my navigation feel self-inflicted. After all, it’s a good move, to a better job!

Whether the storms are chosen or inflicted, mild or catastrophic, God’s help is crucial to our interior balance. An “even keel” is a gift, not an achievement.

Edith Stein was teaching in a girl’s school when she began giving lectures on Catholic education. Frail and somber, she lacked the oratorical heft of her male counterparts. Often, she was introduced with apologies for her plain, juvenile appearance. But her comments were electrifyingly original!

Soon, her calendar was full, and newspapers published her speeches. Back at the school, however, she calmly graded exercise books and kept to her quiet routines of prayer and late nights preparing philosophical treatises.

Her 1932 speech in Salzburg secured her fame, and she dominated discussion at an academic conference in Paris. Thanks to the Nazis’ rising influence, her career prospects ended and she entered the cloister in 1933. Imagine the shock of the sisters at the time of her clothing ceremony, when flowers and visitors poured in from across Europe! They had no inkling of the worldly success of Sr. Teresa Benedicta.

St. Teresa of Avila said, “All things pass; God never changes.” As the waves hit the boat, I remind myself to reach for the Anchor just as the speed starts to pull me under the waves. Even on good days, when I’m tempted to look out across the water and admire the crests of the waves before they hit me full force, I know better.

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,” reads Philippians 4:13. Amen. With Jesus in charge, this ship of fools will safely get to the new port, and we shall glorify Him who sent us by focusing on the tasks at hand.

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