It’s been quite different having only one small child tagging along with me this past schoolyear. Young Sir K has been my shadow, my sidekick, and my adventure buddy. We’ve spent countless hours running errands, reading aloud, chatting about Legos and Paw Patrol and bugs. Simply enjoying each another’s presence has been so refreshing as I work on embracing a more measured pace of life.
I’ve found that, during this time of less doing and more being, God speaks to my heart in ways I couldn’t hear amidst the cacophany of constant noise and motion.
For example, something interesting happened during a routine trek to the grocery store the other day that compelled me to ponder perception, reality, and waiting on the LORD.
Small red basket overflowing, Sir K and I headed toward the check-out lanes. Since the self-serve stations were occupied, we high-tailed to the nearest open lane. What a blessing! I thought. There’s no one else in line! I figured we’d be out of there in no time flat.
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photo credit: Josh Boot with permission via unsplash
Being a parent is a bizarre and tremendous thing. All of a sudden, you’re expected to be completely responsible for someone you’ve just met, who has all manner of needs that you’ve never supplied before, and has various personality traits and proclivities that surely don’t come from your side of the gene pool.
But necessity is a mother. I am a mother because my children were conceived. And I had to figure out how to be a mother because, all of a sudden, I was one.
It’s inconceivable how small beings so thoroughly inexperienced and utterly helpless can somehow reduce grown-ups to puddles incapable of rational thought, but they can. And do. At least, they do in my house. Regularly.
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photo credit: Jordan Whitt
As noted 20th-century philosopher Ferris Bueller remarked, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to be older. My Mom would say, “Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up, Heather. Enjoy where you are now.” Despite her sage advice, I was never content being whatever age I happened to be.
To my naive mind, if I could just be 5, or 9, or 18 — I could go to school with the big kids, or stay up later to finish that compelling novel or eat cake for dinner because I was old enough to make my own choices.
I guess you’d say I wasn’t a “bloom where you’re planted” sort of youngster. If I had a dollar for every time I said or thought “I’m bored,” in my youth ….
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Photo credit: Mauro Mora // unsplash
Hello. My name is Heather. And I have a problem with Lent.
Before you sharpen your pencils to compose a blistering letter to our esteemed editor recounting my heresies, I humbly implore you to please hear me out.
I know all about the regulations and practices and have heard countless suggestions for having the BEST. LENT. EVERRR. I understand that the Church, in Her wisdom, provides us with this designated time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as an opportunity and a gift. As one who enjoys opportunities and gifts, I am totally on board. Goodness – I actually like Lent, in theory, and often in practice – especially when I can continue consuming bacon and gelato and social media. I’ll even go on record as being pro-Lent. And yet, I have struggled with discerning and maintaining my personal Lenten observances.
My theory is that my difficulty with Lent was rooted in a skewed notion of what the season is actually intended to accomplish. As an example, let’s look at my approach to fasting.
Over the years, I’ve attempted to give up just about everything – sweets, screens, sanity – you name it. And I think I knew, at least in the back of my mind, that I was sacrificing something I enjoyed to become closer to God. But I don’t think that half-praying, half-crying, “Dear God, when will it be Easter so I can eat chocolate/drink coffee/indulge myself?!” several times a day for 40 days straight is what our Lord had in mind.
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Photo credit: Thomas Habr; used with permission.
There I was, hurtling down the country roads en route to school, listening to the local Catholic radio station. The morning show host and his guest, an enthusiastic and kind-sounding woman, were talking about a program that was “new” and “exciting.” Only, I couldn’t quite catch what they were saying over my noisy children in the backseat.
“Please, you guys!” I begged my beloved offspring. “Mommy is trying to listen!”
What was the woman saying? I still couldn’t quite make it out. “You guyyyys!!” I yelled back at my children, otherwise known as they-who-could-not-be-shushed. Something about getting closer to Jesus? Maybe a book and meeting together with a group of people? “Oh!” I concluded. “She must be talking about a Bible study.”
Whatever it was, I decided I was interested – really interested.
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photo credit: Marians of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Used with permission.