Rachel at Testosterhome has written a beautiful reflection of Advent, relating it to her pregnancy. I wanted to comment on it because it brought into sharp focus my own failings as I struggle to keep my voice down and show my children how much I love them amidst the distractions and temptations that entice me.
So many times I make plans for how I am going to show God that I love Him, if only He would….(name your favor). ” If You can send us enough money to be (more than) comfortable, I will build a beautiful church and a retreat center where your faithful can gather and worship You the way Your Church asks us to.” “If only You would send a buyer for our house and find us a new house closer to my husband’s work, I would go to Mass daily.” My “if onlys” are numerous. But God in His infinite wisdom and mercy has seen fit not to grant me these and other prayers.
He knows best. I am at this moment a wife and mother. I have my little built-in congregation of six children, and they look to me for their daily wants and needs. Too often I push them away because I “don’t have time” to listen to Margaret read her first sentence to me, to watch Andrew do a daring somersault, or help Annie get a paper towel down so she can wipe up the spill I asked her to wipe. I am too busy washing dishes (because I did not do them last night when the kids were in bed), doing loads of laundry (because I haven’t done any for the last 5 days and it is an emergency NOW), or stuffing things into closets as a Realtor walks up the drive (because I have too much STUFF and no place to put it). What was I doing when I should have been doing these things daily? Was I sitting with my children reading to them or teaching them how to make cookies or how to water the African Violets without wetting the leaves? Was I cultivating the virtues in myself or in them, the dear children whose lives and souls are in my hands?
I am ashamed to admit that the answer is NO (at least not consistently). I am not ready for our Lord to come. I am not even ready for the buyer of this house, whoever that may be, to come. I am not ready for any of the gifts that I so fervently ask my Lord to give me. I am not even ready for the wonderful gifts He has already given me. I am like an ungrateful child who demands a new toy, only to neglect it and demand another, newer one.
Dear Lord, forgive me, Your ungrateful child. I know that You are always ready to take me back into Your loving arms and cover me with the graces I need to follow where You lead me. You give me everything I need and more. Help me to see Your gifts for what they are, and to be grateful for them. Help me to be aware that You are coming, and that You’re already here in the little ones I am to bring to You. Give me the grace to see the path clearly and the courage to take it, one diaper at a time.