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

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

And The Word Became Flesh

We say the Angelus before Grace at every meal, but like so many other prayers I often find myself just rattling off the words without much thought.  Not so this past Saturday.  Let me set the scene.

My husband was on call and away at work.  When he's on call he still works his full week, plus Saturday and Sunday morning and then the next full work week (for a grand total of 11 days straight of working).  In addition to that he is required to go into work anytime he is needed, day or night, which this week happened to be Thursday through the night and Friday through the night.  It is, naturally very hard on him, but also hard on me to be without him so much.  Because he has an important job, which we are so grateful for because it allows him to support our large family, it very often requires a lot of him, and call weeks (which thankfully only happen once every couple of months) are the most difficult.

I had been up through the night with the baby because he had a particularly bad night, so I slept in that morning. In cases like this I don't mind the kids watching TV, in fact it is helpful (particularly because it makes watching our toddler so much easier for the older kids).  When I got up the baby needed me (as infants do), leaving me stuck under a baby for the next two hours.  They turned off the TV at 11:00 am and assured me they had tidied up their breakfast messes (one child BEGGED me to make crepes for breakfast and PROMISED me he would clean up after himself...he did not).  So when I finally managed to get the baby down I came around the corner to disaster, and I was just so, so frustrated.  I was by myself, and just didn't see any hope for ever being able to keep on top of everything required of me.  Living in the constant mess of my home day in and day out wears so much on me, and this day it nearly broke me in two.

I shouted, and I despaired.  I put in some laundry and was confronted with the mess of the basement.  I came upstairs to get dressed and walked through all the mess that was there.  I went into my room and closed the door, and just sobbed.  How can one person do it all?  

And then, because it was lunch time, I gathered my children around the table.  Walking through my kitchen was still so painful because every dish in the house was dirty, and everything the kids had used to make lunch was still out on the counter.  But I had already exhausted my anger and didn't want to shout again.  Before we prayed I took a quiet minute, something I often do with the kids before we pray to help balance the excitement and steady noise that is bound to happen when you have eight children living in the same house.  During that minute I closed my eyes and poured my heart out to Jesus, begging Him to help me not fall apart in front of my children.  

And then, we prayed.  Pour forth, we beseech thee O Lord, thy grace into our hearts.  My voice shaky, I hung on every word that left my lips as a desperate plea for God to deliver what they promise.  I say these words all the time, but I never really pray them or ask for them.  But this day, faced with this insurmountable struggle, they became the vehicle through which I poured myself out at the the Lord's feet.  That we to whom the incarnation of Christ thy son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His passion and cross be brought to the glory of everlasting life.  By the end of our prayer I knew Christ had met me, and soothed my weary heart. I was far from happy, but I could feel a renewed strength and willingness not to sink into despair; to put one foot in front of the other and do what I needed to do, confident that He would make up what I was lacking.

It seems to me the most profound moments in our lives are often accompanied by struggle.  The fear of leaving the home for the first time, and the joy of a newfound freedom.  The tireless work of post-secondary studies and the honour and pride of a new distinction earned.  The anxiety and pain of labor, and the joy of a new child.  The feeling that there is never enough of you to do what God is asking you to do, and the peace of feeling His presence in a moment of despair, guiding and carrying you.  For me, this truly is the Word made flesh.  And while I think I will always struggle with the intensity of this life, I remain grateful that it is this struggle that forces me to the brink, where I can find no other way of moving forward but to rely on God.  There are no easy answers, no good thing without struggle.  But I can be confident because I know that when I face these challenges, there is always One who loves me without measure, ready to help as soon as I call on Him.

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