I love listening to the news. Storytelling enchants me, and the news is essentially a daily series of stories. I also love feeling connected to others—people in my neighborhood or anywhere in the world. The morning news is a particular favorite of mine, often prompting me to pray for the people I hear about, holding them in my heart during the day.
This morning, however, my car radio stayed off. I drove to work in silence, and here’s why.
As my family sat around the breakfast table today, an urgent issue arose. A few of the children needed something for school, resulting in two things: a vigorous search around the house and some hysterical hollering. The details—what the children needed, why they needed it—don’t really matter. What matters is that a genuinely urgent situation caused unnecessary hysterics. Urgency may call for fast action, but fast is not the same thing as furious. To be clear, I was the furious one. I, the mom who constantly reminds each child to breathe before reacting and to think before speaking, lost my cool.
I apologized to my family before we all left the house, and I was forgiven. Nonetheless, my drive to work was filled with grief. Why did I have to fail so spectacularly first thing in the morning? I prayed as I drove, considering painfully how my own specific weaknesses help me identify with the general fragility of humanity. Feeling weak and fragile, my heart turned to Jesus, who became vulnerable for my sake. And not just for me, but for each of us, for all of us. Usually listening to the news helps me feel a connection with others, but prayer did that for me today instead.
Pope Francis has been urging all people of good will to cultivate humility. This morning, swimming in humility, I felt the wisdom of this. My humbled state prompted me to acknowledge the saving power of God. I remain, after all, only human. But I live in hope: naturally fragile, we humans become strong and whole through Jesus, true man and true God. Jesus joyfully embraces our humanity and shows us the way to fullness. By the grace of God, we can turn away from bad choices more and more, choosing instead the good, the true, the beautiful.
Normally impatient with the bumper-to-bumper morning commute, I felt thankful for the extra time I had to consider my morning at home. I didn’t even regret leaving the radio off. It seemed to me that any events I might have heard reported—all the struggles and successes of my brothers and sisters around the world—were taking place right inside my own heart.
I’m sure I’ll catch the news tomorrow morning, and I’ll be listening with my whole heart.
How do your morning routines help you prepare for the day? Which habits turn you toward God?
Copyright 2014 Grace Mazza Urbanski