A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Love – Fruits of the Holy Spirit

by Maria Kennedy

by Maria Kennedy

The unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.
Merriam Webster Dictionary

We do our best to love as best we can in the situations we find ourselves in. Somewhere in our efforts the Holy Spirit enables us with graces to love others as God loves us. It isn’t easy.

The sting in the tail for Barbara and Roger after Anna moved back to her home town with the children was not being near their grandchildren any more. Roger especially missed Matthew, and Barbara was bereft without Susan.

One day Steve came round to the house with a female friend he had been through school with. They were going out to a movie together and Steve called in to say hello. Roger lasted five minutes in the same room until he stood up and left, leaving Barbara to make the small talk. The next time Steve visited was in the first week of the school holidays with Matthew and Susan. Despite the happiness of the occasion Roger still sipped on a glass of whiskey after their departure. “We never babysit them anymore,” was all he could say into his glass.

Kennedy raisingcreativechildren.com“I’m sure it could be arranged,” replied Barbara.

“It’s not the same,” complained Roger. “Everything’s different now.”

“Anna’s gone back to teaching. She’s also started to get some counselling. We have to be patient.”

“Surely Steve noticed she wasn’t right. Surely he felt as lonely in the marriage as she was. What’s he bringing other women into the house for? Anna has only been gone for 5 minutes.”


“Sssh now. Steve is trying to deal with a very difficult situation. Imagine how lonely and confused he is right now. Rachel and Steve have been friends from way back and right now a good friend is just what Steve needs.”

Roger buckled. “It’s hard.”

Another six months passed. In that time Steve brought the grandchildren around some more during the next two school holiday breaks. Roger was always quiet and withdrawn after the children left. He started spending more and more time in his shed. This worried Barbara until one day she decided to have it out with him.

“Are we going to Europe or do you want to live in that shed and go no further than the letter box for the rest of your days?”

“All right, all right.”

Roger enjoyed the overseas trip much more than he thought he would. The change of scene blew out the cobwebs growing around his heart. He laughed again. And finally one lunch-time sitting in a crowded cafe on the Rue du Petit Pont, Paris, Roger was able to reveal to Barbara his bruised and wounded heart over his son’s marriage.

“I didn’t see it coming. I thought everything was fine. Steve had a good job. He was working hard to support his family. The children were happy. I didn’t like it, hearing the truth about Anna’s unhappiness. That was the hardest part, hearing something I didn’t want to be true. And then all hell broke loose – they separated, my grandchildren left town, my daughter-in-law embraced her parents but left us out in the cold.”

Barbara nodded.

“I have hated Anna for that. She had everything going for her. Couldn’t she just have stayed and had the counselling that way. Why did she have to leave town? The more they stay apart the less likely they are to get back together. It’s all over Barbara.”

Barbara nodded again.

“How do you do it Barbara? You’ve taken it the best of all of us. You don’t seem to hate anyone. I have heard you talk to Anna on the phone like she’s still your daughter-in-law. How do you do it?”Kennedy parislogue.com

“Anna has her own journey to make. She is trying to be brave and honest. Steve is giving her the freedom she needs. He is being generous and selfless. There is hope for their marriage yet. Look at how they struggle. Do you think I find it easy? No way. I miss those children like I’ve lost a part of myself. We have to be patient and pray hard. I know it’s different from our day. We just got on with it. If I’d turned up at my parents’ house with the kids, they’d have sent me straight back. That’s all the counselling I’d have got. But it’s different now. We have to accept that. I think they are both doing what they can to save their marriage.”

Roger reached over and grabbed hold of Barbara’s hand. “Thank you God for sending me such a wonderful wife. Barbara you bring me peace and joy in a single moment. You bring me hope for the future. You have been so patient with me as I’ve taken all this time to come to terms with it all. I’m a lucky man to be married to you.”

Barbara took back her hand and waved it about in her typical style. “For goodness sake Roger, don’t talk about me like that. You’ll make me cry in public.”

Barbara took a napkin and dabbed at her eyes. In a moment or two her composure returned. She picked up the tour book they had been using and turned to a marked page. “I’d like a boat ride on the Seine. What do you think?”

“Sounds good,” replied Roger, feeling lighter in heart than he had in ages.

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