Yesterday, right before lunch, my 6 year old son, my 9 year old daughter and I made a major move toward a long-time goal of mine. My goal for many years now has been to enjoy, even for a few minutes, the feeling of having all of the laundry washed, dryed and put away. I have, on one or two occasions, come very close to this. My husband would think he'd "died and gone to heaven," just to arrrive home with all the wash done and put away. Since becoming a mother in 1995, it has been an ongoing struggle for me. To be defeated by heaps of clothing would be such an unhappy fate!
Some Advent notes:
Mother Church gives us a liturgical year filled with goodness, wisdom and plain common sense. I was fortunate to have experienced so much joy and energy as my husband and I prepared for the birth and delivery of our first child, Maggie. Preparing for the Child Jesus does not really depend on our energy level or mood. It depends on our will. Even the devil cannot touch our will. A major obstacle to the life of faith is equating our material happiness with our spiritual happiness. We are happy and at peace deep in our souls because we are in a state of grace, not because all of our material needs (or wants) are filled.
I was so blessed to get to attend a lovely evening two nights ago up in Cumming, Georgia, at the new chapel at Pinecrest Academy. Mass and Confession were part of this "Evening of Reflection," as well as two short and inspiring talks, given by an obviously passionate priest. I hope it is ok to share my penance because it was both unusual and so very thought provoking. The priest gave me absolution and told me to go and do something I'd never done before before Christmas.
Well, I've never started a business, seen a kangaroo, or written a book. These were the things that immediately popped into my head. I've never died and thought about that. But, that is not something within my control.
Control was a big topic that evening. Most folks interested in living a faith-filled life have read some Christian mysticism. The great mystics were really practicioners of the small. They gave to God by letting go of themselves. St. Paul in Phillipians mentions "emptying himself" so as to be filled with God's will. The priest listed 6 obstacles to the life of faith: 1. an "entitlement" attitude 2. a weak prayer life 3. intellectual over-confidence 4. over-confidence in self 5. control and 6. unforgiveness/anger...
Spending as much time as I do with children, I have spent alot of time studying what makes them tick. In general, I love being with children and young people as they are so honest and so full of desire to change the world. Adults tend to become entrenched and, as a whole, have a harder time with change. Children live in a world of change, and, when they are left to their imaginations and a wholesome surrounding, they are inquisitive and creative. They are not always as good as they should be (who is!). They need guidance, and it is my experience that they learn to pray from the heart, when given the time and attention that they deserve.
Well, I better go do some housework. I wonder if I will do that one thing I have never done before Christmas day. I hope my family will celebrate a lovely, peaceful Christmastime filled with family and friends. I am often repeating two things, one of which my own father said to me often, "Pretty is as pretty does." I have added, "People are more important than things."