Monday, October 4, 2010

Precious Life

Life is not that complicated. I tend to forget the simplicities of life. I over analyze and pick apart each of life's details to create a solution or scenario perfect for me...or what I think perfect is.

I forget to just let life take me by the hand and spin me around like merry-go-round. I forget to realize that life, is a gift, given to me by God. I forget that life isn't about the plans I make, rather, living out the plan that God created for me.

Lately, I've been busy trying to discover "life" and what I want to make of it, that I've completely ignored the "take up your cross and follow me" aspect of life. centered on myself I have turned away from why I am really here. Wait. I'll rephrase. I am so centered on myself and "my way" that I have lost the ability to see where God wants me to go. I am so lost that I don't exactly remember why God put me on this earth.

Tangent--this isn't meant to be a depressing post, nor do I intend it to be, just trying to be honest with where my head is at currently.

I am sure that right before I was born God said, "my precious child, here is your purpose..." I seem to have misplaced my instructions. I've been questioning many aspects of my life. Why AM I here? what am I called to do? What treasure and talents is God wanting me to give? How can I spread love, peace, hope and salvation to others. Am I REALLY as good of a Christian as I think I am? Do I even know why we do half the things we do during Mass? Am I a good parent? Am I being a Figure of Christ to my child? Am I helping with Doug's journey to Heaven with my actions? Do I know how to pray? Do I have faith? Do I cultivate my faith.

The answers are more complicated than a simple yes or no, but to save time and explanation, I'd say that there is definitely both in there.

This started entering my brain a few weeks ago. I read an article in the paper about the dwindling attendance at Catholic Masses. That Sunday the Priest of my Parish mentioned the article and the importance of Mass and the difference between a Catholic Mass vs. a larger, non-denominational church service. He talked about ritual, concentrated prayer and the most important aspect of my faith, receiving the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist. This is still such a hard concept for me to grasp onto---hence where my faith comes in.

After the homily, I decided to pay special attention to the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This was difficult with a 3-year-old, but I savored on each prayer like it was the last time I'd ever hear it again. Guess what? I cried. I didn't let my tears show on the outside, but my heart was melting on the inside. What was I missing all these years. Mass became a chore, prayers became monotonous and I was a talking head. Now, with a child--it was even more difficult--trying to listen to the priest AND control your child is tough. That day in particular, Deacon sat still, remained quiet and for the first time in a while I wasn't just listening to pretty words and a nice homily; I was listening to God. God was talking to me. I know he was because I had no distractions. He paused the world, slapped me in the face and said, LISTEN.

I hear him now, "Anne, I love you. I made you in my image and likeness. You did not lose your instructions for your life. They are here. They are spoken to you each week. Reminders are sent by way of complete strangers, a song on the radio, you husband and son, your family--your purpose is laid out before you--take out the speck in your eye and LOOK."

I've been looking ever since. This past Sunday I made a point to look and listen during the Mass. Again, Fr Sterling gave an amazing homily centered around faith. It was a children Mass so he gathered the children to the Alter and asked them to stand on one foot, and sitting down once they lost balance. While trying to complete the task, they were answering questions Fr. Sterling was asking. These were tough even for me to answer. What is faith? I don't know Father! That's why I am here. I can't see it, smell it, taste it---what the heck is it?! Father said that a person who doesn't have faith is like that person is standing on one leg---they wobble, shake and fall...there is nothing to support them.

He mentioned the Gospel, that all we needed was faith the size of a mustard seed. tiny. Sometimes I feel like that is all the faith I have--it is doesn't seem enough. As soon as I sarcastically said that in my head, God slapped me again. He slapped me through Father's words. Fr. Sterling said that we need to grow our faith. It can't remain small--it needs to be cultivated. Faith needs to be watered, sowed and spread. All this time I was holding onto my mustard seed of faith and hoping that a miracle happens. The fact is that the miracle happens when I choose to let it happen. I need to work at my faith. I need to pray, attend Mass, be kind to others, display patience to my family. Then, and only then will my faith grow. So my action plan-or the next chapter in my life's purpose? I need to grow my faith. This week I am going to read over the parts of Mass and really understand why the Mass is the way it is. I am going to focus on prayer. I am going to shut out the world and talk to God. All this time I feel like I have been, but I am pretty sure I was speaking to his reflection and not him! I am going to practice patience and humility and I am going to bite my tongue.

I am going to remind myself that God is all around me. He is in my son. I don't need to rush bedtime or get impatient. I need to enjoy the moment, and realize that God is teaching me something, giving me a life lesson through Deacon. God is in my husband. If I actually remembered this I'd certainly not loose my temper or treat him the way I do sometimes. I'd show my gratefulness for the selfless love he gives Deacon and me, and what he sacrifices in order to provide for his family. God is in my co-workers, my friends, complete strangers. God is in every experience in my life--serving little reminders--page by page of my purpose driven life.

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