AND HIS KINGDOM WILL HAVE NO END
by Kate Wicker
Preface: When Melanie first approached me about “adopting” a phrase of the creed and writing about its meaning, “and his kingdom will have no end” leapt out at me and I had one of those Holy Spirit moments where I was imbued with wisdom. At that moment way back in December, I should have feverishly jotted down all those brilliant, Spirit-led ideas, so I’d be able to share the inspiration come my summer deadline. But, surprise, I didn’t and, shockingly, when my deadline inched closer, I couldn’t even remember which phrase I was supposed to write about, let alone anything the Holy Spirit had gifted me with back in the winter. Note to self: Always capture your eureka moments by writing them down, especially those prompted by divine inspiration. However, since I didn’t take any notes, I was forced to start from scratch, and the scratch I was working with was time-crunched and tired. Not surprisingly, what came out is nowhere close to theological treatise but really a, I fear insipid, reflection from an ordinary wife and mom. But, maybe just maybe, there’s something divinely inspired floating around in the mass of words below.
Three years ago I moved to a new town after supporting my husband through a decade of medical training. It was the end of what sometimes seemed like an interminable chapter marked by tight finances and long hours for him at the hospital and long hours for me as a mom to three active, little ones in 1,400 square feet in a “transitional” neighborhood that never started to transition.
During those long, lean years, I always tried to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and to remind myself this hard work and all the sacrifices we were making had a payoff and also that there were millions of people suffered under the weight of poverty, sickness, or both, and there would be no end to their labor or suffering. (And, no, I never referred to sticking to a strict grocery budget or sometimes feeling like I was a single parent as suffering, although I did whine about some of it too often.)
But when we moved in to our beautiful, new (new for us, but of the old and charming variety) home and my husband started his new job, I found there wasn’t nearly as much light as I’d imagined. Those first few months felt like I’d fallen back into a dark tunnel and was trapped in a mire of disappointment. Later, I’d realize it was only reality and that it was my great and quixotic expectations that left me floundering in their sobering wake. Life was indeed not perfect. My toddler still threw epic tantrums. Our basement flooded. Our pet fish died. I opened a box after our move to find one of my favorite dishes reduced to shards. I felt alone. I had no friends. My mom became sick.
I sat one night alone at the dinner table with a beautiful feast spread, growing colder by the minute. It was my husband’s birthday. I’d put the kids to bed early and planned on surprising him with a quiet dinner for two. He’d texted me and told me he’d be late. That was around 6 p.m. Two hours later I started to cry, shoulders slumped, my tears falling down upon my plate making the cold food soggy.
What was supposed to be a birthday celebration turned into a lengthy pity party.
This wasn’t how it was supposed to be.
Shortly after my breakdown, I remember reading Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day aloud to one of my children and realized that I’d been thinking that this new phase in our life was going to be my Australia. (For those of you unfamiliar with the story, a little boy has an awful day or he thinks he does – he’s trapped in that “life’s not fair” funk, which makes you feel like a victim even when you’re not – and he keeps saying he thinks he’ll move to Australia.)
Of course, things did get easier in our new home and our new life, and I love living in our neighborhood even though we still have bad days, and sad things happen to my family and in the world. But how many times have I been searching for my Australia or really, my Eden, a place where everything goes as I think it ought to, where the government doesn’t infringe upon my religious freedoms, where the dignity of every person – from the unborn to the elderly – is valued, where everyone I let go in traffic warmly offers me a wave of thanks, where there are no outbursts (from my children or from me), no dust on furniture, and no basements flooding?
His Kingdom will have no end. And neither will humans’ miserable lot in this earthly life.
But how come some people – even those who suffer tremendously – appear joyful? Because they have kingdom eyes capable of catching glimpses of God’s kingdom in this broken world.
My own kingdom eyes are sometimes a bit cloudy but when I am at Mass and receive the Eucharist, I get a taste of what’s to come – a kingdom and a sweet goodness that will have no end. But for right now His kingdom can only be built in the hearts of his believers. It can only be built when we embrace, accept, and even love the exact life we’re living.
The first taste of Heaven is indeed here in this world, but it’s like an appetizer that should leave us hungry for more – so much more. But we shouldn’t be feeling so famished and bent on waiting for what’s to come that we miss out on the feast spread before us.
God is waiting, waiting for me to find Him in the sunshine as well as the storms and to simply abandon my heart to Him and allow Him start building His kingdom here and now in little, old me. His promises of defeating evil once and for all and reining forever should give me all the hope I need to find peace and to drink up His goodness in this imperfect but perfectly lovely life.
Faith, and that is what our Creed is really about – having faith – is not about believing that nothing bad will ever happen. No, the world tells us bad things happen all the time, but what faith whispers to believers is that when it does, God will be with us. Now and forever. His kingdom will have no end. There aren’t too many guarantees in this human world – death and taxes, right? But Our Heavenly Father’s promise is one we can count on. Thank God for that. Thank Him for that. And live like you believe it, like His kingdom is alive and its foundation is being laid in your heart.
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What are your thoughts? What else can we learn from “and his kingdom will have no end”?
Read all the entries in the Blog Series: Credo: Professing the Creed for the Year of Faith.