Sunday, July 31, 2011

When We Give

Hello Ladies,

To say that women give too much of themselves is nothing less than cliche. It is said that women give too much whether they are mothers or not. We give too much to our boyfriends/husbands/children. We give too much to our bosses. And are we appreciated when we give so much? Are we respected for our sacrifices? Not if we give without love. 

I have always stated that all our actions should come from CARITAS, love that inspires action. And it can get confusing because some of our greatest acts of caritas are when we feel worn out and we can't give any more. We all remember those newborn days when we wanted to ignore the baby's cries so that we could rest and heal. But we get up anyway. So how can we tell whether we're working from caritas? Let me quote the familiar passage of 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

How much of what we do is to conform to the expectations of others? How much of our anxiety stems from what we believe we should be doing instead of what God is asking from us? Who do we listen to? Why not listen to the One who created us simply because He wants to spend time with us? When we spend time with God we become more loving. We become as God created us to be.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all thing, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-6)

Isn't that more like it? If children learn from their parents then it's safe to say that this is what Our Father is trying to teach us. If we put our own goals ahead of this (keeping our house perfectly clean, our children perfectly behaved, looking perfect all the time, being the perfect employee, etc.) then we are going to be miserable. 

Spend time with God. Allow His presence into all the parts of yourself that are envious, boastful, vain, and resentful. Ask Him how you can use your time, talents, and treasure more effectively. Go to work with caritas. Bathe your children with caritas. Yes, even do your hair with caritas. (No one says you can't look good.) 

We women work so hard and endure so much. And many times we feel we can endure no more. But if we work with God we will worry less about the burdens others wish us to bear. If we work with God we will choose work worth doing. We will choose caritas over vanity and duty. We will be liberated. And because we are loving, we will find that we CAN bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and yes, endure all things.

Sit Deus Nobis! (May God Be With Us!)

Monday, July 4, 2011


Hello Ladies,

I am a big believer that our most defining moments are the quiet ones that go unnoticed. I also believe that these quiet, defining moments are the legacy that we will leave our children.  As you might have guessed this blog is somewhat autobiographical. I don't want to be just another 'mommy blog' but I cannot help but be affected by what goes on around me. 

As I have mentioned in earlier posts an elder of our family has been causing a great deal of suffering because of her addiction. Her sons don't talk to each other or to her. Her poison has spread to aunts and uncles and ever her grandchildren. If this were not bad enough, her addiction has been slowly killing her for years. At this point she literally cannot think clearly. Her body is shutting down. And her family? They are still dealing with the lies and venom that she has been spewing for years. If you were to ask her years ago if this was the legacy that she would like to leave for her children she would be horrified. Now she couldn't stop herself is she tried. And she hates herself for it. She really does.

After much prayer and reflection I think part of the problem is that, for years, she has been chasing after things that she believed that she 'deserved'. She deserved to be right, to be vindicated. She deserved to have nice things ("luxury"). She deserved that cottage by the lake. The house with the pool. And yes, even her addiction. She saw friends, family, even her own children, as things to manipulate. And? And now it is almost over for her. She has few friends and her family is justifiably afraid of her. She still has all of her possessions but they cost money and she can't care for them.

What do we think that we deserve? Ladies, if we follow what society tells us we are going to go crazy. We might not be able to go out to get our coffee a day (that's my big thing). We might not get the career we want. Or the car. We might not even get the children we want (or get them to behave as we would want). We might have to give up a lot of things that have been important to us in the past.

Does this mean that what we want doesn't matter? NO! It matters. WE matter. But it means that we must take care to want what God wants for us. Because, Ladies, God does not want us to die with self-hatred and a family that has been disintegrating for years. He also doesn't want us to stay inside all day taking care of others while giving up our hopes and dreams. We must be creative in our wants just as God is creative. 

What is so wrong with being humble? These days the word 'humility' is associated with being a weak victim whose dreams are dead. In reality, humility is a strength. It allows us to give up our impulsive wants and be guided by wisdom. Think about it. God is not simply something that set up a religious construct that we must mindlessly obey. God dreamed us into being. God formed us in our mothers' wombs. God knows how many hairs are on our heads. When we die, God will call us home by name. Doesn't this sound like someone we should go to for advice? Because, Ladies, no matter how far we think we can go in life God knows that we can go further, be greater, be stronger. 

If we feel that we are overwhelmed maybe it's because we are focusing on the wrong things. If we feel like failures maybe it is because we are listening to the wrong people. So often when we think we don't get what we 'deserve' it is because we are rejecting the grace of God's love. 

We deserve respect as human beings, as women, as mothers, as daughters of God.

I invite you to ask yourself every evening what legacy you are leaving for your children. Some days you must stand up and fight. Some days you must let things go. We make mistakes. We learn. We move on. But we should always invite God help us along the way. We ask for forgiveness, for comfort, for strength, for wisdom. We help each other. But if we do not know our own minds then we cannot know God. And God knows our minds best of all.

Just the other day I asked the son of this bitter woman if he was going to call her on her birthday. He said no because he can't bring her any joy, anyway. And he was right. What sort of legacy is that?

May God heal this family!