Entering the storm

| Vincenzo Randazzo | November 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

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A friend told me about a family stuck in a blizzard late at night in an unfamiliar, remote area. They’d seen no one else on the road in hours. Their car, though safe and mechanically sound, ran out of gas. Their cell phones were dead, and even if they had power, reception was low.

They pulled over and nervously weighed options. They had blankets and some food. The children were calm but tired. After a discussion, the husband and wife remembered, with reservations, that there was a gas station at least 5 miles down the road. From the radio, they learned that the blizzard would continue to blow for four hours. After a discussion, a distinct twofold duty emerged as a clear course of action for the husband and wife to get the help they needed. So they acted quickly: The wife stayed with the children, and the husband entered the storm. The mother and children would remain in the car and pray and await the father’s return.

This story struck me as precisely what a man must do if he is a man. It reminds me of what is essentially and uniquely good about being a man. And this reminder of man’s goodness has never been more crucial for men than now. Prominent males in society are dropping like flies into the category of pigs. Boys have few men of integrity to look up to. Today, being a caddish bachelor is encouraged. Meanwhile, if a man is considerate or kind to a woman because she is a woman, it could be gawked at in disbelief in the name of equality.

In times like this, my mind returns to this family in the blizzard, with the wife looking after the family while the husband enters the storm. There is a hidden, mysterious principle in this story. Something essential about the complementary goodness between wife and husband, mother and father, female and male.

I offer it as a thought experiment. It seems to me that the man had to do what he did, and likewise, the woman fulfilled her mission. Of course, the woman could instead have gone into the storm, and the man could have stayed with the kids. Yet, that doesn’t seem right, does it? I wonder what a wife would think of her husband, if, when faced with the task of going into the storm, he suggests they first flip a coin or draw straws, perhaps in the spirit of equality in their marriage.

I personally know plenty of women who could make that trek to the gas station, even faster and more efficiently than many men. Yet I know that those same magnanimous women would, if placed in that situation, ask themselves while they are trudging through the snow, “What the heck kind of man did I marry?” And I know no man who would sit in the vehicle comforting the children while Mom’s away saying, “Let’s pray Mommy comes back soon with a tank of gas on her shoulder.”

What ought to be said to the father who, unwavering and determined, kisses his wife and enters the blizzard? He treks the 5 miles steadily and busts through the doors of the shop right before it closes. “My family needs help!” He then returns with a tow truck, gas, doughnuts and hot chocolate. The children cheer and his wife hugs and kisses him, thanking him for his sacrificial love. He thanks his wife for protecting the kids while he was gone and tells her how much he loves her for it.

That’s what happened. And what man wouldn’t want to accomplish that mission? What woman wouldn’t want that kind of man? Mary the mother of God stayed with us and prayed with unwavering trust and hope. Christ descended into hell determined to return to his mother. He rose victorious. Men share in that mission. There is goodness in men. It’s found when he enters the storm.

Randazzo is an evangelization manager in the Office of Evangelization of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and director of development at St. Stephen in Minneapolis. Learn about the archdiocese’s Catholic Watchmen initiative at http://www.rediscover.archspm.org/the-catholic-watchmen or http://www.facebook.com/thecatholicwatchmen.

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Category: Catholic Watchmen