Okay, to be honest, I did not look forward to the 20th February Saturday’s get-together. I had thought that the topic was a little bit boring. Or was it?
Geoffrey reminisced a few events in his life. As he told his story, you could not quite predict where the climax of the get-together would be. In every challenge, more and more resilience was required of him. Geoffrey’s good sense of humour fired up the get-together.
Geoffrey started with his first experience of rejection, at his first attempt at dating.
“Men fear rejection…,” he would say. It needs emotional strength to take “NO” as an answer.
It is the little things that annoy.
Resilience starts with little things. Quoting Saint Mother Teresa, “Peace starts with a smile”, Geoffrey added that people usually get annoyed by little wrongs. Giving in in matters of opinion may at times command considerable will power. Peace can only reign if each one struggles to forebear the others.
Resilience in these little things surely trains us for bigger challenges.
Living a consistent life.
To Geoffrey, openness to life is the most important thing to look for in a wife. He knew that with that, every other issue in marriage would go fine. He made clear the need to live the Faith consistently without choosing what to agree with.
To live faithfully undoubtedly needs resilience: as looking for an ideal wife also requires
Just keep smiling.
“Don’t let the devil take away your peace.” Geoffrey went on to describe the most trying occurrence in his life, which began with the birth of his pre-term baby, Maria. The pre-term birth was distressing and expensive. Added to that, were burns Maria suffered while in the pre-term section. Hospital bills multiplied. Faced with what we might call unmitigated evil, human instinct suggests, “Why me, why not others?”. Guided in spiritual direction and trusting in God, Geoffrey would come to assert: “Why not me?” He learnt that suffering comes from God. Geoffrey would not let go of his peace.
To carry such a cross needed spiritual direction, friendship, and unswerving prayer. Geoffrey said in that those days he prayed so intensely that he did not even keep track of the decades of the Rosary. He also described a scene that was quite hilarious. On Maria discharge, going home they entered St Francis Xavier Catholic Church. Maria still had to use an oxygen tank. There was someone in the church then. On seeing Geoffrey and his wife, the child and the oxygen tank, the person quickly knelt in prayer.
The help of friends.
The generosity of friends, Geoffrey said, made the burden much lighter. These were genuine friends. Some gave money, some their time, and many gave their prayers. All of these were valuable. As Geoffrey was saying all this, you realised, that Geoffrey depended very much on prayer, on God’s help. But he and his wife coupled it with all human means they could get.
Eventually, they overcame the hurdles.
Geoffrey’s resilience, he concluded, is supported by three things, prayer, spiritual direction and friendship.