Saturday, June 25, 2011

"Yes" is a Four Letter Word

I was having a conversation with Laura, a couple of days ago, about why we tend to be too willing to take on so much that we end up chasing our tails and losing track of, not only the details of all the projects and programs that we are supposed to be responsible for, but also the focus of our lives, which is Christ, and the true vocation that we are called to, which is the vocation of Marriage.

The Domestic Church was meant to be lived in, not dropped into at the end of the day, with an exhausted sigh and a promise to be more prayerful, present and pleasant tomorrow.
This has become a theme for me. I have become so programed to my lists and my calendar, that I don't take the right kind of time out of each day for the real Reason for all of it. The reflection that I am being called to each day, should be a time of attentive listening to Christ, instead of a pointed reading of the Gospel and trying to figure out how it can be used to make sense of my day. I sit there and tell my Lord what I want Him to say, instead of quietly listening to His love for me.
I have not chosen the better part.

So, what to do to rearrange my priorities, to become less the doer of errands and tasks, and more the heart of my home?
I have begun to seek direction in my prayer life again.
I can see that I have been cutting corners in my attempts to grow in my Faith.
Checking off the daily prayers isn't enough, and it's mediocre.

I have begun to scale back the demands on my time, outside the home, especially at night.
I realized that we only have a short time left, with all the boys at home, for family dinners, talking, bike-riding, and family prayer time.
We need to take advantage of these few, short years.

Most of the things that I am doing for other people can be done by someone else. Most of those things can be done later. And most of those things will be forgotten, in time.
My time with my family, at the feet of my Lord in prayer, and in the bringing up of our children, in our school, cannot be done by someone else, cannot be done later and is the education of the future, so that the important things aren't forgotten.

How could I have become so caught up in so many things that distract me from my true vocation?
I am a "Yes" person.
I always think that one more little "yes" won't make a difference.
One more meeting a month, one more committee, one more appointment, it's just one, right?
When did I forget basic addition?
How is it that I missed the number of tasks required to prepare for, and follow-up on, that one "Yes"?

I wonder if Martha, in the bible story, was a "yes" person too? Did she take on all the household duties, and then have to direct the cooking, and get Lazarus' laundry done, and then try to find a leg of lamb, at the last minute, for that growing crowd? Did she tell Mary, at first, "No, no, I'll do it. I'll take care of those details because I know how I want it done." Only to resent later that she was the one "in charge"?
Did she bring it on herself, when she was stuck with all the serving and cleaning? Jesus told her that Mary had chosen the better part, but when did she choose? Did Mary refuse to become a task-driven, take charge woman in favor of a more contemplative existence?
How does one balance the two, when "yes" trips off the tongue before the mind can check it?
How much of the imbalance is the need to always have a project, always be stimulated, always be challenged?

I am determined to listen to the call of Christ. To sit at His feet, every day, in quiet awareness of Him and His love. Only He can help me to refocus my priorities and only He can give me the calm that I need in my heart to stop giving in to my own inclinations.
He is so good!

On an Icon in the back of our Church the there is a quote from St Theresa of Avila, "For God withholds Himself from no one who perseveres." 
I can't remodel my temperament, but He can. I just have to show up.
My "yes" has to be to Him.
Martha can be at the feet of Jesus, but she has to learn to sit, and be quiet.

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