Monday, May 22, 2017

Random Thoughts on a Monday Morning

I had this thought this morning while at Mass with my husband: it's a good thing--a very, very good thing--when you marry someone who makes you a better person.
At our wedding in 1980. He'll say he's the one who "married up";
but it's really the other way around.

I wouldn't have even been at 8:30 Mass this morning at our new parish in VA if I didn't have a husband who, without ever nagging me or intending to induce guilt, pushes me to be a better person.  "I think I might try out a weekday Mass here," he said, without even suggesting that I go with him; and then he proceeded to begin the process of getting ready.  He would be a daily communicant if his airline job allowed it; but whenever he's not flying a trip, it's been his practice to try to get to Mass every morning (although we've been so busy getting settled in the new house that this beloved routine has been interrupted).  I, on the other hand, have the freedom to choose to get up and go to Mass any day of the week I wish...but I usually don't, when he's not home.  Except, of course, on Sundays and holy days.

That's a hard thing to admit here in the Catholic blogosphere, where there are so many people I've "met" (not IRL, but Internet-style) who--like my husband--have inspired me to be a better person and grow in my Faith.

It's not that I'm a big sleeper-inner (that's a word, right?), or anything like that.  In fact, I've always been a rather early riser.  I've always loved being up in the wee hours, before the rest of the house awakes and things get noisy and busy.  Even as a kid, I can remember setting my alarm for 5:30 so I could beat the rush and get my shower in before the rest of my family began to stir, and then as a bonus, I might even be able to squeeze in a little reading time after getting dressed for school.  I am a morning person because I have a selfish love of peace and quiet, of the sense of having the house all to myself (an introvert's dream scenario!).

So without my much-better-than-I and much-closer-to-God husband and the exceptional example he has set for his wife and his boys, I would have been at home this morning, in my jammies, on my third cup of coffee, puttering around my house (maybe working on this blog post), missing out on the opportunity to receive the graces I desperately need but often miss due to my unwillingness to break away from my quiet, cozy little nest.  I wonder if there is a 12-step program to help extreme homebodies like me to get out the door more easily.  I'll have to look into that.

I guess I'm not the only one, though.  I found this post on Instagram.  It's from @carolyn_svellerella (Carolyn Svellinger, who blogs at Svellerella).  I thought it was so profoundly beautiful.

Wow, right?

Anyhoo, as I was saying before I went off on that tangent: because of my husband's quiet example of piety, I was sitting in the pew next to him this morning.  And I was so happy to be there.  I needed to be there.

Here's another random thought I had today: I love learning about new saints--especially female saints who were married women.  (Proof that sainthood is attainable for us all; not just for those who live behind the doors of a convent or monastery, but also for those of us who are in the world and trying with all our might not to be of the world.)

On the way to Mass, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed (a new favorite pastime of mine, obviously) and saw a post from @printableprayers (also known as @kendra_tierney, who blogs at Catholic All Year).  I find truth and beauty from Catholic 'grammers almost every day, which is why I much prefer this form of social media to Facebook!  Anyway, first there was this quote from St. Rita of Cascia, whose feast day is today: "There is nothing impossible to God."  And then there was a synopsis of the life of this powerful saint who is the patroness of impossible causes.

I knew a little bit about her already, but now I know so much more.  At Mass today, the priest also spoke about St. Rita during his homily, and I found myself feeling as if I'd been introduced to a new friend.  I will be invoking St. Rita on the daily, I can assure you.  Because the older I get, the more I realize that a mother's list of intentions for her children does not grow shorter once they've flown the nest and started grown-up lives of their own.  No indeed, it does not; it grows ever longer.  So I want to "meet" and learn about as many saints as I can, and then I need to remember that they are willing to intercede on my behalf if I just remember to ask for their help.

Which leads to another thought I've had a lot lately: "Little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems." 
Proof that I was once the mother of darling little boys: here I am at the Mother-Son Dance
at their school in 1992 (when I was in the early stages of pregnancy with son #5).
Adages only become adages because there is truth to them, and there is a whole lot of truth in that old saying.  So many problems can be fixed with a kiss and a Band-Aid when your children are little and living under your roof, sheltered under your wing.  It gets more complicated when their boo-boos aren't as easily fixable.  Watching them fly from the nest, one after the other, to begin their own adult lives is one of the most satisfying things (You've done your job well!  Your child is ready to be independent!) and yet one of the most painful things (How can I let my baby go?  How can I shield him from all the hardships he's sure to face?) your mother's heart will ever have to endure.  And seeing those children who will always be your precious babies struggle through the normal difficulties of adulthood--career challenges, financial worries, risky pregnancies, sick babies of their own--can be brutal at times, even though you remind yourself that you and your husband faced similar difficulties and you got through them.

Without faith, how does anyone get through anything?

Here's a little addendum to that aforementioned adage, another thought I've been having a lot lately: Big kids, big joys!!
Grown sons #2, 3, and 4--our VA neighbors--celebrating a belated Mother's Day
with me yesterday.  (Talk about big joys: these wonderful men are three of mine.)
Yes, it's sad when your nest empties out--especially if you're like me and the only job you've ever wanted since as long as you can remember is to be a MOTHER.  Different bloggers I follow have been writing lately about the tears they're shedding as their oldest children graduate from high school and prepare to go off to college.  Oh, how I can relate!  (In fact, I remember blogging about those bittersweet emotions years ago, when our youngest boy was about to graduate from high school.  I've dusted off that old post from my archives, about facing the end of an era, if you're interested in reading it.)

But guess what?  Your grown-and-gone children sometimes give you even more children.  Our four oldest boys have married and given us four daughters, which we never had before, and our lives have been enriched immeasurably by these sweet girls.  They love our boys, which is the most important thing; but how lucky are we that they love us, too?

And then there are the grandchildren.  If you're reading this and your children are all still young and living under your roof, know this: there is a joy beyond description awaiting you when your children become parents.  My father-in-law used to say, "If I'd known how fun grandchildren were, I would have had them first."  They are the greatest blessing imaginable.  Just when you think the best part of your life is over and all you're doing is getting OLD , they come along and breathe new life into you. They make you feel young again.  They are heaven on earth.
I have lots more thoughts pinging around inside my head, but I think I'll close on that note before the day is gone and I've gotten nothing productive accomplished.  (Although a day that begins with Mass can never be thought of as a day without accomplishment, am I right?)

Have a great week, dear readers!

5 comments:

  1. Great thoughts for today!!

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  2. As always love reading your updates and thoughts. I want to be a m-i-l like you when I 'grow up' :-)

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  3. Lots for great thoughts contained in this post! I enjoyed learning more about St. Rita and I, too, feel that my husband makes me a better person. And yes, the bigger the kids get, the bigger the problems. Luckily, God is bigger than them all!

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  4. This is wonderful perspective. The bigger picture really is so much more isn't it? I hope you are having a wonderful day.

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