The summer was glorious, and when it ended, it was time to make the big leap.
I had to apply for early retirement.
So I filled out the paperwork, and the nurses and doctors did too. We sent them in. An appointment was made to see a doctor–in Cleveland, at 9 in the morning, in late October.
I saw the doctor had an office in Columbus. Maybe I could go there?
I prayed that night that the doctor would be OK with this. That I could go 12 miles away, instead of three hours, and make that drive mostly in the dark?
When mom called the next day, the receptionist changed the appointment to November, in Columbus.
I had started, before this, to pray for just about any difficult situation–that a crazy tax mishap would be dealt with easily (it was), for one example. This was another one. Could I drive to Northeastern Ohio? Yes, I could. Would it be the best thing? No, not really. So, I prayed about it.
I asked people to pray that the appointment would go well. I had no idea what I was getting into, but I knew that the doctor probably wasn’t familiar with CF, or transplant, or really the reality of my life. And I was right. He wasn’t, and I had to give the “brief history of Emily’s Life (Part 1)” to him. He took copious notes, and asked a lot of questions. He seemed amazed that I had gone from a job for which I was perfectly suited to one that didn’t suit me at all. I told him I hadn’t had much choice.
He pondered a bit, did a very brief examination, and then I was done. I thought it had gone well. I prayed that it had.
In December, I received notice that the board would decide on my application on December 17–the first of the O Antiphons, the day when many monasteries and convents begin the solemn Christmas novena. I had a novena of my own. Elizabeth Foss had introduced me to the St. Andrew novena, which had begun on November 30th. I had prayed, every day, with this novena, that my application would be approved.
I asked people to pray. I lit candles at church. I prayed that His will would be done, and I tried to cling to that hard-won trust, that had been tended this entire year, with small and big things. I tried to stay calm, and for the most part, I succeeded. I invoked almost every single saint I knew to intercede on my behalf.
Yesterday I opened a letter from the state retirement board. My application had been approved.
Prayers were answered. Trust proved right. God had walked me through every single day of this past year.
I had thought that I knew how to trust. But God showed me I didn’t. I thought I knew how to pray. God showed me how to pray deeply, how to ask for everything. How to truly trust in His providence and in His plan.
Without these past 12 months, I wouldn’t know these things. I wouldn’t be able to tell you that oh, prayer works. That trust in God works. That it’s never misplaced. That God MEANS it when he says that He will give us rest.
I would never have realized how to trust in His plan–how to really trust. I sort of knew, in the Big Huge Scary Things. But this was even scarier, really. Scarier, to me, than being OK with an early death. That might sound really hard to believe. But it’s true.
Out of this year there has been so much growth, not just spiritually, but in things I’ve been wanting to do–in my writing, in making new friends, and spending time with God in prayer. Roots have grown that I don’t think I can pull up, ever. And I don’t want to!
He is there in every single moment. Everything that happens has a reason, a deep reason, in His plan.
If I’d been accepted to postulancy, way back when, I never would’ve learned this lesson in Trust. I wouldn’t have had to.
If I was married, I wouldn’t have had to either. My “safety net” would’ve been my husband’s salary and his insurance.
Only by being in the place where I am–at such a time as this–would I have learned what I leaned. My faith wouldn’t have deepened any other way.
So I can tell you–His Timing is Perfect. His Yoke is Easy. Trust Him. Prayer works. God is always good.
Do I know how things are going to go next year? Nope. I have no idea. But I’ve learned things this year that will help me in any year, and I hope it’s helped you a bit, too. When God asks you to stand on a ledge and look down…do it. Trust that He’s going to catch you.