My wife and I are entering into that phase of life where the nest begins to empty. And the problem is, it keeps getting more empty. Two years ago we took our oldest to college 14 hours away from home. I felt like someone punched me in the stomach as we left campus for the long trek home …alone, or without her. Now in two weeks we take our second to the same campus.
I think it will hurt less, in a way, because I can anticipate the pain and I know that the sharp pain dulls over time. I think it will hurt more because we will come back to our home which is even more empty now. I have had many moments over the last several weeks where that reality has hit me like a ton of bricks. Of course, those moments are usually in the middle of the night. Part of me wants to rush upstairs and wake this new college-bound student up and hug her, but I figure she would be less than thrilled! So, instead I offer my pain to Jesus through my mother, His mother, Mary. She knows that pain of separation. In fact, she knows it far better than I. I am dropping a child or children off at a wonderful Catholic college (ask me sometime about how awesome Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., is!), but Our Lady knelt at the foot of the Cross and endured the ultimate separation.
After offering my pain, I pray the Rosary. I don’t know why it works, but let me tell you, it does!
Sometimes I fall asleep long before I finish the Rosary. Sometimes I finish the Rosary and fall asleep immediately after. But I always feel lighter and more ready to cope with the inevitable suffering to come. Jesus wants to help us carry our burdens and He has given us Mary to accompany us as well.
When you feel alone, scared, sad or even worse, may I recommend that you invite Jesus and Mary to help you? May I suggest you pray the Rosary?
— Pat Arensberg is the Director of Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life. Email him at email@example.com
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