These Gospel passages just keep getting bigger and bigger. There’s so much that can be said about the story of the Woman at the Well. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around how to speak well about this critical story in just a few short minutes on YouTube.
I settled on the importance of water and the lessons we can learn about setting priorities. Water is essential for life. We cannot live long without it. It is something we need to be aware of at all times. I cannot imagine living in Jesus’ time, needing to carry water to my home every single day. It is hard enough keeping water in my little boys’ water bottles throughout the day, and I have a sink!
Water is something we learn to prioritize early in life. This Gospel passage caused me to ponder what else we prioritize in our lives. How does our schedule reflect what we consider the most important?
I recently wrote an article for Catholicmom.com that I think speaks well to the topic of priorities, but with a twist. It’s an article about wasted time and making a conscious effort to slow down our day. Today will never be here again, tomorrow is something new. We ought to savor each day even as we work and play. However, if we don’t prioritize what’s most important, our days fly by and we stand to miss out on many blessings God wishes to give us.
This week, whenever you drink water, think about the most important things in your day. How are you prioritizing your time? Have you put the first things first? Ask the Holy Spirit to inspire your prayer to help you discern how to spend your time.
Sitting at an intersection with my observant and forthright 6 year old went something like this recently:
“Mommy, why aren’t we turning?”
“Because we have to wait for a break in traffic. The cars going across us don’t have a light or stop sign so we have to wait for both sides to be clear so we can turn safely. You didn’t put ‘Get hit by another car’ on your plan for the day, did you?”
“I don’t have plans for today.”
“Really, no plans??”
“Nope, I just wanna have fun.”
Her last statement was said in a very matter-of-fact, no-nonsense tone of voice. Had she been older, the addition of, “Duh Mommy,” would not have been out of place. I had to suppress my laughter as we finally had an opportunity to turn and move on with our day.
From the mouths of babes, am I right? I just wanna have fun — when did we lose this outlook on life? When did it all become plans, tasks, goals, and deadlines? In an adult life, these things have purpose and are in many cases, necessary. But what is their ultimate aim – do they get us through the day, or do they help us enjoy the day?
While visiting my parents, my mom introduced me to her new afternoon coffee drink. She often looks for a little caffeine in the afternoon, as many of us probably do. Usually she turns to tea, but lately she discovered a version of a Korean instant coffee drink (rather than hauling out the mixer, she puts the water, sugar and coffee in a small sealed container and shakes them until foamy. You can’t dollop it on top as the recipe shows, but the effect is pretty similar and still delicious!) She calls it her Afternoon Delight.
I love the choice of word: delight. Delight can be both a verb and a noun, meaning to please someone, or simply a great pleasure. The example of the noun is “the girls squealed with delight.” I love this! You can hear little girls squealing — not laughing, not giggling, squealing really is the right word for the sound that explodes from them when they take great delight in a puppy, a new doll, or the idea of piggyback rides on Daddy.
When is the last time you, “squealed with delight?” The first time I sipped my mom’s new afternoon treat, I didn’t necessarily squeal out loud, but that same feeling bubbled into my smile. It was … delightful! It caused me to think about why I hadn’t felt this feeling in a long time, and challenged me to consider how to allow more delight into my day.
I came up with a list, one that I’m working on adding to, of things that bring me that same feeling of delight.
The coffee drink
Caramel apple dip, especially in the fall
Good quality, soft yarn
My 17-month-old’s smile
As we transition from fall to winter, and from Ordinary Time to Advent, it is a unique time to consider what brings us delight. This burst of energy and glee can make a big difference in an otherwise dull day spent indoors because of bad weather, cold, or in this particular year, Covid-19. Advent is a time of waiting, yes, but we also hear about the delight of Mary and Elizabeth as the children in their wombs leapt for joy upon meeting one another. This moment of delight can inspire us to look out for our own moments of delight. And like Mary and Elizabeth, we ought to savor them, not hurry over them to the next task or plan.
As adults we have plans, we have responsibilities. We cannot, as my daughter wishes, just wanna have fun and expect the laundry to be folded, zoom meetings attended, dinner prepared and the kids in bed on time. We can, however, intentionally seek out little opportunities of delight. These moments are opportunities to deeply feel God’s loving presence within us. We know that God delights in all He made: this includes us. As creatures made in God’s image and likeness, we glimpse a small piece of God’s great delight when we allow ourselves moments like these.
How long has it been since you experienced delight? What is something or someone you can take delight in this week, today even? If you can, make a list of regular or reliable sources of delight and see if you can increase your opportunities to experience them this Advent season.
My husband’s family is part of a movement in the Church called the Focolare. The Focolare is originally an Italian movement, founded by Bl. Chiara Lubich during World War II. Today, it has spread across the globe with more than 2 million members.
The primary aim of the movement is a more united world following the vision of Jesus’ final prayer in the Gospel of John: “that they may all be one” (John 17:21). One of the ways the movement seeks to bring this vision to life is through what is called the “Art of Loving.”
To learn more about the Art of Loving and the Cube of Love, head over to CatholicMom.com