Monday, March 16, 2009

Movers and Shakers

Every year, today's Old Testament reading hits so close to home. Naaman, seeking to be cured of leprosy, is told by the prophet Elisha to wash 7 times in the Jordan river. Naaman is disappointed that Elisha didn't perform some miracle right there and went away. His servants said, "if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary, would you not have done it?"

I went to Princeton wanting to be a mover and shaker. In classes, we tackled problems such as moving entire countries to democracy and shaking up the bioethics world, so that babies would no longer be killed.

At the moment I am moving large piles of laundry from the washer to the dryer and shaking sand out of shoes. And I sometimes complain internally about the fact that I am not doing "incredible things." And that stubborn pride starts to creep in, once again. I want to do something extraordinary. And then, convicted of my pride, I remember that the ordinary is extraordinary when offered to God and done with love.

Lent is a beautiful time to remember this once again. I should print out this Old Testament passage so I read it everyday (note to self: print this out and read it everyday). God is in the ordinary, which in turn makes everything extraordinary. Virgin most humble, pray for us!


11 comments:

B and C said...

In my mind, all of the Builders are extraordinary movers and shakers (especially you, Texas Mommy!). In fact, you could be considered downright revolutionary. Thanks for being an inspiration.

Fr. Christian Mathis said...

Amen! When I started seminary I asked every priest there what I should do, expecting to hear something extraordinary. Every single one of them said to me, "pray, study, eat, spend time in silence." I kept asking for about a year and eventually came to the conclusion that what they were telling me was that I should pray, study, eat and spend time in silence. LOL. Sometimes we are slow learners.

Mary Alice said...

Father, your comment relates to something I have been reflecting on lately. While in college, I had the chance to ask the prelate of Opus Dei what I could do to help bring souls to Christ. I was expecting to hear about concrete actions, activities he wanted young people to plan, inviting friends to mass, but instead he said "pray."

Along with prayer, Lent is a great time to work towards doing small things well even if it might be more romantic to think that God wants great things of us. A 40 day retreat might be asked of some, but for a nursing mother to not snack between meals or to hold her temper with her children is its own heroic struggle.

JesusThroughMary said...

The LORD was not in the earthquake, wind or fire (as much as I love funk), but in the still small voice. (Or as the NAB so eloquently butchers it, a "tiny whispering sound".)

It's amazing how many of us want to take on the Cross but complain about a splinter. That's what separates the saints from the rest of us, though.

Kat said...

Thank you, TM, for this beautiful reflection, it is exactly what I needed today! All of us, no matter what our vocation, can be encouraged by this passage from Scripture. It reminds me of a quote from Mother Theresa: "None of us can do great things, only small things with great love." What a perfect reminder for all of us! No matter how high-profile or hidden our daily lives might be, we are called to do the small things with great love. If we all lived our lives in this fashion, we would not be tempted to be prideful in moments of public achievement or defensive when others questioned our choice to live more hidden, home-centered lives. We would simply be at peace, knowing that in the end, all of us can only do small things in comparison to what Our Lord has done for us. And if we do them with great love, then we are starting to get somewhere!

B-Mama said...

Great inspiration today, Tex!! Thank you--I needed it!

South Paw said...

Thank you for reminding us that we can sanctify ourselves, our family and the world through our work-no matter how mundane-when offered to God. I appreciate your honesty and identified with it because I think all at home moms feel pressured constantly by the false cultural view that power and self-fulfillment--ex] one must be out in the world to achieve 'success'--is more important than lovingly fulfilling our vocations.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but....This isn't a zero sum game. It's not like any of us (I'm a SAHM) is likely to die when our youngest turns 18, or that our opportunities for personal achievement will have entirely vanished after a career raising kids. Grad school taught us we have to bust our buns to be a mover & shaker by 50 or we fail, but that's not necessarily the only way.

Of course I thought I'd be doing something much more high-profile at my age than having & wrangling kids. But though this post means well & I don't disagree in substance, let's remember that life is usually long & all the virtues we acquire doing little things with great love may serve a LOT of people when our nest is empty!

texas mommy said...

Yes, Yes and Yes. Thanks for all your thoughts!

To anon...I couldn't agree more about the future. I have all sorts of ideas for the future, though being several years shy of 30, my nest may be full for quite awhile. I only meant to speak about this present day, this present moment (in which I am cleaning mud out of shoes with a toothpick)!

Mary Alice said...

with a toothpick? Really? Am i just a slacker, because I have just been leaving the shoes muddy, or, when possible, letting my kids play barefoot in the dirt and washing it all down the drain every night.

To anon: While I agree in some ways with what you say, and some of us may be what the world would call movers and shakers at different stages, I think that it is so important to live your call to be a daughter of God TODAY, to bloom where you are planted, so to speak. I used to think that I would let my prayer life wait until I was 80, as it seems that my grandmother has plenty of time to pray now, but really we don't know when our reckoning will come. Also, it is too easy to let the wonder of these years at home slip away, just passing time until the kids don't need us so much, or to resent them for taking us away from something that might seem more important, even if we are calling it a dream for the future.

texas mommy said...

Brand new shoes + son helping dad in garden after the rain is not a good situation. "Caked in mud" cannot begin to describe the situation. I have found a metal skewer to work the best. We have purchased mud boots in the last week.