How the Examen Helped me Find God in the Middle of Waiting and Worrying

This entire post as well as plenty of resources for #ExamenWeek can be found at Jesuits.org

Early on a Tuesday morning this summer, my four-year-old twins and I drove to the local children’s hospital so they could receive some extensive dental work. I was emotional as I drove, but luckily the boys distracted me. “Mommy, when the dentist is done fixing my teeth, can I have some ice cream?” one asked. “Yeah, can we?” the other joined in. They were blissfully unaware of what lay ahead. When we arrived, they jumped out of the car and darted inside. I ran after them as they sprinted down the long corridor toward the elevator.

When we got to the elevator, I moved them out of the way to let a woman and her baby exit. Seeing her reminded me of the other times the twins and I had been at this exact hospital. The first was when they were only a couple weeks old. They had tested positive as newborns for a rare metabolic disease. For the first two months of their lives, I went back and forth to this hospital until a false positive was discovered and we were told we would not have to return. Then, at nine months, one of them spiked a high fever and the left side of his head swelled. So once again, I was back, sitting in this same hospital’s emergency room.

Parenthood comes with unexpected moments just like these — moments that are terrifying, unsettling and often expensive. I find these experiences can lead me to despair if I let them.

The first time we went to the hospital, I remember blaming myself for things that were clearly beyond my control. I remember being filled with self-pity for the trials I was being asked to go through during the first few weeks of my sons’ lives. The boys were small, so they were unaware of what was happening then, but now they understand more. My anxiety can so easily become their anxiety. It is important for me to be able to take the focus outside of myself and see a bigger picture.

Ignatian spirituality gives me a powerful method for reflection that helps me refocus and redirect in situations like these — the Examen. This time, as they wheeled away my twins to surgery and directed me to the waiting room, I paused to go through the steps…

See the rest at Jesuits.org here (you may have to scroll down).

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