I was sitting at Vacation Bible School, helping out in the nursery. One of the other mothers had just taken her daughter out to change her diaper. She left her phone on the table. It began to ring, and one of the other helpers immediately picked it up and ran to take it to her. At the surface, there may not seem to be anything wrong with this scene. I admit, I’ve done the same thing as that helper. When someone else’s phone rings and they are not nearby, I feel this urgency to get their phone to them. Do you ever feel this? It’s a rather silly thought; I mean, even before cell phones, we had answering machines for goodness’ sake!
I have a hard time saying “no.” And I know, “no” is not a four-letter word, or eight-letter, or however many letters it takes to make it sound complicated. “No” should be a clean-cut breakaway from whatever we were holding onto or whatever was holding onto us.
As a mom with four young kids, I say “No” or “No thank you” quite often. “No, you can’t climb/jump/twirl on the table.” “No, the books should be put away instead of strewn across the floor.” “No, you can’t eat rocks/boogers/legos.” No, no, no.
I also have to say “no” to myself. Some days it feels like motherhood is one gigantic exercise in self-denial. “No, you can’t read right now, the dinner needs to be prepared.” “No, there isn’t time for you to sign up for that exercise class, the kids have art camp/husband has to work/the baby needs to nap.” “No, you shouldn’t get 18 lbs. of fresh apricots to make jam, even though it’s delicious, the work involved is too much for this weekend (true story, folks).” No, no, no.
I was really getting frustrated, especially about that apricot one. I love to create, be it a sewing project, a blog post, or yes, close to 10 pints of jam. A lot of these projects are for someone else or in service for my family, but they fill me with joy as well. Here was a good project, that would bring me some fulfillment and something tasty to the table. I felt like I was drowning in self-denial, completely trapped by the constraints of family responsibilities.
Thank goodness I have been working on a project that involves some deep reflection and reading on St. Paul’s Christ Hymn found in Philippians 2:5-11.
If I were ever going to get a tattoo, it would be a toss up between St. Julian of Norwich’s “All will be well” or St. Julie Billiart’s “Live the Good.” Probably one of those script ones, either on the inside of my wrist or along the top of my foot or something. I feel like either of these two phrases would stand the test of time and would have something to say to me for years to come. However, I am also a chicken, so it also probably won’t be happening anytime soon! I have known about St. Julie for a while, having studied some of her writings in school. Only recently have I heard about St. Julie, her Order, and her story.
– Continue reading at Catholicmom.com