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

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Feast or Fast

So far since the beginning of Lent I feel as though I've been feasting while everyone else is fasting.  While I have chosen as a penance to stop grinding my teeth when I'm angry, the graces the Lord has been lavishing on me have felt like such a treasure that it really hasn't felt like a season of suffering.  But as with any good work, I think it is often the case that there is an outpouring of grace in the beginning to help you gain the confidence you need.  Once you are firmly convicted of the Lord's help, then He gradually allows you to experience more trials, lovingly walking you through them, though maybe allowing you to feel them more - to choose to be positive even when it's difficult.

Last week on a Tuesday I began the rather zealous (at least in my mind!) task of potty training my two-year-old even though he's not shown one sign of readiness yet because a book I was reading (and loved!) recommended the best age for potty training as 15-22 months old.  I am so happy that I did because this week I am reaping the fruits of that good work (in that I can officially say he is out of diapers, and has been the easiest to potty train so far!) But I had no idea that the next day he and my two daughters (one of whom is an infant) would come down with a really bad cold.  For my infant that cold turned into a serious case of RSV, resulting in a trip to the ER, inhalers, and a week of struggling-to-breathe baby while her older brother made mess after mess on the floor.  It was crazy!  

This week my husband has been on night shift. And while the RSV seems to be subsiding today a gastroenteritis reared its ugly head in another one of my boys.  And my husband needed to be to work early today, which meant that from about 1:00 on I was alone with all of the kids.  There are few things that strike as much fear in my heart as the possibility of having six children vomitting at once (seriously?  What's the big deal? Reminds me of this great post) but being alone to handle it, and especially after the week I had last week, was overwhelming.

My husband pointed out that while I was still doing well with not grinding my teeth, I haven't been quite as loving with the kids as I had been in the first of lent.  The grace is wearing off.  Time for me to stand on my own two feet.  Can I do it?

No.  But Jesus can.  I know that God is spreading me so thin so that I have no choice but to cling to Him.  He is allowing the things I fear (however small they are) to occur so that I will not despair, but hope in Him. That I will serve my children lovingly, even when it's hard, even when there is a baby crying and a toddler peeing and a kindergardener throwing up.  That I can choose not to become downtrodden and hopeless, but instead to be present to each of them, as they need me.

It's not as bad as all that.  As I write we have a movie on, my little sicko is eating his first bit of food (toast) since lunch time, and everyone is generally in good spirits.  Which is probably the most humbling part of all of this.  Because in my despair, I imagine things to be so much worse than they really are.  Maybe that's why God allows all of this to happen while my husband is not home - to show me that I can do it, with His help.  That no situation is so crazy that it merits loosing hope, and the best I can do is to respond in them moment the way that He is calling me to. By loving these little ones however they need it best.

Thank you Lord, for the small trials of family life that help me see there is a much bigger picture beyond the walls of my imagination.  May I always live in the reality of this moment, and reap whatever gifts you have given to me - be they given as feasts or fasts.

Rest for my weary boy

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