Sunday, December 11, 2011

Not Ready

It was the third Sunday of Advent, and I woke up not ready.

We got the grocery shopping done and had breakfast, we'd been out the night before so people slept in, so we were not ready.  We decided to go to the five as a result and the day drifted by.  I went for a weak jog (my first in ages), my body said, "Not ready."

At 2, dinner was put in the oven. It would take 4 hours and be finished just in time for us returning from mass.  By 4:30, I began collecting children.  We'd need two cars.  Three children needed shoes. The baby needed changing.  "We're not ready!" was churning through my head as I scrambled for socks and coats.  Getting in the car, I noted that three children had left their jackets behind, and that my 4 year old was wearing pants that had in the last five minutes, found an excuse to tear.  We were running late. We were not ready.

We drove as fast as speed cameras would allow. 

Parking in the handicapped spot thanks to Paul, I noted that the van was poorly positioned.  Everyone emptied out and started for the doors.  I got back in the car and re parked.  Scrambling into a pew, all I could feel was fatigue at trying to get to mass and not making it on time or even before the first reading. 

Within seconds, a child asked to go to the bathroom and there it was again, that not readiness.  My nostrils detected the unmistakable Pepe le Peu odor of a diaper needing changing.  Off during the homily I go with toddler in tow.  It is bad.  I use up all the wipes.  My daughter shows up with another daughter who has decided it is bathroom break time.  She helps me scramble for supplies to get my toddler clean.  It takes forever.  Washing my hands, I feel so utterly useless at this mass.  I've heard three scraps of the readings and about four minutes of the homily.  Going back to the pew, I'm wondering if I can even make a good case for allowing myself to receive communion.  We've been late and half present for half the mass.  Baby number 2 starts demanding attention and I open the diaper bag, (breaking the zipper) to get a bottle. 

The Priest is talking about how John the Baptist wanted to prepare people, to make them ready for Christ and how we are preparing ourselves or supposed to, with following the sacraments, prayer, seeking to act lovingly, think lovingly and scrub our souls free of sin before Christmas as the proper preparation for December 25th, as versus Christmas cards (haven't done it), cleaning the house (that's perpetual), buying presents (hahahahahahaha), buying festive gear (need to), etcetera etcetera etcetera.  On all fronts, I'm just a mess, barely managing today.  I'm not ready. 

And then the offertory song begins.  Hearing my husband and four of my six daughters singing with full voice, the Servant Song by Donna Marie McGargill, OSM.

It feels like the words were written for me in that moment of feeling just so lost and not present.

1. What do you want of me, Lord? Where do you want me to serve you? Where can I sing your praises. I am your song.

It is also a gentle rebuke of me for refusing to sing the other day because I didn't feel comfortable.

REFRAIN: 1. Jesus, Jesus, you are the Lord. Jesus, Jesus, you are the way.
2. Jesus, Jesus, you are my Lord. Jesus, Jesus, you are the way.
3. Jesus, Jesus, be warmth of my heart. Jesus, Jesus, you are the way.
4. Jesus, Jesus, you are my light. Jesus, Jesus, you are the way.

2. I hear you call my name, Lord, and I am moved within me. Your Spirit stirs my deepest self. Sing your songs in me. (REFRAIN 2)

And I think about how Advent is about waiting and listening, and that perhaps I am too impatient and too noisy to listen well. 

3. Above, below, and around me. Before, behind and all through me, your Spirit burns deep within me. Fire my life with your love. (REFRAIN 3)

Being fired hurts, but it makes the clay or the steel or whatever the good stuff is that has been molded and allowed itself to be shaped, stronger.  I'd just spent a few days puzzling over the eternal question of what now? for my life, and being irritated that God hasn't bothered to send a silver platter engraved explanation of His plans for me. 

4. You are the light in my darkness. You are my strength when I'm weary. You give me sight when I'm blinded. Come see for me. (REFRAIN 4)
And the choir of those I love combined with all those around me that I don't know overwhelms.  In that moment, everything that hasn't happened or needs to happen, falls away.  I want to just drink in the notes as my children sing, to hear every voice and sear their sounds in my head for the future.  It's not even something I can mention to them, or those who are self conscious, won't sing next time.  It was a one time concert, a Holy Spirit gift of Gaudete Sunday to help me get ready. 

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