A Catholic Monthly Magazine


by Maria Kennedy

by Maria Kennedy

A state of mutual harmony between people; a state of tranquillity or serenity. Dictionary.com

It is one thing to look at peace within a peaceful setting and another to look at the Holy Spirit’s gift of peace in a violent setting. I consider a marriage breakup a form of violence involving much pain and heartache. In New Zealand, according to the Department of Statistics, over time a third of marriages break up. In 2013 over 3,500 marriage breakups involved children and this is a sad reality.

The phone call came early on Saturday morning when Roger was alone in the kitchen. Roger was irked. It would be for Barbara.

“Hello,” barked Roger.

“Grandad?” Matthew’s voice sounded small and distant. In the following silence Roger felt a rising sense of alarm he could not understand.

“Hello?” repeated Roger. “What is it Matthew? I’m listening.”

“Grandad, Mum and Dad are having a big fight. Mummy threw a glass and now it’s broken. Then she yelled at Daddy and Daddy made her go to her bedroom. Grandad what should I do?”

Roger heard a rustling sound through the phone and then Roger’s son Steve called out, “What are you doing with that phone?” The phone went dead.

Roger stood there for a few seconds before putting the receiver down. Something was terribly wrong and he needed to speak to Barbara straight away. Barbara reasoned if they could take the children then it would give Steve and Rachel a chance to mend their differences. It seemed the sensible thing to do yet in walking up the path to the front door they felt nothing but nervousness. Barbara was turning up without any food and Roger was walking beside her with nothing but questions in his head. Matthew answered the door in his pyjamas and behind him stood little Susan sucking on the ear of her teddy bear.

Barbara sounded oddly cheerful when she spoke. “Hello darlings. How are you today? Matthew, haven’t you got a game of soccer this morning?”

Matthew nodded and held the door open.

“Where are your Mummy and Daddy?” she whispered.

“They’re in their bedroom,” replied Matthew and Susan pointed down the hall preferring to suck the teddy bear ear rather than talk.

“Maybe they’d like a cup of tea,” suggested Barbara. In the kitchen she found the broken glass scattered across the floor as well as an overturned chair. Barbara put the chair back under the table.

“Matthew, where does your Mummy keep the broom?” Barbara started to restore order. She’d soon have everything back to normal and then in her heart she hoped everything else would follow suit. This was her gift of peace.

Matthew found the broom and
Susan, finally with the bear free from her mouth, told Barbara she was hungry for breakfast.

“Would you like toasted soldiers?” Susan smiled and Barbara felt she was making progress.

Roger went down the hallway. His gift of peace came with elevated blood pressure. The bedroom door was shut. He knocked very gently on it. “Hello in there. Is everything all right?”

Roger heard whispering before Rachel opened it. She stood there in her dressing gown with her arms folded tightly round her middle. If she was pale and red eyed Roger failed to notice in the doorway light. However Roger did notice Rachel was acting like she wasn’t pleased to see him.

Roger felt like apologising but an inner strength kept him steady. “Matthew called us on the phone. Barbara and I wondered if you’d like us to take the kids for a while.”Kennedy June Arguing- credit thlovedchild.net

Rachel exploded at Roger. “They’re my kids. I’ll look after them.” And then like the fall of a wave Rachel’s anger retreated. She sighed and rested her bowed head in her hands. “I’ll be fine.” She stepped around Roger and walked towards the kitchen.

In the bedroom Roger’s son Steve was sitting on the bed with his back to the door. His face was buried in his hands. His back was stooped over as if a weight was holding it bent. Without even looking up or turning to look at his Dad, Steve simply said, “She wants out.”

“Matthew called us on the phone. The children are upset.”

“She said she doesn’t love me anymore. She says I only love my work,” replied Steve.

This was big. When did this start? They had two beautiful kids. Everything was in their favour. Roger sat down on the bed. He wanted to ask the very same question Matthew had asked him on the phone. What can I do to make everything better? Instead a grace flowed out of his soul and emanated to every muscle in his body. Shalom. Shalom. Roger’s muscles relaxed and tears started spilling down his face. He wanted them to stop but amidst denial and hope Roger sensed, in the grace, the cross in front of him.

Kennedy June Credit-wallpaperpcmobile.comEven as his world changed nothing could change the deepest place within Roger from which this grace flowed. Roger bent forward and rested his face in his hands and his back was stooped as if a weight was holding it bent. And that’s how Barbara found them, like mirror images, father and son, on opposite sides of the bed.

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