I’ll be happier when…

When I was in high school, I used to think that I’d be happier once I got to college.

And, I was actually right. But then, I started thinking, “I’ll be even happier after this paper is done, or I pass this class, or I have a boyfriend, or I find a job.”

After college, I thought I’d be happier once I had more kids in youth group, or once I was married. And then, it was once the baby was born.

Then, once the baby was sleeping through the night. Or stopped nursing, or was done teething, or could walk.

I’d be happier if I quit my job, or had a new job, or stopped having kids. Or if we had more money. Or I could get one night of uninterrupted sleep for heavens sake! It seems there is always something standing in the way of my happiness. But am I searching for happiness, or joy?

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I’ve been painting these Saint Peg Dolls of Maximilian Kolbe for a saint doll exchange. And I’ve been thinking about his life. How he spent several years in Auschwitz, giving away his meals, never complaining about the work or the beatings, and eventually spending the last weeks of his life in a starvation cell. While in the cell, he sang psalms and hymns and gave thanks to God, mediating upon Christ’s passion and praying bible verses.  Even without external circumstances of happiness, he had pure joy. And now, a saint in heaven, he experiences the fullness of happiness in every second of eternity.

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Kolbe’s cell in Auschwitz is now a pilgrimage site.

 

I went on a retreat this past weekend and realized that my life is like pointillism art. I am so focused on the dot, that I don’t step back to see the whole picture, the whole beautiful masterpiece that God is creating out of all the dots of my life and my children. I don’t have that eternal perspective, but I want to. So this week I am praying with this Scripture where Jesus says:

“So you are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts with rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you…ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” John 16:22-24

Even in our day-to-day circumstances, we can find joy instead of chasing after fleeting happinesses.

St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us!

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Nesting…and Being Ready for New Life

This morning I had emptied and loaded the dishwasher, cleaned off the table, made the bed, took a little nap, did a load of laundry and picked up the kids toys all before 10am. At 37.5 weeks pregnant, I felt that was a feat. Especially because I hate cleaning off the dining room table and making our bed, and usually leave those chores to Nate.

“I must be nesting,” I thought as I was scrubbing oatmeal off the table. I know my babies don’t come much earlier than their due date, but here I was, wanting to keep the house in order. I also realized I could be doing this daily cleaning for several more weeks, but hey, you never know when this baby is going to come!

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My first pregnant selfie ever….and my last.

And I think it’s interesting that with all the advances in technology- with the exception of a c-section- you still never know when the baby is going to come! It’s a waiting game; It keeps you on your toes. Your nesting instinct kicks in, because you always want to be ready.

In some ways I’m panicking, because we just moved last month and we still have a whole room to gut and remodel before all our kids have an appropriate place to stay. And we are running out of time! The clock is ticking…

But here I am- I realized, in my first profound moment in months- worried about the temporal importance of making room in our house for new life of a baby while I have been neglecting the importance of making room in my heart for life in Christ.

Isn’t nesting the same thing as journeying the Christian life? We never know when Jesus is going to come, or when we are going to leave this earthly life behind. Shouldn’t we always be ready, constantly cleaning out our hearts and making room for new life? Tidying up the messiness and inviting prayer and sacraments into our home to get us ready?

But I have been too focused on the earthly aspects of nesting to spend much time in prayer and making sure I’m always ready for the spiritual life that is to come.

Hopefully with the help of the Holy Spirit and the graces of Pentecost I can be nesting inside and out – for the new life due the 27th and for the eternal life which Christ has won for me.

“So, too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Matthew 24:44