I’m a new Catholic - just this last year - and am not sure I understand the whole idea of “offering up suffering.” This is a new concept for me!
I need some advice for what to do.
Okay - my “suffering:” I have a very stressful job - I hate it more than I can express. I’m starting to have medical health issues related to stress - and I’m only in my mid 40’s. This job constantly causes me to lose sleep, and I know the stress is also detrimental to my spiritual life. At times, I’ve been required to work excessive overtime which is obviously detrimental to my “family time” commitment as well. Often when I get home, I’m too exhausted to contribute time to the family. I’m burned out (have had this job for almost 7 years) and yet, this job pays enough for us to live in my wife’s “dream house” in a wealthy neighborhood. My wife does not work outside the home, so the full financial burden falls on my shoulders.
Currently our three kids are “plugged in” to events, friendships, and schools in the neighborhood and my wife is near her family, and enjoys living in an affluent environment and having “nice things.”
Here’s my dilemma: You can probably tell that I’m not “embracing my suffering” at this point. I desperately want to take a less stressful job, but we would have to move to a less affluent area and my kids may have to change schools. Such a move would be wonderful for me and my needs, but my wife and children are quite happy in their current situation and would be quite resistant to any change. In past years, my wife has threatened divorce (and legal manipulation aimed at keeping her house) when I have complained about this situation.
I’m not sure I understand how this “suffering thing” works. Do I need to embrace the situation in which I currently find myself? If I change my situation (over my family’s strenuous objections - and possibly at the price of divorce) am I rejecting my suffering?
In case you thought this was going to be easy, here’s an added twist that makes this an even more difficult decision for me: My wife and kids are not Catholic. Yet, they are slowly coming to an understanding and openness to Catholicism. I’m very concerned about what damage I might do to my testimony (and their progress) if I “shake up their world” too much.
At the same time, however, I’m reminded of the dangers of materialism for my family - it won’t profit my wife or kids to gain the whole world (at my expense) and lose their souls in the long run. Maybe I need to force this issue for ALL of our benefit.
Please - give me some advice! Thanks for your help.