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, June 12, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Can't See The Weeds For The Garden

This week's throwback post is something I still struggle with every day.  Though we're not as sick now as we were in those days (we were really sick a lot then!) there are different things that cause me to reach the end of my rope.  I'm coming to see those things as a true gift, because they don't allow me to coast along oblivious to my sin.  They force me to deal with that real deep-rooted selfishness, which is still so real for me.  This is why this life is so good, this is why these children are the greatest blessing to me.  I pray that one day I can be the mother they truly deserve, and I know it's only by their help and guided by the loving hand of God that I even have a prayer.

Can't See The Weeds For the Garden
First published August 4, 2008

A priest friend of mine gave a really great homily at mass a few weeks ago. The gospel was the parable about the garden with the weeds growing up in it, and he talked about how in the scripture the man did not give up on the garden, he simply recognized that the weeds were there - the garden was still there, and worth taking the time to remove the weeds. It spoke to me so deeply, as that particular day topped off a horrible week of being sick but not being able to nurture myself because everyone else was sicker than me, so I had to look after them. I'd like to say that in a situation like that I gracefully step up to the plate and selflessly look after my family, putting them first and living up to my call as a wife and mother. But the truth is being sick makes me realize how selfish I still am, and how far I have to go. I wind up resenting them, because nobody is taking care of me. I'm sure it's partly my mom's fault, because when I was sick and living with her, she's bend over backwards to cater to my every need until I was better. I should have asked her to train my family to do the same, haha!

So that Sunday before mass, after a long week of feeling strained, I snapped. I had no patience with anyone, and was absolutely miserable to everyone. I packed everyone up and headed in to mass with the boys because Jeff was too sick to go. On my way there I felt like I was totally spent, and such a failure for loosing my cool time and time again, and not being the picture of a patient parent. I knew it wasn't their fault, and that I was expecting too much from them. Trying to put my negative feelings aside I tried to look at the drive in town as a way of starting over and leaving my failures behind, but they weighed on me, even after I apologized many times to the boys.

So at mass, when my friend was speaking about the weeds, I felt as if God was speaking directly to me. And the message I heard was that the garden is not worth giving up on, just take care of those weeds. The flowers outnumber them by far, and will grow to be even greater - they have great potential. Don't burden yourself with them and give up - just recognize that they are there, and get rid of them. What a load off my mind!

Since then, I have really felt God's grace with me. My bouts with anger have slowly started to diminish, though I still loose my cool more than I should. The real turning point for me came one day last week, on a bad day. After having lost my cool, and even during it, when I was upset (probably justifiably!) I was still able to look at my kids and say "yeah, they're trouble makers, and they're driving me crazy right now, but they're the best!" Thinking that way, and appreciating what I have in them even when I'm angry at them really helps to calm my temper. I think that having the pressure off of me, that knowing my garden can still be beautiful even with a few weeds in it, is very liberating. I don't have to be a perfect parent. And in those times that I slip up, I don't have to stay in the depths of despair - in fact, that's far more destructive. Every moment in my day is an opportunity to make a decision, and if I've made a bad decision a moment ago, I don't need to drag it with me. I can choose to change the pattern, make a good decision, and start new. Because if I stop tending my garden, that's when the weeds will take over - and my garden is too beautiful to be choked out by weeds.

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