Sunday, July 29, 2012

I choose the Labor

Raising ten children is hard.  It is the hardest best thing my husband and I will ever do, and despite sometimes feeling overwhelmed by the laundry and the dishes, the bedtimes, the schedules, the errands, and the needs that run the gamut from help making a crown out of paper to vetoing outfits that my daughter thinks are cool but aren't modest to pushing one to get a job and another to read a book and still another to sign up for (yes) sports and pretending that a cucumber has a name and is a pet, this is what the sum and total of being a parent is.  It is labor.  It is love. It is designed to be perfect joy through service. Parenting means you clean up the throw up, you change the diapers and you sign the papers.  You check the homework, you mate the socks and find the shoes and drive kids to friends houses for sleep overs and stay up late until older ones come home.  Sometimes you wonder if you will ever feel rested again or finished with something.

My granddaddy had a horrible saying that covers any time I might lapse into self pity. "You shouldn't have hired out if you didn't want to go to work."  It is merciless and true and somehow, it makes me laugh, because I can hear my dad saying it whenever I'd complain about ...anything.   The reality is that "both and" experience; that while you don't get to opt out, you do get to love unto death. 

But sometimes, being human, I will cop out.  I'll veg on the computer. I'll put off what should be done now, I'll engage in vigilant sloth, where I slack my way through what should be done well.  Then I scramble like a crazed loon trying to make up for the time frittered and wonder how in the world God could expect this much of me. And why it seems so often, I can do so little.

But the themes of the Gospels over the past few weeks are, "My grace is sufficient" and "take nothing for the journey" and "But we only have five loaves and two fishes." and you know what happens.  More than what was merited is given, all that is needed and more is provided.  Grace in abundance. Grace overflowing, until we are stuffed with such food with enough to share with any who didn't make it to the feast. 

Dealing with the two who were arguing because one was playing spoiler to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince during the offertory and the obligatory children shuffle because so and so wanted to sit near so and so and what not, I struggled to hold on to that thought.  My Grace is sufficient.  In the momentary quiet, my five year old with an extremely serious look on her face asked, "Where will I sleep when I'm an adult."   "Don't worry. We have time to work that out." I answered.  She nodded her head, visibly relaxed.  

My six year old had decided I needed strangling kisses every five minutes until I held her hand and I admit, I editorialized the Our Father with special emphasis on different lines to different people.  And then we came to my favorite line in the mass, "Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."  and like so many times before, it stops me in my tracks.  It demands that I think deeper, about Jesus, entering into our home, into our family, into me. I was not worthy, and my  house, my hearth was not what a nestled in Jesus heart should be. I knew as I struggled between moments of parental smugness when I'd artfully turn a conflict and parental despair when the fights existed at all, that there was this mess that was me. "You shouldn't have hired out if you didn't want to go to work." So true, and here was the food so I could get to work, with extra to spare, as some of them were receiving as well. I'd been lucky enough to be given a job.

Now it was simply a matter of choosing the labor.




Rose Godfrey said...

I needed this today. I could tell you all the reasons, but they change from day to day. Still, those reasons center around a house full of children, a floor full of naked Barbies and Legos, and so much more. There are endless reasons that this spoke to me.

I just needed this today. Thank you.

SherryTex said...

High praise and it spoke to your heart. Best pay a writer can ever get. You're welcome!

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