“And the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself.
Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs, and filled up flesh for it.
And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman: and brought her to Adam.
And Adam said: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.
Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh.” [Genesis 2:18;21-24]
Everyone has a cross to bear. Or perhaps multiple ones, depending on their life’s season and circumstance.
Sometimes I feel like I am carrying a number of them all at once; not the huge, tree-like Cross to which our Lord was nailed, but an armful of smaller crosses that I am struggling to hold so they don’t clatter to the ground, their sound signaling the enormity of my failures at one time for all the world to hear.
This is one of those times. I thought starting the Nineveh 90 spiritual challenge would help me focus and bring some discipline to what has been an emotionally chaotic few months.
But today that chaos swept over me like a tidal wave, leaving me stranded on the beach, wet and all alone.
Alone again, actually. “Naturally,” as the Beatles sang.
If I am Adam’s rib to someone, I have no idea who or where he is. In what is still my girlish naïveté (if a nearly 65-year-old woman can have such), I keep running up to the men I encounter romantically thinking “this time will be a fit.” But it never has been.
Perhaps it never will be and I must finally accept that even if all the other crosses are somehow made to disappear, this is the one that I will carry with me to my grave. That this is the cross I was born to carry.
Today’s Nineveh 90 spiritual focus is on hope, which Hebrews 10:23 says we are to hold onto “without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
The Catechism says “hope responds to the aspiration of happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man.” (As Adam’s rib, one presumes the extension of that hope for happiness to women as well.)
Adam had the entire garden of Eden and all it contained. He even walked there in conversation with God.
Yet still God sensed an incompleteness in Adam, an unhappiness that even paradise and communion with the Father could not quell.
So how then is a rib left without a heart to beat beneath supposed to be complete in its happiness either?
These are God’s mysterious ways, I know: a plan I do not understand, a larger cosmic picture I cannot see from the small space in which I somehow fit the puzzle.
“Pray, hope and don’t worry,” said St. Pio of Pietrelcina.
Well, at least on this third challenging day, I managed some prayer.
I shall have to save for another time the challenge of hoping without worry. And all the other third day Nineveh 90 challenges I failed to undertake.
Did you hear that? It was the sound of a cross, dropping.