I am a mantra gal. I can live off a certain quote for days and it motivates me. I do have favorites though and the above title is up there. It is off of the movie "Gladiator." Maximus tells his army this right before entering the war.
"What we do in Life, Echoes in Eternity."
What am I doing in this life that WILL echo in Eternity? I am a mother and a wife. What parts of my life will I be taking with me to Eternity? Today was the type of day that I had a huge sense of awareness that I might possibly only have around 80 years to show God how much I love him and want to serve him. I want to spend eternity with Him, but I feel as though my life is too easy most days, yet I am terrified of the cross especially if it involves John or our children.
St. Maximilian Kolbe said the following:
"We are sometimes depressed because we do not see the relationship that exists between our happiness and these circumstances which sadden us; on the contrary, because of our minds' limitation, we are unable to grasp everything. By having faith in God, even without understanding things directly, we can give him great glory, because we acknowledge his wisdom, his goodness, and his power.
The difficult circumstances of our lives are not just things to put up with. They are things to embrace and push through. Clairvaux is a sweetheart, but a very fussy sweatheart. I prayed so much during my pregnancy for a content baby. I prayed HARD everyday because all of my babies except Rose have been very fussy. This time, though, I was so hopeful. God chose not to spare me of the cross that I had been asking to be spared of, BUT he gave me a different level of patience to endure it and carry it. I challenge myself everyday to care for her with such tenderness and grace. It really works. At times, I feel God smiling. Really. Weirdly, it has made me fall hopelessly in love with her (and him).
We are deluded if we think that peace and contentment will come if we can just figure out how to "improve" our circumstances ONCE AND FOR ALL. Oh, the trap. IF I resolve this or that issue, my life will sail on the sea of calm waters from here on out and we never have another hurdle to jump over. Life is hurdles. Some are taller hurdles than others previously jumped. We must keep going.
John always tells me that Life is an endurance test. We must keep going. He is an avid runner. He is one of those that will run 16 miles on our treadmill in the basement staring at the wall. Yes, I said 16 miles. He tells me that he wants to quit 1,000 times during the run often out of exhaustion, but sometimes out of boredom. He makes himself finish everytime. I asked him why and he replied, "It feels so good to finish the race strong EVERYTIME. I've never once regretted finishing."
God deploys the problematic circumstances of our life to awaken us, challenge us, educate us. For the way that we deal with our circumstances reveals to us and to the world just who Jesus Christ is for us.
I think the vocation of mothering leaves us often feeling often that we have to solve things "once and for all." We fail to see the connection between what we are going through with each child or other life events and our happiness. We think that we will be happy once we solve this problem.
So I want to work on that. Often in mothering, especially of small children, the problem is "small." Sassiness, disobedience, crying, fussing, whining. I want to see these thing as not coincidental, but as very purposeful.
We think that, when something goes wrong in our life, our predicament is outside the all-embracing purpose and meaning of life. But God intends such circumstances to move us to discover this meaning.
It all is a part of God's plan. Fussy babies, sleepless nights, disobedient children, burned cookies, throw up, spit up, ill-mannered children who have been taught their manners, children struggling in school, children leaving the home, wayward children, exhausted husband, etc.etc. ALL of this is part of the meaning of life...Our life. These things aren't the bumps in the road, THEY ARE THE ROAD.
On a concrete level, how do I plan to go about it. Patience and love. I will try to view each request, complaint, concern as if God is asking me to do this. If Clairvaux is crying, I will pick her up. If the girls want me to tie the 100 dress up dress on them, I will tie it with love. If Dominic is telling me a very elaborate story and wants me to listen, I will sit and listen when all I can think about is the million other things I could be doing around the house. If Vianney is throwing a fit, I will bend down to her level and talk to her. If someone gets "hurt" for the 100th time, I will hold them tenderly. I will get people drinks over and over (I was thirsty and you gave me drink). I will feed people over and over ( I was hungry and you fed me). I will do and fold laundry everyday (I was naked and you clothed me.)
"When we surrender to the circumstances of our life without resistance we find ourselves wonderfully liberated from ourselves. We float in Providence like a cork on the ocean waters. When we thus become accustomed to giving up our will to so many tiny things, we will no longer find it hard, when the occasion presents itself, to do the will of God and others when asked. And our hope is that death, too, will be easy."
So for today I said to myself whatever situation arose,
"I must need this to be happy."
Happy here, happy later, and more important happy in eternity. I want to address all that it is good for my soul and future happiness. I need to stop disconnecting frustrating situations with my happiness. When in reality, They go beautifully together.