Small Success: When the Light Doesn't Want to Shine


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I didn’t want to write Small Success Thursday today. I did the dishes, I organized my papers, cleaned out the email box, and wondered, why couldn’t I summon my naturally sunny spirit this time? What was missing? I looked to the internet for inspiration. (Admittedly, not my brightest idea), I reread the daily reading. “You are a light for the world.” Oh great, no pressure. I was not feeling like light. I felt tired, bored and listless. I felt nervous about starting work, about how it would affect schedules, managing the physical maintenance of the home, and my own reserves for writing, for parenting, for all of it.

We had a busy, hard weekend, where my husband and I talked about how we needed to be more deliberate if we were going to help shepherd this 17, 14, 12, 10, 9, 8 and 5-year-olds and maintain connections with the 18, 20 and 23-year-olds. We needed to plot out a date night every two weeks, and to plot out new games and amusements that focused on the pre-teens and teens, to help make memories for our children that weren’t merely going through the day, filling out the schedule and fulfilling one’s duties. Things like going to Mass as a family, eating Sunday brunch, chess games, going to the park, reading books: these little things made up what it means to be a family. However, these were the easy parts of parenting.

The hard parts were when the 12-year-old popped off and went for a march (barefoot) because he felt mad and I got to follow him at 1 mile an hour in the van, window down, offering him shoes and water if he didn’t want to get in the car, until he got in the car. When we got home, the ten-year-old declared I’d promised I’d play with her. I wanted time off. I wanted to lie down. I didn’t want to play. I’d reached the hard part of following on my stupid wise words of last week: “Go the extra mile.” We went outside and I spend the afternoon tinkering with all the bikes, fixing four of the five so they could bike. Later, we read together and I took two of the girls grocery shopping. They enjoyed it all and I eventually forgot I’d wanted down time for me. Faking it until I felt it also worked. Still, I groused to God, there are times when the light doesn’t want to shine, the light wants to sit and be shined upon. The hard part is willing to do what must be done with a grateful heart.

So I didn’t have a moment of being light; I felt more keenly the dullness. Sifting through all the worries, I put on my favorite podcast priest, and there were the words, “The accuser takes God’s words about what we are called to do, and uses them to convict us” with the goal being to make us despair because we fail to measure up. We will never measure up. However, God’s grace makes up the lack if we let it, and the more we allow God in, the more God’s grace can pour into our lives and illuminate to the world and ourselves what God’s plan is.

I’d been feeling the weight of what God’s plan for us is, (raising these ten people, living a steeped in the faith Catholic life). Getting to work doing the plan, even if my heart wasn’t all in yet, was a means by which God could work to pour out abundant grace, allowing me to gradually surrender more of my will in the process. I’m not promising I won’t be stubborn again today or tomorrow; I’m just knowing, if I am obedient to God’s will, I will become less stubborn, I will become less dull, and going the extra mile will become ever more possible.

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Copyright 2016 Sherry Antonetti


About Author

Sherry Antonetti is a mother of ten children, published author of The Book of Helen and a freelance writer of humor and family life columns. You can read additional pieces from her blog,

1 Comment

  1. I’ve kind of stopped buying message T-shirts now that I am “of a certain age” but I couldn’t resist one this summer that says “Faith It ’til you make it.” It’s a Small Success sort of message, for sure 🙂

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