Skip to main content

A successful spiritual life

Woody Allen once said,  "Eighty percent of success is showing up."  You can apply the same thought to much in life.  We show up at funerals, baby showers, weddings, family barbecues - and it counts that we simply are there.

Is this true of one's spiritual life as well?

Last Sunday, I was at Mass, and trying desperately not to break down in tears.  The whole situation with my daughter - her being missing for two days, the sexual assault that took place - and the aftermath that required me to try to balance work with her almost overwhelming needs and being present for her as she tries to collect the pieces of sanity she tentatively had a hold on, has taken a toll.  And for me, part of this toll is the inability to really pray, and finding Mass to be incredibly difficult.

I'm angry.  Since I can't be angry at the people responsible for this great evil (they have not - yet- been found), I'm angry at God.  He's a big God -  he can take.  I know He's not responsible, but there you go. What's a mother to do?

And thus I found myself, last Sunday, not listening to the sermon, but counting the bricks behind the altar.  Over and over, just so that I wouldn't cry.  I was "there", physically present - I'd showed up, but I sure wasn't "present" or paying much attention.  Did my just showing up "count"?

I haven't stopped praying or attending Mass, but it is a struggle to read every word, respond to prayers at Mass, sing a hymn.  It is as if my throat were clogged with the ashes heaped upon our family this Lent.  I pray, but not without tremendous struggle, and with very little conviction.

But I keep showing up.

And yes, I do think it "counts".  I believe that God understands the heartbreak a mother feels, the disbelief that such horror could be visited upon a child, the exhaustion that has set in and taken hold of my very soul.  He knows that the only way I can get through a sermon right now is by counting bricks, and His hand rests upon my shoulder as I do it.

One day I will wake up and I'll be able to do more than just show up, but for now, showing up will have to do.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Trauma Mama

Dear Husband and I both enjoy certain medical shows, such as "ER" and "Code Black." ("St. Elsewhere" was another fave!) These shows revolve around trauma: humans who'd been ambushed by life: a car accident, a fire, and abuse, as examples.

More often than not, these shows also highlight the trauma the doctors and nurses needed to deal with. Having a patient die is always offensive to a doctor: they are charged with saving lives and losing one is the ultimate failure. Nurses spend more time with patients, and can forge strong bonds with people that may be in their lives for just a few days.

But trauma doesn't always look like a bloody body being wheeled into an emergency room, or a house surrounded by fire trucks and police cars. Trauma comes in many forms.

According to one website, trauma can look like surgery. It can look like moving. Trauma can be losing a beloved spouse or more horrifying, a child. Trauma can also be chronic pain, loneliness, m…

Be Brave

A few years ago, it came to my attention that a young family member was struggling with anxiety and depression. I was able to share with her a bit of my own struggles, and let her know she wasn't alone.

A few weeks after our talk, I saw the movie, "Brave." It struck me that the young protagonist, Merida, modeled a great quality. She was indeed brave.

Being brave is not about recklessness. It is not about confidence. It's not about being foolish, or looking for glory in the eyes of others.

Bravery is about doing what is right, even when you are a quivering mess. It's about knowing that things may not turn out the way you expected, but forging ahead anyway. Being brave is standing by the hospital bed while a loved one is dying, and all you really want to do is turn back time. Bravery is standing up to a bully, when your legs are screaming for you to run. Brave is doing what needs to be done even when you're scared and tired and feeling helpless and hopeless.

I …