Sunday, January 1, 2012

Often @ 10 O'Clock @ Night

I sit and read Ann's graceful words and think about her words:

If it matters, you make the time.
If it doesn’t, you make excuses.

The music soothes.

I think of my excuses.

What matters to me doesn't have to be thought over much. My family and faith. It's simple that way.

Blessfully simple.

The Christmas tree is tattered and ragged in a corner of the living room. A new kitten finds its home in the branches. It sways.

The Worker lays at my feet playing ball with my son's dog whom we babysit while he's at work. Something about separation anxiety the animal shelter tells us.

A tousled head snuggles against my arm and a still sweet childhood voice interrupts Ann's graceful words and soothing music.


"Mommy, how do you spell tooth?" (I patiently answer her.)

"Mommy, this isn't a canoe. What is it?"/ Could be a kayak, honey./ "How do you spell that?" (I patiently answer her.)

"Mommy, there's a sun and...what is this?"/ Looks like a calendar. See if that works./ "How do you spell calendar?"/ (I patiently tell her.)

"Mommy, it doesn't work."/ Maybe it's a planner./ "A planner?" (I patiently guide her yet again. We get it wrong. The anwer was sunscreen. She is discouraged. I encourage her to try again.)

"Mommy, I need to know what they're doing here. An action word."/"Looks like they're doing surgery on the poor guy./ "It isn't sergery. I already typed that."/ S-u-r-g-e-r-y./ "Oh, S-U? That's it, Mommy. Thank you!"

She's playing a new Pictionary game on her Nintendo DS. This might be the only chance we get to do spelling this week. I'm glad I was patient.

The dog growls and runs across my feet chasing the ball.

The 10 o'clock news comes on.

It's our living room at 10 o'clock at night.

And I'm thinking about new habits in the middle of constant living that happens every single night in my living room.

How can I put on new habits when I'm too tired to change my own habits much less that of my family's?

Each pat on the arm. Each question. Each interruption. Each voice. Each part of life happening in my living room I embrace even though I cannot focus my thoughts completely on Ann's guidance.

I wonder how Ann and other beautiful writers write so beautifully in the mist of busy, interrupted, full lives. I'm sure their lives are as busy, interrupted, and full as mine. Perhaps even more so.

How do they type with whispered words of wisdom in the middle of a caucus that takes all your time? How do they keep the calm? the peace?

It's God's grace. Has to be. Nothing else can give you that.

"Mommy, look at my nachos. How do you spell nachos? Which picture should I delete so I can save my nachos picture?"

I answer her calmy, tenderly. I try to be the mother I want to be. Not the mother who yawns discouraged selfishness inside.

Blog voices tell me to to turn off the news, shut down the laptops, get out a board game and gather around the table to play an old-fashion game. Invisible entities have high expectations of my family. I don't do well with expectations.

I'm attempting to hear the television announcer talk about the 3-year-old who needs a small intestine transplant when another child's voice cuts into my listening to read off a quote she is reading.

STOP! I tell myself, remind myself.

Another child is bringing out more art supplies and draping them on the living room floor at my feet. This after an earlier-in-the-day, supervised sweep of the living room. Will these disturbances stay underfoot for another week as did the others? Or will I see them for what they are: creative outpourings of my family's life.

10 o'clock at night.

It's our living room at 10 o'clock at night.

I try to be the mother I want to be. Not the mother that yawns discouragement inside.

I take a moment to turn to the beauty of Evlogia, another writer of grace and blessings.

On the Feast of the Holy Innocents I count the blessings beneath my feet.

I notice that it's the expectations of everyone that makes me feel small and ill-equipped.

I know what I have to do and I know what God wants me to do but life keeps happening. Nothing gets finished. Nothing gets done well. Our family portrait is a tangled mess on my side of the tapestry.

It's our living room at 10 o'clock at night.

I'm thankful for the words of two souls who have blessed me tonight. Helped me to be a better mother tonight even when the timeclock cannot be turned backwards.

They are both of different faiths than I.

Another writer, same faith as I, writes about how much it means to her to belong to the One True Church. She is passionate to the point of debating it. She doesn't really argue the point but she enforces it.

I am not one to argue or debate. I am accosted daily at my lukewarmness compared to others' bold zeal. Yet I know a couple of things: Christ was born, died, and rose for me and His love overflows the mess at my feet every night at 10 o'clock. I have peace about that, more peace than what I hear in the words of people who argue and debate faiths. Peace! That is God's grace as well. I know what Church Christ began; for me there is no arguing. Anyone who reads history can discover the One True Church left by Christ.

The Jews rejected Christ and and Christ loved a new Church into being and entrusted it into the hands of His friends, a priestly crew. The Catholic Church remained universal for years and years and years. At one time all Christians were universal. Today we have more in common than not and yet we focus on the Not. Our beliefs were handed down by Christ to the Apostles who knew Him, walked with Him, sat with Him, interrupted Him, and asked endless questions of Him.

How do we possibly think we can interpret the teachings of Christ and His friends who heard him front and center?

Around a fire at 10 o'clock at night.

I think of these two grace-filled writers of different faiths who have graced my life, my parenting, my prayer life. I never doubt my faith; neither do I doubt their love of the same God I serve.

Much is lost in translation as human beings run amuck and as we judge others while sitting in different churches at 10 o'clock on a Sunday morning.

And I can't help but think...really?

Do people really argue these points?

Does God really want us to argue over what the One True Church is? For me the Church begun by Christ is my Church and I'm blessed and thankful for it. At one time we were all Catholic. That's a beautiful thought. Every Christian has roots stemming back to the Catholic Church. We are spread out, diverse, yet rooted. In ecumenical interaction we must remember that others do not believe they have left the One True Church. They certainly believe they follow the One True God.

Without Love this all becomes a pointless question, a needless arguement, a hapless debate.

I think of Mother Teresa.

She answered countless interruptions and thousands of voices while nestling many touseled heads upon her lap, and comforting weak bodies in the homes where her Missionaries of Charity. She lived a life full of earthly messes at her feet. She spoke the truth in love but never argued with (nor asked) these poor souls what Church they belonged to.

With much Love and self-denial, she walked the stench of Calcutta and Loved the world at her feet, Cared for God's creation before her, and Prayed for all souls.

Often at 10 o'clock at night.

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