Written by Deacon Roger Carr-Jones Marriage & Family Life Coordinator
What words would you choose to describe your journey through this pandemic?
Words are an important way of articulating what we have experienced and what has touched us. Finding the right words can be a challenge, so we need to then explore how we feel. Feelings are often a part of our nature that we try to overlook, or are afraid to connect with. Yet, if we look at the example of Jesus in the gospels, more often than not he draws out of each individual what is their deepest desire or need. If we can begin to explore our feelings, we might be surprised by what they reveal and how they might help to improve our relationships with one another.
We tend to focus primarily on events or actions, as this can feel safer. Yet, whilst events are important, it is how we feel that opens up to us a whole new landscape. One in which we have to set out in faith knowing that Jesus will accompany us through any difficulties, so that we can open new doors of understanding and personal growth. If we become comfortable with our feelings then this deepens our relationships with others and awakens our soul to new possibilities. Over the past few weeks, a number of organisations that accompany the engaged and married have shared their insights so that we might all feel able to grow in our married love. The best journeys are those shared with others.
For my part I quite enjoyed certain aspects of an enforced time in the wilderness, from the beauty and sounds of nature, to discovering that life can be enjoyed free of deadlines and rushing about! Yet, despite being married for almost 30 years, my wife and I also had to discover a new way of living together at a distance from family and friends. Adjusting to a new norm is not without its difficulties. Has this been your experience?
As is normal during this time there have been misunderstandings and disagreements, often based on our not expressing clearly how we both feel about aspects of the lockdown experience. Being part of the Marriage Encounter family has certainly helped, as it gives us the necessary tools to discuss safely what we feel and need. Quite often it is external events rather than our unique relationship that cause the upset. In expressing how we really feel we are able to move forward.
As we emerge out of this pandemic are we feeling a little battered or bewildered? If so, what is the source of this, so that we may find the right cure. Alternatively, we might have a sense of being a new creation as we let go of what was never that important to us. What stands out?
Has this pandemic and time of lockdown changed how you perceive yourself, the nature of your faith journey, your married love, or simply the relationships within your immediate family and that of the Church? When we ask questions about our feelings, or those close to us, we begin to gain a better picture of who we are and what matters most in our lives.
What words would you choose to express your deepest feelings for one another and your family? Record them and pray with them.
Looking back at the contributors of recent weeks I have been struck by their openness to share their particular charisms to help feed engaged and married love, to accompany on the journey and to bring healing, where needed.