Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mother Teresa Part II: Let the People Eat You Up

On Mother's Day I wrote about Mother Teresa's inspiring examples of having complete confidence in God that if the work comes from Him, it can not fail. I also wrote about her plea for us to be cheerful in our service.

As I continue to grow in motherhood with each little the Lord sends our way, I find myself being the needs of a home that has six people (one in the womb) and a dog depending on me. They look to me to find the yogurt in the fridge.  I put on spiderman shoes. I am best friends with my shop vac. I get excited when I can reheat leftovers and spruce it up just enough that my whole family is fooled (this is rare...that they are fooled).

I have read ENOUGH tired mommy articles floating around on facebook about these fleeting years and that we're all doing a good job, these women move in phases as their children grow and they no longer have toddlers....I'm sure these moms uplift many, but I see the "having little ones phase" as being a part of my life all the time. I am reminded by many onlookers how we keep "starting over" the time we will no longer have littles in the home each time God sends us a new one.

 I have secret to share... I always want them around.

The little ones...I want them around always.  I LOVE old sippy cups that I find with milk curdled in them...I always want them in my home (ha!).

I don't want to live the moments because I will miss them someday, I want to live the moments because they are sent by God and they are sanctifying.

Having young ones around truly is a virtue boot camp of patience and constant dying to oneself. It is so good for us, for me at least, to have the little ones helping get rid of some major kinks in my soul. Spit up on new blouse: die to the desire to wear fine things. Busted leg on the reading chair: die to the desire to own fine things. Little one with a stomach virus: die to a girls night out (lol...what are those anyway?)

Books instead of a leg
I think a family who is constantly open to life doesn't live a predictable, next step life. I'm not just meaning by having children through all your fertile years, but being open to life comes in so many ways. Being open to life means you are constantly open to the lives of others, to serving them. You have your sister's child for the summer. You pull up a chair when a neighbor stops to chat in the driveway. You make double the dinner for the new mommy down the street. You say yes to the foster child who need who needs placement immediately.

SO bringing it back to Mother Teresa...she says..

"Let the poor and the people eat you up...Let the people "bite" your smile, your time. You sometimes prefer not to even look at somebody when you had some misunderstanding. Then, not only you look, but give a smile...Learn by heart you must let the people eat you up."

Being open to life means letting people eat you up.

And not just any people...the PEOPLE the Lord puts in front of you.

I believe mothers of littles should allow their OWN littles to have their fill of you first. We have to be careful of who is having their fill of us...who is "biting our time" in this world of schedules and activities and commitments. Oh how many times this has caused some stress in my own life....

I was thinking...does this sound too harsh and demanding? Is this physically, mentally, spiritually possible to be totally consumed by littles?

I am figuring this out too.

If we are letting our people eat us up, when does the FILLING UP happen...when we are living a life of complete service to our families...when we are on empty...which ummm can feel like everyday sometimes...when does the FILLING UP happen?

Mother Teresa was fully aware of the extraordinary demands she was asking of each Sister as a Missionary of Charity, in her handwritten rules she wrote:

"As each Sister is to do the work of a priest - go where he cannot go, and do what he cannot do, she must imbibe the spirit of Holy Mass, which is one of total surrender and offering. For this reason Holy Mass must become the daily meeting place, where God and His creature offer each other for each other and the world."

She knew that with the Eucharist her Sisters could serve with total surrender.

What an awesome gift for Catholic have the strength of the Eucharist behind our daily chores and doings. Perhaps we cannot receive daily Mass, but praying the Liturgy of the Hours can help us live in the Eucharist outside of Mass.

A good mother anticipates her children's needs and so Mother Teresa also outlined this rule in the Sisters' spiritual exercises:

"The Sisters shall spend one day in every week, one week in every month, one month in every year, one year in every six years in the motherhouse, where in contemplation and penance together with solitude she can gather in the spiritual strength, which she may have used up in the service of the poor."

Did you hear that!?!?! She is saying we SHALL spend time gathering spiritual strength. Setting aside Sunday as a day of rest in our family is a start, but I think I'm not alone when I say we have our limits and we need a time for retreat. Rest.

I have only a few suggestions on how we can do this, how we can find time for contemplation and solitude, because honestly I find it a personal challenge as the day passes striking a balance between work and leisure. Alllowing littles to eat me up but also finding ways to fill up.

Suzanne may slip into a literary classic with a nice cup of tea.

Krysten might try her hands at a new icing recipe for her cupcakes.

Jennifer might actually lay down and take a nap while her littles are napping (after she makes spruce tip jelly).

Rebekah might knit a new sweater with some pretty yarn she has come across.

Our regiment for gathering our strength may not look like what Mother Teresa outlined for her Sisters, but it is very clear...that we are HUMAN and that we may have all our spiritual strength "used up in the service of...

our littles."

Isn't this wonderful? Thank you Mother Teresa.  We learn by heart that we must let the people eat us up. We will learn to take care of ourselves by allowing time to fill up.

We have wonderful weather for Father's Day. Hope you enjoy your people my friends. Thank you for stopping by. xxoo

1 comment:

  1. Another lovely post! And you are expecting another baby! Hooray!