Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Oh Happy Day?



This morning was absolutely horrible. Do you know the kind of day I'm talking about? Where everything seems like it's out to get you and even the furniture is on the attack? It all began with a nice alarm blaring in my ear... apparently for over 30 minutes. As I groggily hit the snooze button I happened to glance up and see that it was closer to 7 than it was to 6. Oh no, the kids aren't up! So I quickly rush down the hallway knocking on doors as I go, and move in to wake up Moira who still needs help getting ready. No one seems to be moving. Another round of knocking 3 minutes later as I look for breakfast, snacks, getting together my clothes, planning my shower etc.

Finally after 3 tries I hear movement in the rooms and Moira is stirring enough to start getting dressed. I run downstairs to find the clean clothes I had washed the night before, pull out my outfit and a shirt for Mo and back up the stairs I go. (by run I mean a fast hectic walk that reminds the stair well that if it moves up an inch, it can stub my toe with the best of them.) So here I am stumbling with a toe that's sure to be broken, trying not to drop the clothes, when a magical lego appears out of no where and embeds itself into my flesh. Score 2 for the inanimate invaders and nothing for the dad who is running late.

My head begins to overwhelm me as I remember all things I'm supposed to do today. I need to get Moira ready, I need to get her to the bus stop, I need a shower, the dog needs to be walked before I leave, the clothes need to be put into the washer, the dishes need to be started, I need to help Butch at the church rewire some lights, it's almost time for Mass, then the prayer group, then I need to work on some homework for class, a meeting tonight for the building and grounds... we gotta get moving I remind them in a voice that's entirely too loud, entirely too angry.

Sarah and Hannah run out the door, their bus is running in less than a minute. Moira points to the basket and says "uh oh, Sarah forgot her project." Another thing in my head, a new object crams it's way into things to do... How am I going to get that to her at school? Someone is blowing their horn in the driveway, and I call back (by call I mean yell irritatingly that someone has invaded my introverted space again) 'Your ride is here!' This is followed by a slowly shuffling teenager who takes her time and calls out as if they can hear through the closed door 'I'm coming.' I begin to get irritated and mention that she should hurry, which is followed by a 'I am' as the shuffling sloth like creature begins to put on her shoes.

It all begins to bubble over as she has left and I look to see where Moira is.. and she's in the bathroom. So I knock and remind, we gotta go your bus is going to run. Followed by another 3 knocks in what seems like 10 minutes of time.. when actually it was probably about 10 seconds apart. Finally she opens the door and I notice in horror she doesn't even have her shoes on, her hairs not brushed, and I have less than a minute for the bus to run. I tell her "MOVE!" and she does, she runs into the living room, dancing around in all four cardinal directions as if she was a compass out of control, trying to find her shoes. Dear God help me, she doesn't even know where they are! So we frantically look, and my phone rings. My wife is on the other end reminding me that 'Sarah needs her project for school she left it.' I snap at her, she doesn't deserve that. I hear the air break release on the bus.. we missed it.

Ah, how wonderful a day eh? You may think I'm complaining, and maybe in a way I am. Actually, this morning was beautiful. I didn't realize that when I woke up. When my toe was throbbing I was angry. When my kids weren't moving fast enough, I was irritated to no end.   When my phone rang and sang 'Oh Happy Day' to me, I was angry that it interrupted my space. When the horn beeped in the driveway I was irritated for the occupants in the vehicle who kept beeping every few seconds to remind someone they were here. How do we miss all the things in there that are from God? As I was 'stomping' my way on foot to take Moira to school, a small wind blew through my mind and God reminded me in that still small voice "It's not about YOU."

Dumbfounded. That's the word I would describe me as I stopped mid track.   As I stood there on the sidewalk and Moira caught up to me and I realized I had made my day all about me. I apologized to her for being frazzled and we walked together and she began to talk to me. She began to point out this house or that, this flower or that, this bus and where it was going, etc. I realized she hadn't been talking.. how could she? We were walking at the fastest pace my broken body can handle, and I wasn't really giving her a chance to see anything.

I took her to school, and we got there before the bell rang and I began to walk on towards the other school to drop off the project. At this point I'm not in a hurry anymore. A friend stops and asks if I need a ride, my mind for a second says 'you can still make it to mass, you can make it to work on the lights, forget the project, get in and go!'  I realize quickly that in doing that my friend who is lector for daily mass today would miss it if she gave me a ride. Thanks, but I'm gonna be a while I say, and tell her to go on. It's not about me.  It's now about God.  I need to spend more time listening. So I walk on.

So I open my eyes around me. The barking dogs yapping at me, the squirrels and their nuts, the trees and their blossoms and fading flowers, the elderly gentleman walking his pup, the birds in the trees, and the wind in the leaves. I walk on and back home, all the while thinking what a blessing I had this morning. The bible warns us in sacred scripture that our tongue has the power to curse and bless, and it should only be blessing. Jesus also reminds us that what comes out of our heart is what makes a man unclean. With that in mind, our thoughts can be a blessing and a curse too, they can take a moment in which we can see the finger prints of God... and instead we see only the dust. (Think of a CSI show, how they dust the surfaces to find finger prints.. our lives are dust... but if we look at where the ashes fall, we can find the finger prints of God on the surface.)

Curse: I woke up this morning to a blaring alarm clock.
Blessing: I woke up.

Curse: No one is up yet.
Blessing: Everyone was soundly asleep and resting.

Curse: having to get clean clothes from downstairs
Blessing: we have clothes.

Curse: Moira doesn't have her shoes on.
Blessing: We get to walk together and chat this morning.

Curse: Sarah forgot her project.
Blessing: I get to serve my family by living my vocation, I can take it to her.

Curse: the phone rings interrupting me
Blessing: the phone serenades me with 'Oh Happy Day' followed by the melodic beauty of my wife's voice.


We forget that everyday life sanctifies us. Living our vocation, our calling, can be the most holy thing we can do.. if we allow it to be such. We parents are called to serve. We often think of service as only when we go to church to wire a light, clean a floor, or lector at the Ambo. But service includes those at home as well. We often treat them worse than we would a complete stranger. We are hypocrites. Everyone of us. But we can do better. We can do it one day at a time. One blessing at a time. One walk at a time.

In Christ,
Brian