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

Monday, January 20, 2014

Everything I Need

We packed up our Christmas tree yesterday (which though it seems late, still way beats the year we left it up until February, and one of the kids had a major meltdown when Jeff took it out, thinking he was killing Christmas!)  This year, due to space limitations in the living room we decided to take the leaf out of our dining room table and put it in there, in the corner that is closest to the living room and where you could still see and access it from our main living space. It was one of those ideas seemed good at the time, but really (really) sucked when we actually did it.  What was I thinking taking the precious little space out of the room that is arguably the most used in the entire house, a) for meals and b) for school?  Craziness.  I won't do it again.

Needless to say, I was happy to get it out of here and have our room back to normal.  While our living room functions as workpaces for the kids, the dining room is really where the bulk of our teaching happens.  And it looks like a school.  There are shedules on the wall, school books on the shelf, the computer, whiteboard, ABC's, map of Canada.  Pope Francis smiles down on us from below the Crucifix, and the image of the Divine Mercy guides us to trust Jesus in our day.  Our Lady of Grace sits perched beside our Little House on the Prairie, Story of the World, and Chronicles of Narnia.  So good to see all of those things again.  A little clutter makes you appreciate what you really do have when everything is packed away again, and you're back to normal.

For a long time, I dreamed of what I would do if I had a perfect "School Room", and sometimes I still think it would be great.  But I have to admit, seeing the gradual evolution of this space into something that really does work well has been pretty great too.  We don't all have the resources to set things up perfectly in the first place, and so we make do.  Sometimes we do so willingly.  Other times, we feel sorry that we don't have what we wished we did.  But oh, how lovely it is to realize that what you have is all you need.

Our home is a modest 1600 square feet (two floors of 800 square feet each).  Our four bedrooms are small and packed just as full as they can be with people.  There are two bedrooms downstairs which are currently being used between our five oldest kids while the baby is upstairs, but I have plans to turn the smaller one into a girls room, and move my youngest son into the boys room with my oldest three.  At one time I was so worried about how I would make do with this space and so many kids in it (and maybe even more someday).  And now I thank the Lord for whichever genious soul invented bunk beds and realize that sharing a room with your siblings is not the worst thing in the world.  At one point in my life I drew up plans for an addition to our house, and kept them in a safe place - my roadmap to my perfect home. Only when I realized that we have it already, was I truly able to appreciate the gift the Lord has given me, not only in the people who fill my home, but the home itself.

And if it is true then, of our physical posessions, how much more is it of our spiritual and emotional gifts?  How often do I think, I can't do this, this is too much, I don't have what it takes.  My particular lament lately has been that there's not enough me to do everyting I need to do.  Physically and emotionally I feel like I am torn in too many directions at the same time, and I fear I may snap at any moment.  And yet, the God who is so faithful in meager things like space in a house, is far more faithful with us.  If I look closely, I realize that I don't need to covet more hours in a day, less demands on my time, more time for peaceful prayer and thoughtful reflection.  What I need is to make the most of what my life is now, only then will I be at peace, knowing that I really do have everything I need to be happy with my life as it is in the present.

There was a point a few weeks ago at my most desperate when I thought, "If only I had more time to pray in the day, I'd be better at this."  How silly of me!  My whole day is a prayer.  My opportunity to turn to Jesus is ever before me.  The prayer of St. John the Baptist speaks to me so much in this, that the Lord will increase and I decrease.  But feeling the gradual decrease of myself, I was fighting it. I wanted it back.  Time to think, time to breathe, time to contemplate the right course of action.  Time to distract myself from what the Lord was really desiring from me - my happiness right now.  These struggles are really my way of acknowledging that I don't have what it takes, and that I need God. I don't need to run off and take a prayer time to find Him, I need to invite Him into my life now.  Over and over.  For as constant as the demands are on me, my reaching to Him should be even more so.  When one of my littler ones is struggling with something, they want me.  They know I am the one who can help them, and the more they struggle, the more they run to me.  I need to follow their example, and not curse the difficulties in my life. Like a little child, I need to fly into the arms of the One I know is my help.

May I rest confident in the knowledge that I have everything I need in my life just the way that it is, and rejoice in the daily struggles that make my own weakness apparent.  May I fly unto you, Oh Lord, so that these trials may become blessing for me and the beautiful souls you chosen as my partners on this journey.

"Many can never have enough of listening to counsels and learning spiritual precepts, and of possessing and reading many books which treat of this matter, and they spend their time on all these things rather than on works of mortification and the perfecting of the inward poverty of spirit which should be theirs." (St. John of the Cross)  

1 comment :

  1. May the Lord abundantly bless to overflowing this desire to seek Him above and within all things!