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

Friday, May 24, 2013

With Strength

It's been a doozy past couple of weeks.  Do all of my posts start like that lately?  I'm sorry.  It's really not anything significant, but I find it's always the smallest things that break me.  Why is that?  There's a song by Old Man Leudecke that aptly fits my current temperment:

"Long suffering Jesus, you must love to hear your sons and daughter's moans."

Put in the context of our Lord's sufferings, mine seem so infinitely small.  Clogged milk ducts, to be specific.  Anyone who's nursed a baby may or may not have experienced this, but it happens when your breasts don't drain properly for one reason or another.  Mine was a trip I took with my mother two weeks ago.  I brought the baby with me, but delayed her first feeding by an hour and a half because she was sleeping and I didn't want to delay our departure.  We spent the next day shopping and I thought I nursed her plenty, but I guess she must have been distracted (and I a little too eager to get on with my day).  Things went awry that very evening, and ever since then (but for a calm day or two in between) I have had to clear my calendar, nurse on demand, rest, and pray.

It's been tricky, because even though a clogged duct keeps the milk from draining, that doesn't mean you stop producing milk.  So the longer you go without getting that sucker out, the more painful it is.  It has been a real test for me, one that has brought out the best and the worst in me, all in a matter of days.  The first clog lasted four days and caused me to miss a spelling bee for the kids and a day trip to visit my Aunt in Moncton.  The second appeared the day before a big concert for one of my best friends.  Because the milk ducts become stretched, I am more prone to developing recurrent clogs, which is where I'm at right now.  And after nearly two weeks of dealing with this painful condition, I'm worn out.

"Why oh Lord," I wonder, "can you move mountains, and yet you can't get this milk moving?"  Of course, He can.  And my reaction to this minor bump in the road reveals so much about me.  Is He indifferent to my suffering?  Of course not.  He permits it - for my good.

Jeff told me in a moment of despair that it was like St. Peter on the raging waters.  He reminded me that the strength to stand came only from fixing his eyes on Jesus.  That imagery has helped me so much over these past few days.  Perhaps mostly in that it gave me something to share with the kids, who have seen me walking not so gracefully at times through this.  "Why did St. Peter start to sink?" I asked them.  "Because he doubted," Joseph answered.  "That's right," I said.

It's scary to be so needy when you have so many people who are dependent on you.  Dependent for meals, for education, for attention, for love.  All I've wanted to do these past few days was sneak away into a hot bath, or to go lie down, or to pump like crazy trying to get this thing dislodged.  Not only is it painful, but completely baring.  When your breasts are sore, the last thing you want is a crowd of people around - and yet, I have been surrounded by six sets of eyes on me all the time, at my worst.  Wanting only to disappear by myself until things are better, and even still - called to serve, called to love, called to be present.  To not disappear.

I asked them to pray.  I told them that, like St. Peter, I too need to keep my eyes on Jesus.  But sometimes, that's hard.  And when I loose my patience and get snappy, "that's the sign," I told them, "that Mommy's starting to sink."  I asked them that in those moments, to please say a silent prayer for Mommy to look back at Jesus.  So I don't sink.

I came across this gem of a reading from Pope Francis.  It's a homily he gave called, "Suffering difficulties with patience and overcoming oppression with love."  It could not have been better timing for me.  In it, he says:

" 'To suffer, he explained, is not simply to “bear with a difficulty.": To suffer is to take the difficulty and to carry it with strength, so that the difficulty does not drag us down. To carry it with strength.' "

Isn't that the call of every vocation, of every person?  Whether large or small, no person's life is devoid of difficulty.  May mine continue to point me to Christ, so that I may not be overcome by the small stuff, but will rise with strength to the peace that Lord desires so deperately for me.

"Long suffering Jesus, you must love to hear your sons and daughters' songs." 
(Old Man Luedecke)

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