Is my path to heaven littered with Kleenex?

When our 8-year-old was fighting a cold a couple weeks ago, I snuggled him into bed, stocked his bedside table with Kleenex, a water bottle and ChapStick. Then I strategically positioned a humidifier, gave him Tylenol, and put Vicks under his nose and on the bottom of his feet. [Does anyone else use this trick? Just curious. It seems to work.]

As I was tucking him in, he said: “Thanks Mom, for helping me get better.”

It caught me off-guard. Not because our son is some kind of ingrate and never says thank you—he’s a sweet thoughtful boy—but to verbalize his gratitude when he was feeling so lousy was a divinely inspired, perfectly timed, mommy pick-me-up.

As a mom, have you ever felt under-appreciated? You know I’m joking, right? Of course you have. Along with the joys and rewards that come with being a mom, we take on our fair share of sacrifice, overtime, and work that might seem; well, below our pay grade. A simple unsolicited “thank you” every now-and-then can work wonders.

Earlier this month, Oct. 1, was the feast day of a saint who lived and taught the importance of the *little* things: St. Thérèse of Lisieux. This young girl, who entered a convent at 15, had a burning desire to be a saint, but felt she lacked the gifts and opportunity to do so, so she took a different approach.

St. Thérèse determined her path to holiness was to take every chance she could to sacrifice, no matter how small it seemed: smiling at sisters she didn’t like, eating everything on her plate without complaining, and one time when accused of breaking a vase she didn’t break—begging for forgiveness instead of arguing.

She felt these little sacrifices cost her more than bigger ones, because they went unrecognized by others. Her philosophy was: “What matters in life is not great deeds but great love.” And today her “Little Way” continues to resonate as we try to find holiness in our ordinary lives.

On those days when I’m feeling not-so-saintly [so daily], I need to remember that God provided me the path of holiness where he thought I had the best chance for success: the path of a wife and mother. Then, he paved it with runny noses, late-night coughs, practice spelling tests, Lego organizing sessions, trips to the grocery store, carpools, and a whole host of other *little* tasks he knew I could take on—hopefully with great love.

“May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.” —St. Thérèse

Copyright 2011 Julie Filby

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