A repost for Throwback Thursday. Reading this again makes me want to try harder to live in the now….to make time for the priorities. When we are on our deathbed, it won’t be how much we have accomplished, how clean our house is or how many Christmas cookies we baked…. It will be: Do I go to the door to greet my husband when he comes home? Do I take the time to listen to him? Did I take time out to look and listen when the kids were talking to me? Did I read them a bedtime story? Did I make sure they said their prayers? These are the priorities.
The last few weeks, I have come to the realization that I am busy….very busy. I am helping with a lot of things at our parish, we have made some spiritual commitments as a family and I have become president of both the Junior and Senior Legion of Mary. I am excited about this new position because I could see the Hand of God in it, and because my family takes part in both…..but I also feel……busy.
A lot of the women I know are very busy. They have a God-given gaggle of children, many of them young. They are up night and day, doing the things that mothers lovingly….and sometimes not so lovingly (but always trying)… do.
Many of us can’t change the fact that we are busy….and really, we wouldn’t want to. But we must take time to smell the roses along the way….we must take the time to BE.
One of my favorite books is Achieving Peace of Heart which was written by a Jesuit priest and Catholic psychologist in a day when these could be trusted. He helped so many people and his main theme and way of recovery for small anxieties right through to mental disorders….his way of teaching the secret to happiness…was living in the present moment.
“In conscious life there is a lack of clear consciousness, or of adequate response to impressions received. A victim of this escapes from reality and from society into egocentrism. He neither lives in nor enjoys the present; he does not pay full attention to what he sees or hears. He lives in the past or the future, far away from his physical location, wrapped up in sadness, scruples, or worries…..” Fr. Narciso Irala, Achieving Peace of Heart
And an excerpt from the book Hands Free Life – Rachel Macy Stafford: “Although we’ve been led to believe that our fondest memories are made in the grand occasions of life, in reality, they happen when we pause in the ordinary, mundane moments of a busy day. The most meaningful life experiences don’t happen in the ‘when,’ they happen in the ‘now.’ This concept is not earth shattering, nor is it something you don’t already know. Yet we still continually put off the best aspects of living until the conditions are right.”
So….we need to consciously practice pulling ourselves back to the NOW until we become experts at it! We need to quit thinking so much of what we have to do….running, running, running. Let’s do the job we are doing, let’s do it well, let’s think about living each moment IN the moment. This takes some effort, it takes a mindfulness that may try to elude us…. but we mustn’t let it. We need to begin to show up for life.
This mindfulness will help us with our family life.
When those little…or big…. feet come running up to us and their eyes peer into ours, let’s take the time to really listen and look at them. Let’s BE…..for them.
So what if we are mopping the floor and want to get it done NOW! Let’s put the mop aside and spend that 5 minutes listening to the latest escapade of what happened when Johnny tried to climb the tree or Susie tripped over her skip rope. Those 5 minute snatches can mean so much to them…..and to us.
When hubby comes home from work, let’s take the time to stop what we are doing and greet him with a smile and a kiss. Isn’t he worth it? Yes, he is worth it. If he wants to talk about his day, let’s try to stay focused and listen. It won’t take much of our time and it sure is a lot more important than getting those clothes off the line….we can do it later.
When 14 yr. old Jenny wants to tell us about how her book ended, or about the movie she watched (Ugh! Don’t you dislike listening to someone retell a movie??), let’s listen….not just listen….let’s hear.
Whether we are married or single, no matter what our life occupation is, we must take time for our loved ones. This doesn’t change no matter what walk of life we are in.
We want to be able to go to bed at night knowing that we have spent some time putting first things first….our husbands, our children, our siblings, our parents, our friends.
The people in our lives are so important….much more important than any chore or deadline we may think we have. We can get back to that. Let’s just be there for them. Let’s live in the present…..the NOW….for us, for our families.
So, for today, we will work on doing what we are doing….doing it well….and embracing those “distractions” and “interruptions” with patience and love. Let’s walk with a peace, the peace of doing God’s will in the moment and not letting our mind wander too far away from the NOW. Let us BE…it’s up to ME!
The Important Things- Leane VanderPutten
(based on “Keeping Track of Life Manifesto” – Rachel Macy Stafford)
Not the skin-deep beauty of face and figure
Not the fullness of our bank account
Not the speed at which I get my housework done
Not how nice my vehicle is
Not the cleanliness and beauty of my house
Not the number of chores I do each day
Not the events on my calendar
Not the number of church functions I am involved in
Not the text messages or emails I feel I need to respond to
Instead….I’m paying attention to the important things in life
I am going to live in the present, I am going to BE
for the hugs
for the conversations
for the exchange of laughter to heal my anxious soul.
I am finding happiness in living for the NOW
In the sit-down moments after meals
In the raucous joy of children and grandchildren
In the exchange of knowing looks that come between my husband and I
I’m living for the NOW
By taking the Hand of my Lord
Looking at Him when I feel frenzied
When I feel worried and disillusioned
So I may be present for those I love
By basking in each moment as I pause along the way
I’m living for the NOW
Because I know that there are more important things than accomplishing each task on my list.
Because I don’t want to miss a childhood, a wedding, a friendship
Because I want to be able to lay my head down at night knowing I have connected with those things that matter most…..
Because when my life is at its close it can be said, “You have run the race, you have fought the good fight.” and I will be remembered, not for what I have accomplished, but for HAVING LOVED WELL…..
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Review (Thank you, Natalie!):
“I’ve long been wanting a book on various virtues to help my children become better Catholics. But most books focused on the virtues make being bad seem funny or attractive in order to teach the child a lesson. I’ve always found them to be detrimental to the younger ones who’s logic hasn’t formed. This book does an awesome job in showing a GOOD example in each of the children with all the various struggles children commonly struggle with (lying, hiding things, being grumpy, you name it.) But this book isn’t JUST virtue training… it’s also just sweet little chats about our love for God, God’s greatness, etc…
And the best thing of all? They are SHORT! I have lots of books that are wonderful, but to be honest I rarely pick them up because I just don’t have the time to read a huge, long story. These are super short, just one page, and very to the point. The second page has a poem, picture, a short prayer and a few questions for the kids to get them thinking. It works really, really well right before our bedtime prayers and only takes a few minutes at most.
If you like “Leading the Little ones to Mary” then you will like these… they are a little more focused on ALL age groups, not just little ones… so are perfect for a family activity even through the teenage years, down to your toddler.”