The Lord works in mysterious ways. I have long suffered with frequent anxiety attacks brought on by fear of death. That fear has been a severe stumbling block to my faith. When I accepted Christ in my life again and went through RCIA, it wasn’t because I’d beaten my fears and doubts. It was because I learned that I could fight with doubt every day of my life and still be faithful. Faith is not giving up in the face of fear and doubt.
Recently I learned that my sister suffers from the same problem. She sometimes calls me because she needs to talk to someone who understands and shares her pain. It’s bitter-sweet for me when she calls. I’m glad she comes to me for help since we haven’t always gotten along. On the other hand, I’m also sad and scared because I have to walk through hell to pull her out.
I was watching a movie tonight when another anxiety attack hit. It wasn’t severe, but I knew getting to sleep would be difficult. I decided to do some blogging. As I was finishing up, my cell phone rang. It was my sister. She was having an anxiety attack, too.
I wanted so badly to help her. I told her that I wish I knew some good Protestant chants to soothe her and that if she were Catholic, I’d suggest that she pray the Rosary. She was bothered by my hesitancy and told me that she doesn’t feel bound by denominational boundaries and, while certainly not Catholic, she isn’t opposed to all things Catholic.
My heart skipped a beat and I nervously asked if I could teach her the Rosary. She said yes and for the next twenty minutes I taught her the Joyful Mysteries. I was so happy and nervous that I nearly broke down in tears as I read from my prayer book (I don’t pray it often myself – still lingering Protestant bias I guess). We were interrupted because her husband, who’s in the National Guard, called from Iraq. I’m sure she’ll sleep well after hearing from him. I’m glad I could comfort her until his call, though. She probably won’t remember all the prayers I taught her or necessarily even say them, but she listened and it helped her feel better.
I had expected to go to bed tonight feeling scared, helpless, and full of doubt. Instead, I may cry myself to sleep with tears of joy because my Protestant sister let me teach her the Rosary. The Lord certainly works in mysterious ways.