We Are On the Same Side - A Letter from Kathryn

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Dear Sister,

Many a little girl has dreamt of her wedding day. I never did. I remember so clearly when my day came...

I stood before him in delicate white lace and thousands of little beads and he stood before me with his vest and calla lily boutonniere as we said those words, “I promise to be faithful to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love you and to honor you all the days of my life.” We smiled and beamed in such incredible awe that this was real. 

After five years of dating, it was happening. He was my husband and I was his wife. Just as I felt upon graduating high school, returning from missionary work, transferring colleges, and now this: the world was open to me. I could do anything. Now it was “we.” We could do anything. We could go anywhere. The world was open to us.

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I could not really imagine what lay before us. These were our vows. We were on the same side. If we fought, we needed to remember the lessons we learned in dating. It is not, “me against him.” We are on the same side.

So the long vocational road led me to this: to marriage, to be his bride, to become the mother of his children. It was because I saw that he loved me as Christ loved me that I knew I could marry him. 

As the years past, I would learn to love him as I learned to love God: to choose every day to love him, to accuse myself of my sins, to ask for forgiveness, to love even when love is the last thing on my mind. 

The love I learned from him taught me how to love the Lord when the going got rough...

...as my infant son lay on that Pediatric ICU bed, just sleeping...sleeping so long and not waking because he is too weak...because he is two months old and below his birth weight. 

...as we learned I was pregnant again before we were out of the present crisis and I lived half the time two hours away from home, at the hospital. 

...as we learned this baby’s condition was genetic and I could be carrying another baby who could suffer the same.

...as we learned that it was much, much worse. The little baby inside me would die the day she was born. 

We are on the same side. How could I have seen that on that day when I made those vows, that the success of this relationship would take me back to God, help me to trust him, at the very least, not to hate him? I learned to believe, as I sat on that hospital room, we are on the same side.

This is the journey of my life. Your life will look different. Your ups and your downs, your perfectly imperfect moments will all look different. Whatever you are going through, whether alone or with a partner, you are never alone. Someone is on your side.

With love,

Kathryn


Get to know Kathryn

Tell us a little bit about yourself! 

My name is Kathryn Casey. I am 31 years old. I am freelance writer, housewife, life coach, and in my heart of hearts, an artist.

What do the first two hours of your day look like? 

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The first two hours of my day are either spent jumping out of bed to change diapers, dress children, wash a load of laundry and complete morning medical tasks for my youngest son; or they are spent laying in bed another 15 minutes, looking out the window at the sight of purple plumb tree leaves against the blue sky, showering and dressing and writing while I occupy my youngest son before his TPN cycle completes...and then I do all the tasks in the first scenario. Fortunately, my husband makes breakfast.

What's one fear that keeps you up at night?

I am working through the process of grieving. Now being on the other side of my child dying, I am more fearful for the children I still have living. 

Tell us about the first time you experienced a strong sense of belonging in the Catholic Church. 

It was through the repeat attendance of daily mass in a small, simple chapel. The more I went, the more I sunk into the love of God and knew that I was loved. Everything outside those moments only confirmed what he was telling me.

Favorite literary character (from a book, movie, TV series). Go! 

Jane Eyre! There was a world of adventure behind Jane Eyre’s eyes that only someone as wild as Mr. Rochester could fully understand and appreciate. She saw the world around her with the animation of her imagination. She also demonstrated strength of character: fleeing from the temptation to live a sinful life, no matter how painful the sacrifice was.

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What’s one of the greatest lessons you’ve learned about life from marriage?

The most powerful pearl of wisdom I have held onto these past two years is “adapt or die.” We can either make the best of things, or we lay down and give up. The latter is not an option. 

Name one thing you’ve learned about yourself, since being married. 

I have learned that those qualities I thought were problems in relationships (my over-the-top passion, my assertiveness, my commitment to truth, my fiery righteous anger) are qualities the people who love me best love most about me. It is good to know that no matter how I doubt myself, there is someone who believes in me. I can use that as a standard against which to judge myself, rather than my own self-criticism.

What advice would you give to a woman who’s getting married soon? 

To a woman getting married soon I would say, the desire to always grow covers a multitude of ills. You and your future spouse will probably make many mistakes, big ones and little ones. The desire to grow makes each mistake a learning experience, each discussion worthwhile, and each reconciliation sincere. 

Do not fear the future. You will never be ready, so you may as well dive in with your whole heart. Face this crazy world with your partner and never give up hope.