Operating on Faith by Matt Weber is a memoir about suffering, marriage, love and what happens in life when you think everything is perfect.
I will be honest, I didn’t really think that I would relate much to a book written by someone who pretty much seemed to have everything so well together. As I began reading this book the author spoke about his perfect life, his parents who are still together and his wonderful Texas engagement party in Houston, Texas, which is my favorite Texas city, and I wondered what exactly could someone with that life teach me about faith. A lot it turns out. This book was really what I needed to read at this time in my life when I feel completely abandoned by God on most days.
Not only does Mr. Weber do a great job in telling the story of the hardest year in his life, but he does so with a sense of humor and a love for his new wife that is so honorable it gives Catholic men a good name.
I have often not really given credit to the suffering of people who don’t have the kind of childhood trauma that I have nor do I give much thought to newlyweds who say they are having a hard time. I think that I am the only one whose life sucks. And if I had this or that I would somehow have no worries or suffering. Not to mention that I believe that people who do things the “right way” are magically rewarded with all their dreams coming true. It’s an issue and this book helped me to understand that we all suffer, it is part of the human condition and what I see on the outside doesn’t really show the hardship that someone is facing inside their life.
I admire Weber for writing this book and opening up about his health crisis during his first year of marriage and his struggle with his faith life. In Chapter 14 he writes about feeling sorry for himself and then realizing that he was on a hospital floor with transplant patients which gave him a reality check. That chapter was a reality check for me. I sat outside on a warm Spring day in the front yard of my beautiful house with the sun pouring down on my face and for the first time in a long time I thanked God for my life. It opened my eyes to just how ungrateful I can be when I wallow in my own misery instead of taking time to appreciate the warm sun on my face.
I could really relate to the hashtag prayers that Mr. Weber was throwing up in the air at that time “@God Come on Big man! Not the level of customer service I’ve come to expect from you. What gives? #fml”. Yes! I have been known to throw up a very similar prayer. And there it is, what someone with my past and someone with a pretty normal life have in common: we are Catholic and sometimes we have moments where we ask God what gives. Hashtag fml is the new way of saying “why have you abandoned me”. I get it.
I read Operating on Faith in one sitting and it is the kind of book that I am sure God sent to me personally even if it was disguised as a book to read for “work” aka the Patheos Book Club. It was the kick in the pants that I needed to get back to my prayer life!