The last few weeks have been challenging. Fall is a busy season for us, bringing more work responsibilities, social obligations and chaos to our home. It’s been a fun season filled with family get-togethers and the activities of my favorite season. However, I’m not a fan of being “busy.” A 2 introvert parent household starts to fall apart when the calendar gets too full and there hasn’t been mush downtime.
With the e-mail inbox full of assignments and “to-do” items for this work-at-home writer mama; a personal, “fun” e-mail is often a welcome surprise.
Last week I received a much needed e-mail from a close friend. It was one of solidarity and understanding. This friend is in the same place in life as I am. A young mom with young children, a home to tend to and many callings and responsibilities outside of the home that contributes to the family.
As I sifted through the fifty unread messages in my inbox from that day her name jumped out at me. I quickly forgot the other numerous, more pressing e-mails and opened her message. Upon first glace I noticed this message would be a special treat. It was several paragraphs long, a rarity for our back and forth weekly support and venting messages.
I decided to put the baby in her exersauser and set my bigger gals up at the kitchen table with a snack. I knew doing so would buy me a good 10 minutes to focus on the e-mail and give it my undivided attention. As I cut up an apple and changed the baby’s diaper I did so with joy and anticipation. I had been waiting on hearing about a particular challenge my friend is going through and had spent some time in prayer for her intention. I had also invited her to join me for an upcoming concert and was hoping she would be able to make it. Did she resolve her problem? Would she be free the night of the concert? Were we really going to have the rare, unheard of opportunity for a girls’ night out? I was so looking forward to getting back to my computer and reading her message.
The message was a good one. I was filled in on her situation, a few housekeeping items were taken care of for a project we are working on together and she offered great advice for some concerns that have been on my heart. The message blessed me in several ways and lifted my spirits for the remainder of the day.
The business of the week took over and I forgot about the message from my friend. Then, this weekend I was given the rare opportunity to attend mass alone. I will be assisting with a retreat this week and was invited to attend an evening mass at the college for the kick-off of retreat week.
With 3 children aged 3 and under, it’s been a while since I’ve actually heard the majority of a mass that wasn’t on EWTN. The sights of mass are usually set to the soundtrack of screaming and crying in my ear as I pray for God’s mercy just to get through without a complete family meltdown.
As I sat last night in the dark, candle-lit mass, I gave the silence room in my heart and prayed as I haven’t in a while.
And then I mentally checked “mass” and “prayer” off my to-do list for the evening and re-organized the list in my head for when I returned home:
If I stop at the store for milk and the paper on my way home I should get there by 9:30pm. The kids would hopefully all be sleeping. If I eat dinner and find the pieces for tomorrow’s trick-or-treat costumes I’ll be able to write the article that is due tomorrow, send it off to the editor and then write my blog posts. If I can just pay the few bills that are due I can put the rest off until the end of the week when I have time to do the finances. I can send a few e-mails to those who are waiting on me and just tell them I’ll get back to them this week. If I do that and the baby doesn’t wake up, I should be able to get to sleep by 3am. If Joseph can feed the baby before he goes to work, I should be able to sleep until 7:30am when Anna will wake up…
Just as I was calculating how many hours of sleep I would get I looked up and noticed the lector was reading the second reading. I was disappointed my mind had wondered off the one time I actually get the opportunity to listen to and fully participate in the mass. I then remembered the e-mail from my friend and began to ask myself some over-due questions.
Why is an e-mail from a friend worthy of re-arranging so that I may give it my undivided attention but when it comes to God’s words, His letters to me, I can’t focus? Where is my excitement in the Lord? Do I open the gospel with more anticipation than I do an e-mail?
“I wish” was the only answer I had.
I spent the rest of the mass praying on how to make my wishes a reality and could only conclude that if there is no room on the to-do list for the Lord, it’s time to reflect on priorities and what actually needs to be done.
If we really believe in the real presence of the Eucharist shouldn’t we be lined up around the block with excitement and anticipation?
Do you have excitement in the Lord?
Copyright 2011 Holly Rutchik