Friday, January 27, 2017

The Pursuit of Normal

Where did January go? That snow dump was such a blessing, my eldest said she was so thankful for it as it is now almost spring weather here in Virginia and we at least had a few days of good snow play.

Your prayers have been working friends as my parish has graciously designated a space for a Level 1 Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Atrium. I have been helping to teach the Sacramental Preparation classes in this almost atrium and I have simply showed the First Holy Communion children how to prepare the altar. It is not how I envisioned starting the CGS work here but I will tell you, just this lone altar work has been very fruitful in showing catechists there is a different way we can speak about our faith with children...and that it is WONDERING with them.

I had my last class for the month last night and as this class was leaving, there was a young boy who had kind of been aloof the whole time who gave me a gift. During our session, he always seemed to stay back from the group but when it was his turn to prepare the altar, just him, he leaned on it with both his elbows, hands clasped in prayer...and I was so surprised...I had never seen a child kneel into the altar like that before. 

And so as he was leaving he turned around and came with open arms to me and gave me a big hug. We had only spent half an hour together, but...I could tell he knew that something special happened in there and that it was for him.

My mama heart was so moved. 

And then it was my mama heart that wanted to get back home to my own littles! My youngest gives me the best homecoming on these atrium nights (which, are only three nights a month....but all the same week). She runs into the foyer and she announces, "Mama home!" and gives me a hug on the leg. Am I rich or what?

I have waited a year and half for CGS to come about at this parish, and much of it had to do with waiting for the new building to be completed. I have had wonderful counsel from my very good friends about being careful to not take too much on and to also let it be a slow work. This start is truly the mustard seed.


Even with it being so perfect...

And even with it finally happening...

It wasn't very easy to be out of my home for these evenings!

That is what I wanted to chat about this post. See, last week when I had a late meeting at the parish and then I had another afternoon/evening of setting up the atrium and going to a parish family meal, we (as in my entire crew) all came home to a very messy house with very exhausted people. I was spent physically and mentally from the amount of energy that had gone into loading and unloading and setting things up. My kiddos had helped themselves to way too many cookies from the buffet line. It took us half the morning the next day to even recoup, and that was even just getting the house back in order before we could even think about schoolwork.

This sent me into a bit of a panic as I thought of how I would be out of the house three nights next week! And even Monday my eldest three will be at their worship dance class!

Hahahahaha! I KNOW. So you are laughing that I can't leave the house? Anyone with teenagers is saying...oh my gosh...that is really nothing compared to what our evenings look like all of highschool.

But for me...all content and happy and holed up in my home on cooler January evenings, being out of it is asking a lot. It is especially asking a lot of my husband who has already put in a full day's work. This might sound too domestic Betty, but I judge much of how the day has gone based on the few hours we are ALL together in the evening. 

It is so simple yet so impossible to execute at times, specifically background work. Is the den picked up? Is there something being made for dinner? Is the table set? Oh how giant it can feel!

I think that as we have extremely busy days or late evenings or travel, it becomes quite natural to DESIRE a NORMAL evening. An evening where there are no out of the home obligations, there is no one else expected for dinner, it is

But isn't this what it is all about! The it being NORMAL. A good, peaceful, uneventful normal. I mean, aren't Normal meals what literally NOURISH family culture? Who are we when sit down together? What are we talking about? What have we done today? All those answers, as varied between family members as they are, make up YOUR family.

And I keep coming back to this conclusion...that it is MAMA who makes these NORMAL moments happen! Can this happen if I'm gone from the home? Hence my original panic. 

So it boiled down to this past week being about meal preps and clean kitchens before I left and strict orders to have pajamas on before I got home. Asking more of my people in terms of helping and them being on board because of the very beautiful work that CGS is.  We did manage one meal together sitting down and that made me very happy.

I thought it most appropriate to write about this craving for order in the evening, this desire for a normal, a sense of leisure and ease in a home because I believe it is one of the many battles of the modern twenty first century young mommy. We are raised to believe we can be anything, we participate in clubs and sports and we go to college and start careers and then we get married and as we are married we say yes to a vocation that  is almost a mystery a times...motherhood.

Even the daily life of the Holy Family was kept private with a veil of mystery but I believe it was pretty normal. "Joseph, Jesus, please wash up, it is time for supper." The carpenter tools stop and the sawdust is washed away one more evening.

And so with motherhood we are thrown into sacrifices we are not quite used to, this is the hard work I wrote about in my last post. We are in an age of distractions and so saying no to outside of the home and yes to staying with our people in our domestic church isn't always easy.

EVEN in the beautiful, good work of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd I am trying to be as prayerful as possible in thinking where I am NEEDED. I decided against a book club evening this week, which I enjoy so much, because I knew my own limits but also the big impact it would have on the order and normal of a night where I had already been away.

So...I pretty much don't know if any of this makes sense other than this personal challenge I am kind of wondering you might want to do with me? Can we give some thought to our space and our time in a way this coming week that changes our attitude from seeing simple domestic tasks like...a normal evening...not suffocating or laborious or injust to us...but see it as an opportunity for us to be loving, creative and thinking women? To see it as a win if we can decide against an out of the home activity? Can we be for our people?

Can we let them eat us up?

Today is a no car day for me! I am so grateful.

Prayers to everyone who IS out of their home for the March for Life!

God Bless!

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