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, February 27, 2014

What I need to be doing right now

I'm having a moment this morning, and it's a good one.  I've been in a slump for a while, and as the great Dr. Seuss says, unslumping yourself is not easily done.  Blame it on this crazy winter (I sure do!) Blame it on the monotony of the day to day, the unceasing parade of daily responsibilities mixed with the unplanned duties, appointments, birthdays, celebrations, and storms, storms, storms!  Whatever the reason, and it doesn't really need to be pinpointed, I am worn out.

I have been running on empty for at least a week. I belong to a reading group that requires weekly checkins where we are guided to compare our week to our weather system, and in the last update I sent two weeks ago I described myself as feeling "foggy".  I never even sent an update this week, so thick in the fog I still feel. And yet, this is the story of everyone at some points in their life.  I was saying to my husband earlier this week that I was grateful for the constant demands of family life, because it has been the only thing keeping me going.  If giving in to unmotivation was an option, I would have totally spent this last week on the couch.  But it's not, and so I didn't.

It's okay, I know, to feel this way.  Sometimes life just isn't easy or joyful - we don't have to love it, but we still have to live.  And so living I have been.  Throughout these past few days the one question that has given me the greatest comfort has been, "what do I need to be doing right now?"  Not what do I need to accomplish by the end of the day/week/month whatever.  But just right now, in this moment - I need to be doing something, what is it?  Sometimes it has been a chore or task, other times it has been sitting for a moment of prayer.  But whatever it has been, it has kept me from sinking into the depths of my slump.   God has always been there, even when I haven't felt His presence, and that knowledge is my greatest comfort.

And then this morning as I sat with my 16-month-old, the kids worked away at an activity.  There were plenty of chores to do, the house was in upheaval, and lunch was approaching. But the baby was on my lap, and she was being oh so sweet.  This is significant because, as a budding toddler, she is no longer always so.  She is learning how to assert her own will, to protest loudly when something doesn't go her way.  She is starting to get into things and make messes, and to throw tantrums when I clean them up.  And yet, sitting with her on my lap this morning I remembered that this is a blessed time. I did not have this time with my oldest four children, I was back to work by then.  But for this baby (and the brother before her) I have been with them after their first year.  I have experienced the slow beginnings of change from complete babyhood and dependance to the emergence of an established personality all her own. This is a blessed time for me to spend with her, and I am so very lucky that now I can.

She was sitting with me and looking deep into my eyes, popping her face directly in front of mine and being silly.   She was totally monopolizing my time on purpose because she wanted to play, and in that moment I knew that God was saying, "This is what you need to be doing."  You need to play, you need to enjoy your kids.  You need to find the goodness that is so abundant and before you in every moment, to sustain you in the times that are the most trying.

It's not always easy, this vocation.  But there is joy to lift us up and encourage us along.  The trials may seem constant at times, and the Lord may seem so very far away, but He never is.  He is right there, in the daily tasks that need doing again and again. He is in the sweet faces of the little ones who make those tasks so much more laborious and yet - so much more sanctifying.  He is there in the cries of a child who just wants her own way, and in the giggles of a baby who pulls you away from your own feelings of selfishness and into the joy that is her entire world.  Life is hard, but it is also good - and we must never forget that.

May I strive to see your face in every moment Lord, and rejoice that at times it is so very clear. May the moments of joy sustain me in my deepest trials, and may I always place my full trust in You.

Only in God is my soul at rest;from him comes my salvation.He only is my rock and my salvation,my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed at all.(Psalm 62:2-3)

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