As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Running the race with laces tied

Through all the great pearls of wisdom I have been reading lately, God has been saying one thing to me - live in the moment.  Every moment carries with it the opportunity to surrender to God's will.  Every moment is positive, because regardless of the circumstances Jesus is there.  He created me for this moment.  He is in THIS moment.  This is my reality, and I will only be happy if I can meet Jesus right here and now, and respond the way He is asking me to.

This of course is nothing new.  Every person who thinks about there life and what it means will tell you one thing - you only have control over what you are living right now.  And yet for me, I spend so much time just trying to survive the now, always looking back at the mistakes I've made in shame, or looking ahead to what I hope to be - a holier wife, a better Mom, a person who always acts with love and patience, and brings Jesus into every decision I make.  For the past few months I have been struggling with how to make this happen in my life.  How do I transition from this genius (and yet so simple) knowledge that Christ is in each moment, and if I slow down and seek Him instead of trying to survive while it passes me by - to actually living that way?

Thankfully my life is not devoid of opportunities.  Actually, nobody's is.  Because regardless of what your station in life happens to be, every day contains something to distract us, and Someone gently pulling our hearts back towards Him - the mystery that is the purpose of our life, the reason for our existence.  Mine takes the shape of a busy household of little ones who need to be taught how to live, how to respond to this very question themselves - and therein lies the brilliance of family life.  The lesson I need to learn most in my own life is the one I need to teach them.

Yesterday morning I was putting a load of laundry into the dryer.  My infant daughter, overdue for a nap, was strapped to my front in her carrier.  My three oldest boys, having been given their school work and instructed on what to do, were upstairs distracting each other from their work instead of doing it (something that makes my blood boil).  My preschool daughter, such an eager student and very fond of repeating things over, and over, and over, was at the kitchen sweetly calling, "I'm-done-my-page-mommy-I'm-done-my-page-mommy-I'm-done-my-page-mommy-I'm-done...." And my toddler, who was under the weather, was crying nonstop, lamenting the fact that he can't be carried by me constantly which he rarely wants to do, except when he is not feeling well.  And as I listened to the chaos upstairs, finishing the job I had set out to do so I could respond to each one of these children as I needed to, the day full of promise (as the early-morning blessedly is), I breathed deeply and prayed, "Lord, help me to find You in this moment."

Too often I feel my efforts are heroic or sacrificial - like I am being holy by uttering a prayer in times like this, and like God, to reward my holy efforts, will respond with an outpouring of saintly grace to carry me through.  But yesterday I was instantly struck with the fact that this is not heroic or sacrificial, that it is just smart.  That looking for God in each moment is no different than tying your shoe before setting out on a journey.  Sure, you can walk without doing that.  But you reduce the likelihood of falling on your face if you prepare first.  Nobody is writing about the genious runner that tied his shoes, it is barely worth mentioning.  And yet, it is key to his success.  His greatness a an athlete comes from being prepared first.  All the hard work effort and effort that makes his accomplishments worthwhile didn't just magically happen because he, in a heroic effort, put one lace over the other and tied them tight. Neither does the work I need to do just happen simply because I, to avoid a moment of desperation, uttered a simple prayer.  Smart, I will give you.  Much better than freaking out and losing it.  But no more heroic than a runner who ties his shoes and sits down.  Prepared for my journey I must put one foot in front of the other.

I listened to my two-year-old screaming in frustration, and it hit me - this is the call on everyone's life, in every moment.  Two-year-olds of course, don't know that.  It is my job to teach him, all of my children.  Not because it's smart, or holy, or pious, but because it is directly related to their happiness.  How often do I react the way my two-year-old does?  How often am I like a screaming toddler, unfulfilled and frustrated, crying in despair?  They will learn through my example, and I, in being a good model, will find ultimate peace and happiness.  Because God created each of us, young and old, with the same promise - a promise of peace.  This is why we can be joyful no matter what chaos surrounds us - because Jesus is present in every moment.  And finding Him makes all the difference between surviving, and thriving.  Like tying your shoes before the big race.

Brilliant in its simplicity.  Small, yet everything. May my life's journey always begin with finding You.

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