Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ordinary Time

Today is January 19th. In Catholic circles, it's the second Sunday in Ordinary Time.  That really struck me this morning at Mass.  While there is still a potted poinsettia or two in front of the altar, the wreaths are down, the wisemen have come and gone, Jesus has been baptized and there's not a red ribbon to be found.  We have even opened the significantly-delayed-because-we-didn't-see-Uncle-Kyle-at-Christmas gifts.  Even for we Catholics who eek every last moment from the Christmas season, it's over. Life is back to Ordinary Time.

Liturgically, I always feel like this is a boring time.  A holding pattern. A time of nothingness just waiting for the next round of excitement.  We're through Advent, when the Church helps us prepare for the birth of Christ.  We're through the excitement and magic of Christmas.  We're not quite to the penitent time of Lent that leads up to the Resurrection and celebration of Easter. We're just ordinary.  And I've always viewed ordinary as boring...mundane...routine.

This morning, however, as I heard the lector proclaim that this was the second Sunday in Ordinary Time, I recalled something I said to my husband about a week ago.  He had taken time off, we had had our umteenth "Christmas", a concert, special dinners, new toys, stuff we keep kicking farther under the tree rather than finding a permanent home for, excusing again our breech of bedtime/meal time/rest time/school time protocol because it is, after all, Christmas.  We were driving to another event, I was exhausted, but excited, yet I mentioned how I couldn't wait to get back to our "normal" routine.  I was looking forward to some boring time and beyond ready to get things back in order.  I mentioned how the kids were "better" when we had routine and we were past the point of all this excitement.  They thrived and learned and functioned better when things were predictable.  In times of calm order, the children learned more and we could dig deeper into projects because there weren't so many distractions.

That conversation all but hit me upside the head this morning as I heard the lector say, "Welcome to the celebration of the second Sunday in Ordinary Time."  This is the down time when I can really dig in to my faith.  This is the time when I can take on some deep discerning.  Waiting until Lent to become routine in my prayers or penitent in my sacrifices means I've missed the boat.  This is the time to work out new rhythms to my daily prayers and sacrifices.  This is the time to evaluate what I want my year to be. 

This is Ordinary Time.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Sound of Silence

"Silence is the root of our union with God and with one another. In silence we are filled with the energy of God Himself that makes us do all things in joy. The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

 Ahhh, Mother Teresa. So wise were you. So true are your words....especially today. With four children, two dogs and a busy husband, it is rarely silent here. In fact, I had copied the above quote on my phone and was going to shoot it out as a quick Facebook quip along with a witty bit about my newly realized introversion....and then I thought, "The baby is sleeping upstairs and the big kids are in the other room. I'm gonna sit here and write a..." "MOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!" Since then, it's been a word here then a hunt for underwear (they have 82 pairs between them, but today, apparently. they're out), a few "get off me"s and "go sit at the table with your (dutifully homemade, grain free, soaked nuts that you-will-eat-and-love-so-help-me-God!) muffins, with a "I know that's your button on Mommy's computer but please don't touch it right now, Mommy is working!" thrown in for good measure.

But I digress....silence.

I also can't help but wonder if the intentional paragraphing I've done in writing this is even going to show up when I save it. The last several times I've written, it's just come out in one big, uneducated blob. Drives. Me. Crazy.

So, the Mother Teresa quote strikes me on so many levels.

Yoga is all the rage these days and I'm just not into it...for some very intentional reasons...that I'll happily share with you, but not in this entry. However, the breathing and the stretching and the promise of peace is enticing for sure. "In the silence we are filled with the energy of God Himself that makes us do all things in joy." Ahhhhhhhh. As a newly realized introvert, I'm understanding more and more why that speaks to me. I always figured I was an extrovert. I love attention and don't mind speaking in public (though I'd prefer a group of 30 adolescents to a room of 10 adults). I've always been a natural take-charge person and a joiner. But not all that long ago, I read a different view of intro/ had to do, not with preferences, but where you get your energy. My husband, the serious extravert's, feels depressed when we have had people over and they leave. When the last person leaves (and both of us hope it's been a good, long visit...ideally with a bit of a houseful that slowly dwindles to one last person or family), I smile and exhale. He frowns and slumps. He was truly energized by them being in our home....I had to gear up for it. I loved it...but it drained me. I need to carve out some quiet time for myself each day. Maybe it's setting the kids up for lunch and sitting in the other room by myself for a few minutes. Maybe it's sitting for a few moments while Hubby puts the kids to bed.

I'm learning to slow down a little now that I have four kids.  Sometimes it just takes more effort than I can muster to schlep four kids a lot of places. I'm learning that just pushing through until it's finished isn't always the best way to tackle a problem...and lands me with mastitis....

It's kind of scary to uncover new parts of myself, but it's also exciting. Thanks for sharing it with me.