Amongst the chaos, Benedetta’s “yes”

The dissatisfaction of being a full-time mum. But getting a job is still not enough. Envy towards those who are happy grows. "I desperately needed Someone to hold it all together." Then those words heard at mass, which open wide the possibilities…

I have been living in Nottingham with my family for a few years now. Since we moved to England I have been a full-time mum, but at one point, over a year ago, when our second child was still young, I had a sort of breakdown. I felt disappointed, nervous and I kept asking myself what my life was worth: "What is my place, my role in the world?"

Unexpectedly, thanks to a new friend, I had the idea of organizing an Italian course for English people in my city. It was a great success, I liked doing it and it gave me enough to send my little girl to nursery. And yet, after a few months, I was still not satisfied. It was a chance to earn more money, which was something very positive, but it was not enough to make me happy. Why not? I wanted to be more than just a mum. I thought that a job would help me be a better, more important person in the world, at least in my own little world.

At the same time, I started skipping School of Community for various (often reasonable) reasons. And in any case it was not a place where I shared this inner struggle. I thought it was a minor problem compared to those of my other friends.

And then I was also envious of a friend who talked to me about how her relationship with her husband had grown in recent years. In regards to me and my husband, I had not seen anything grow. I had not even been able to share the difficulty I was experiencing with my husband, I was just trying to show him that I could be more than just a stay-at-home mum. But my problem was not solved. I felt like I was wasting time with my husband and children too. And I was losing my faith.

I realized this during the summer holidays: I no longer wanted to depend on something that measured how much I was worth, whether it was a job, money or the compliments of my husband and children. I desperately needed Someone to hold all this together, I wanted to live my faith seriously, as I saw someone further ahead of me, who I envied for how visibly in love with Jesus and happy he was. Thus I decided to change the priorities in my day, I had to give time and space to His Presence, I wanted Him to guide me in what I had to do. First of all, I started going to Mass as soon as I could. The first day I did so, I came across the expression of the prophet Isaiah: "You are precious in my eyes.” I burst into tears, because that is what I was waiting for: Someone to tell me that I was precious in His eyes.

Then I decided that I had to accept the challenge and trust School of Community: I think it was the first time ever that I looked sincerely at the faces of our friends in the community. I asked Him to speak to me through them. This opened a totally new reality wide before me. Not in the sense that the community solves my problems, but they, first of all, help me to remember who we are following and why.

From the first time we met for School of Community in September, it seemed like a miracle to me: each of us, for different reasons, had been deeply affected by an event or friendship. Christ was still happening before my eyes. That place, those faces are becoming more and more a place that I can call home. The best thing about our friendship, with some of them in particular, is that they "force" me to recover my relationship with Him. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. And even when we think we are able to answer other people's questions, there is something, an event, that brings us back to the origin, for example the Beginning of the Year Day in London in October.

For me, going was a big effort because it meant being out of the house for twelve hours. But I had so many questions, even about my marriage, that I decided to go. As soon as I left Nottingham, I realised that I was surrounded by people who could really be the companionship in my life. Perhaps, in another situation, without all that inner torment, I would not have noticed. When we arrived in London, it was clear to me that He had really made us a promise: "I am always with you.” I was moved to tears listening to Fr. Giussani as I reflected on the chaos that reigned in my life and how I felt lost. I usually do not cry like that. But He was there, He spoke to me, He asked me to say yes to the companionship He had sent me. So when a friend sitting next to me saw me in that state, I had to choose. I asked myself, "Do I really want to follow You? Is it true that You create the circumstances for me?" That friend did not try to solve my problems, nor did he say, "Everything will be fine." He embraced me and kept my questions open, making me reflect upon my position before reality, the point where my faith was in complete chaos. At first, I did not understand it, but now I am beginning to realize that this is the best gift of a true friendship.

I have always heard these things repeated over the last twenty years. But when I began to realize that everything had changed, our little School of Community really became a miracle in my eyes. There has not been a Tuesday that I have not experienced His real presence among us. And if that is true, I do not need to save anyone or build anything special and achieve anything special in life. The proof of that is the fact that you care more about people, the house, the children. And probably others see it, because they start saying to you: "You are different: you ask me things that no one else asks me, you really care about me, I want to be with you.” And I want to live like that.

Benedetta, Nottingham, United Kingdom