Friday, July 13, 2012

Perfectly imperfect.

"Neither theological knowledge nor social action alone is enough to keep us in love with Christ unless both are proceeded by a personal encounter with Him. Theological insights are gained not only from between two covers of a book, but from two bent knees before an altar. The Holy Hour becomes like an oxygen tank to revive the breath of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the foul and fetid atmosphere of the world."
-Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Life definitely comes in seasons. 

Right now, we are in the 'all hands on deck' season -- with two Wee Skis who come in only two modes: nonstop and everywhere.  Thomas has more energy than I know what to do with, and John Paul just wants to keep up with him.  I haven't found the "OFF" button yet.  I'm still looking.

There are two things that are very different about life now compared to five years ago -- pre-marriage, pre-kids, living in Tacoma on my own. 

There was a perpetual adoration chapel just a few miles from my house.  Open 24/7 for prayer whenever you needed or wanted or knew you needed it but didn't want it so you went anyway.   I loved that chapel.  I have a number of memories of sleepless nights where I would find myself walking through the doors, usually greeted by sweet little ladies at 2 in the morning who were wide awake and thrilled  to be there.  You could find yourself in the peace and calm of sitting with our Lord...praying or listening or simply just being. 

At the same time, my schedule at the office -- on east coast time -- meant that there was never a daily Mass early enough to attend.  The earliest Mass was at 6:50 am, 20 minutes after the stock market opened for the day.  On Holy Days, you'd find St. Rita's packed with Catholics who worked downtown, getting in the obligation before the day got going.  I have good memories of Dad and I racing up the hill from downtown to slide in right at 6:49 am. 

And is so very different. 

Though I no longer need to leave the house at 5 am to get to Merrill, I am still up each day at 5 before the boys wake.  I get a few hours of work in before Jonathan leaves for his office, and by the time 8:30 rolls around, the boys and I are showered (usually) and are heading out the door to daily Mass. 

It's definitely a work in progress with the boys each day. Some days, they are angels. Some days, I wonder if their guardian angels are hiding like I wish I was!  There are days that no amount of spankings will deter Thomas's bad behavior (what a great 35th birthday present that was!) and there are days that Thomas responds with every prayer response memorizes.  Often no rhyme or reason to explain their daily behavior...but they are learning.

And I am blessed with an exceptional 'family' at daily Mass.  Most are much older than me, many have grandchildren the boys' age.  But all of them are so gracious with Thomas and John Paul.  When John Paul was born, they surprised us with a savings bond for college.  They high five the boys when they do well during Mass, and several of the older gentlemen invite Thomas to sit with them like a big boy.  His behavior usually sparkles then, of course.  :)

But always -- always -- always they give me encouragement.  When John Paul climbed on the altar for the 8th time during Mass last week, Jean took me aside and reminded me that maybe his desire is stemming from an early calling.  :)  Never mind I carried him off the altar by the waistband of his shorts.  

What I know right that I'm glad the boys are there.  I am so grateful that I am able to go each day, and to fuel my soul with grace that I need as a mom with soon-to-be-three-kids-under-4.  Daily Mass and adoration definitely aren't required -- but I'll tell you, they are a blessing.   I notice how my attitude changes when we aren't able to go. 

Earlier this year, at the prompting of a good friend and fellow Adoration devotee, our liturgical commission began weekly adoration after Thursday Mass from 9:30 am to 11 am.  It's not what you would call "ideal" with the Wee Skis, so we don't stay long, but it's awesome it's there.  So while I don't have the luxury of adoration right now, I do have the chance to go to daily Mass.  And that's a pretty sweet trade off. 

Last week, as Becky was awaiting the arrival of a new grandchild, she asked me to cover for her.  And when I found out that Mass was going to be a communion service that day, I realized that the boys and I were in for 1 hour, 45 minutes of adoration.  A 105-minute holy hour. 

But on the bright side?  There was a good chance it would be just the three of us for a good part of that time. 

We filled the boys' bag with books and little toys and things to do.  The boys split their time between the chapel and the confessional, playing with toys and books.  After 45 minutes, Don and Jean headed home, and the boys and I were on our own.  And I reminded myself that simply by being there -- not even fully understanding what was going on with the Eucharist -- they were receiving grace. 

Thomas led his first decade of the rosary, and even sang a few Hail Marys.  We broke up a fight over rosaries in the middle of it, when John Paul stole Thomas's out of his hands.  The ladies from the parish office came back to check in and see that the church was still standing...and they found the crazy mess in the photo above.  The boys reorganized all the hymnals and re-sorted the pew cards...but they know that they are welcome there and that they are loved. 

So while the final 15 minutes was spent restoring order to the chapel and confessional.  It wasn't what many would call a 'perfect hour' -- but those 105 minutes were a gift to me, to our family. 

And it was the perfect breath of oxygen for all of our souls. 

Even if one of the Wee Skis came out with a crucifix shaped welt on his forehead from his brother. 

That is our life right now -- perfectly imperfect.  

1 comment:

Mary Shelton said...

Beautiful Post!!!!!!!! Oh Shelley - thank you. God Bless your dear dear family.

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