Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Snatches of Grace

Tim came home yesterday with the best news I have heard in a long time. His research paper? He scored 105 with -- I need a drum roll here -- no revisions needed! O, happy day! I nearly cried. While I was certainly happy about the 105, I was flat over the moon about the no revisions.

The pace of life over the past three months has been daunting. Any little break -- a rained out game, a canceled meeting, a paper with no revisions -- well, the relief is almost palpable.

Over the past few days I've experienced a different and deeper kind of relief -- the relief that comes from God alone, the relief that comes when we live out Christ's exhortation, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

I have been weary, and I have come to Christ.

Why so weary? Part of it is just the time of year. Soccer just finished while baseball is getting into full swing. First Communion is a great joy, but when you work with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, it's also a ton of work. Spring for middle school students means science fair and research papers.

Saturday was one more in a series of over-the-top busy days. We began with a fundraiser race for the boys' school. Tim finished his first 5K! After the race, we hurried home for a quick clean up before Dave and I headed out to the wedding of two good friends.

We left Tim in charge. With the baby napping and a DVD to watch, we figured we were set for success. Apparently we were barely out of the driveway when John woke up the baby and then proceeded to break the DVD. Two hours of pure havoc ensued.

Now, we have this device known as a cell phone. My boys are not hesitant to use this.  I have ambled from the produce aisle to the dairy case and received no fewer than a half dozen calls most of which dealt with popcorn, Star Trek, and other pressing matters.

But the day John goes ballistic? Not a single call. We returned home to utter chaos, and I struggled through the next thirty-six hours.

While visiting in Michigan, my niece asked me if I am happy. Without hesitation, I answered Yes, I am happy, very happy.

We went on to talk about Big Picture happiness and Little Picture happiness. I never wrestle with the big picture. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord in Jeremiah 29:11, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I know this. I believe this.

But little picture happiness? This I struggle with. The messes, the moody teenager, the mountain of laundry, the newspaper sticking to the spilled syrup on the table, my often lousy responses to all of the above . . .  I am unduly irked by the mundane irritants that are simply part and parcel of life.

That Sunday morning when I was struggling, I walked past a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Too befuddled to articulate the formal prayer to the Sacred Heart, I simply pressed my hand to the glass and prayed, "Jesus, help me." And He did. The relief I experienced was nearly instant; the tasks that had seemed overwhelming were done quickly and completely. A little snatch of grace.

A few days later, a friend from my prayer group pulled up to chat. I related a few of our challenges with John and asked her to pray for my family. She reminded me of struggles they had had when one of their children was John's age. To see this child now, you would not guess that he had put his parents through their paces. Her words of encouragement and her offer to pray gave me hope. Another snatch of grace.

That evening we attended our weekly support group meeting. We spent several hours discussing the many ways we can find ourselves oppressed in our walk with Christ. We ended our gathering by praying for freedom. More grace.

If it's the little things that bog me down, it's also the bits of grace from here and there that bolster me, bring me joy, and give me the strength to embrace and to enjoy this full life of mine.

On our first morning in Michigan, my dad and sister whisked Ainsley away for pancakes while I attended therapy with my mom. Our fourteen hour drive required lots of finger food to keep Ainsey-Boo happy. Most of it wound up ground into her car seat. As they left the pancake house, Kate was unable to latch Ainsey's seat.

Later I went out to the car armed with a garbage bag, a soapy rag, and a sharp knife. Cheese, Goldfish, chicken nuggets, unrecognizable bits of chocolate -- we could have supplied snacks for Kolbe's entire baseball team with the contents of that nasty car seat.

Much like the car seat, this long drive we call Life on planet Earth can leave us gunked up and unable to function as we would like. We need our snatches of grace.

During the month of May, Small Steps for Catholic Moms focuses on grace.  I need the grace. I can take a small step to get it.

No comments: