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A Water Moment

alec vanderboom

Lately, whenever I've been having a stressful moment in my marriage, I've drawn on the image of the Wedding of Cana. Instead of getting upset, I sort of withdraw into myself. I place myself at that lavish wedding banquet, where the worse crisis of hospitality has occurred- the bride and groom have run out of wine.

"This is a water moment," I'll tell myself. It's a sort of shorthand to my soul that says, "yes, your agitation is real, yes your feelings are proportionate-- but we are doing something deeper now than trying to validate fears and hurt feelings. We are going to wait expectantly for Jesus to turn this 'water moment' into a 'wine moment'."

I'm a visual girl, so this sort of mental prayer helps me. Placing myself at the Wedding of Cana helps me transition from the Protestant girl who expected the formula was a) find the right guy, b) get married in a church c) don't do anything seriously sinful and BAM! this formula is guaranteed to equal happiness with your spouse for all your time on earth.

There's still this part of me that expects to be drinking the fragrant wine of domestic happiness every second of my marriage feast. When the wine runs dry because of the agitation that accompanies seasonal allergies, or due to sleepless babies, etc., it used to common for me to freak out. Why isn't this working?

My inner conversation used to go "Why isn't this working when I'm such a good person?" Now, that I'm Catholic that former conceit is comical. No the conversation (which is still prideful) goes something like "Why isn't my marriage 'working' when I'm following NFP, hitting daily Mass, consecrated to our Blessed Mother-- or any of the other of my latest spiritual practice additions." Last night it went, "Why didn't my husband empty the overflowing recyclables while I was at choir practice. I'm a choir member, why is this happening to me?"

That's the moment when I try to catch myself and place myself internally at the Wedding of Cana. "This is a water moment. Wait for the wine moment."

When I practice this prayer, it always, always works for me. I get showered with graces. The deal is that, I actually have to wait patiently for the wine moment to come, and then gratefully take a gulp. Sometimes it's as easy as spending the four minutes emptying the recyclable bin myself rather than making a scene. (Yes, more pettiness to wince at during the movie rewind of my life at the end of time!) Sometimes, its a little longer in coming but even more dramatic-- as when my husband's expensive allergy medicine suddenly went over-the-counter and became available for me and the kids as well.

Anyways, many thanks to the dear friend who encouraged me to transfer this "water moment, wine moment" prayer into my life with my children, who after all are simply the fruit of my union. The sacramental graces that I draw upon to make me a better wife are equally available to make me a better mother.

Pray for me, (it's allergy season, I need it!) and I will pray for each of you. May we all one day toast our glasses in the one, eternal banquet where the wine never runs out!