Prayers, Observations and reflections on the way to being.
The angel who became my wife
The dedication in my book partly reads:
And for retired Monsignor Arsenio Bautista, a model of joyful holiness, uncle and spiritual guardian of Annie, the angel who became my wife and the mother to Xenia and Marita.
Today, Annie and I walked to Starbucks. It's about a mile from the house. When we started, it was windy, and rainy. We got out of the garage, and closed it. After a minute, I felt really cold. The wind was getting through my clothing. I wanted to turn back. Annie, whose arthritic toes and fingers hurt when it's cold, suggested, why don't we walk around the block first. I agreed. It didn't improve my attitude. Top of the hill, Roy said again, I am cold. Let's go home. She ignored it and said, how about if we walk to the junior high then decide. In short, I stopped my whining, and we walked toward Starbucks.
To cross the Bothell-Everett Highway to Starbucks, we needed to push the traffic light button. I told Annie I mentioned to my office friends on one of our lunch walks that Annie only hits the button once. ONCE! My friends tried to hit it once, but habit won. Annie hits it only once! I see that as faith! Do you need more proof that she's an angel? She seldom makes mistakes. All her choices are the right choices. But...
She married me in 1972, stuck with me during the hard times even when I was a total jerk. It was hell for her in the first 20 years. Then, according to her, through her prayers and perseverance and patience AND faith, I started turning around. I did not know how to listen (jerks only listen to themselves). I was a standard-issue male: when she told me something, I offered a fix or a solution. She's told me a million times: I don't want solutions. Just listen. So, in 2000, I took and finished a 2-year spiritual direction training at St Placid Priory to learn how to listen to her. During the same time frame, I became an Oblate of St Benedict. That was the start of a more focused spiritual journey that led to this book. That's when I asked her: Are you happy being with me? Finally she said, yes. That she's happy with me made me really happy.
The acknowledgments at the end of my book concluded: This book is a flower that bloomed where it was planted. The garden is my wife, Annie's, spacious and pure heart. My conversion from a self-centered person to a monk-wannabe which she catalyzed with prayer, kindness, and stick-to-itiveness, echoes throughout the book.
Now, there is a downside to being married to an angel. I think angels, being pure of heart, have perfected the art of holy detachment. One afternoon I told her I am creating a list of people I would like her to contact in case I die without warning. (I was serious. I am. I remind myself almost everyday that this could be the day I die.) She looked at me and said, Okay. Same deal when one time I had to go to my monastery near Olympia (a 1.3-hour drive) and I kissed her goodbye and I said: Might not see you again. She said, okay, bye. No drama. Her face calm, voice steady. As if I just told her I was going to Home Depot. Maybe Home Depot is heaven... well, definitely to home improvement guys, which is definitely not me.
Who is the angel in your life? Are you an angel to someone?
From Psalm 34:6-7 -
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.