“…in times of trouble.” Sometimes it seems like all the times are times of trouble. But that’s ok cuz there’s nothing wrong with camping out in your Fortress and just not budging. Just plop yourself down and pull the loving arms of our Father around you, and snuggle in. Stay there. Don’t try to do this on your own. He’s here for you. He’ll take care of everything and in the end it will all be OK… because He loves you that much. So much. So much. So much! For ever and ever. Amen!
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:18
In all circumstances…? Really…?
The other day, my five year old tiptoed down the hall mumbling something about a “big pwoblem in da baffwoom.” Uh-oh, the toilet must be clogged again, I thought. I made my way down the hall from whence he came.
I had to gasp when I opened the door. I’m glad I didn’t actually shriek. There was a pond on the bathroom floor and the sink was overflowing, the faucet on full-blast.
Oy vey. At least it wasn’t toilet water.
I had some time to think while cleaning up the mess. (It took every dry towel in the house, by the way.) And this is what I thought: “Why me, Lord? Why this? Why, why, why?”
Yep, I was basically throwing the adult version of a temper tantrum. Embarrassing.
A bit later, though, when the bathroom was mostly dry, the soggy towels were in the wash, and I had some time to catch my breath, I could see that, yes, I should have started giving thanks right away instead of wailing and oh-poor-me-ing. Because, for one thing, it wasn’t an overflowing toilet with pee and poo spewing out onto the floor! It was a relatively clean mess: just plain old tap water. Thank you, Lord.
And for another thing: my kids and I are at home. We have the ability to homeschool. If they’d been in public school and daycare, and I’d been out making money somewhere, this wouldn’t have happened… but I don’t have to make money and I can stay home with my kids. Thank you, Lord.
And for another thing: this was the worst episode we’d had in a while. A puddle of water on the floor. We haven’t had any broken bones, auto accidents, or lost toddlers for… well, ever. If this is the worst calamity that’s happening to me and my family in this vale of tears, then wow! Thank you, Lord!
It just goes to show, we really can give thanks in all circumstances. I know a bathroom full of overflowing tap water isn’t the worst thing that can happen this life; but I also know that God always knows best. He’s arranging everything for our benefit… and He never makes a mistake.
Thank you, Lord.
“If you have so many defects, why are you surprised to find defects in others?” — St. Josemaria Escriva
I took my five youngest kids to Adoration this morning. (We homeschool and we’re in the habit of taking a weekly ‘field trip’ on Wednesdays to visit Jesus and swing by the grocery store.) It’s a silent Adoration chapel, and my 3 and 5 year olds aren’t so good at being silent, so we only ever stay for a few minutes. Five or ten is usually the max.
My 5 year old plopped himself down in one of the rocking chairs and started rocking. There were several older folks in the chapel and I wondered if the squeek-squeek, squeek-squeek from the rocking chair would bother them, but then I just looked at Jesus and guessed that it didn’t really matter, for five or ten minutes.
Well, after about sixty seconds one of the old ladies got up from her chair, went over to my son, and started holding his chair still so he could no longer rock it. Sigh.
I thought older people were supposed to have developed a higher tolerance to all the little annoyances that life can throw at you. I was disappointed and offended that a woman twice as old as myself, most likely with children and grandchildren of her own, would care so much about a squeeky chair that she’d physically prevent a 5 year old from keeping himself calm in Adoration by rocking. For heaven’s sake, it was a rocking chair. You’re supposed to rock in a rocking chair. If it was that loud, why have it in the chapel at all?
Yes, I was, and am, upset. Rude old woman. She should have left my kid and his chair alone.
But, wait. So this lady got annoyed and overreacted. I’ve gotten annoyed at little things and overreacted too. In fact, isn’t that what I’m doing right now…? Such a little thing! And yet, I’m grumpy about it.
It’s like the old saying: every time you point your finger at someone else, three of your own fingers are pointing right back at you.
Judge not, lest you too shall be judged! And, let him who is without sin throw the first stone.
Those stones we throw can bounce right back at us.
I went to Confession on Sunday and heard something from the priest that made me look at myself and my sins in a different way. (I have been sinning and confessing for so long that I didn’t know I could have fresh eyes on this situation anymore! Thank God for good priests who know just what to say in the Confessional.)
So, there I was, going over the same list that I usually have, spilling my guts to Fr. H, and feeling annoyed with myself and just down in general that I’m still struggling with the same old, same old. Still ticked off that I’m not a complete saint yet. Wondering when the heck it’s all gonna sink in and I’ll wake up one day and be perfect.
And Fr. H said (and I quote): “Don’t beat yourself up. You always have a choice when you sin, but don’t beat yourself up. When the proud man sins, he gets mad at himself that he sinned. When the humble man sins, he says, ‘My Jesus, have mercy.’ And then he gets up again and keeps going.”
And then he gets up again and keeps going.
This reminds me of St. Therese of Lisieux. When she’d sin, she’d laugh and say, “Another weed in my garden!” She wouldn’t let her missteps throw her into a bad mood. Her mistakes didn’t ruin her day. She didn’t end up being all sorry for herself or annoyed whenever she went to Confession. She simply got back up again and kept going.
So am I stuck in a rut with my sins? Maybe. Am I still a sinner? Mos’ def. Do I have a tendency to get sad that I’m still not a saint yet? Um… yeah.
But as long as I get up again and keep going, I’m in good company.