I had a minor nervous breakdown last week, as I sat at the kitchen table and tried to read e mails. E mails that contained upcoming schedules. Schedules for cheer practice, football practice, Religious Ed classes, and various ministry deadlines and events. Now, if I were Padre Pio and able to bi-locate, or even Elasta-girl from The Incredibles, I might not have broken down in tears. But I am no Saint, and I am no super hero. I am just me. Mom. Wife. Catechist. Ministry Coordinator. Tortilla chip fanatic. And I have to say, the calendar set before me just seems impossible.
Let's take Monday for instance.
Kids will come home from school, only they won't really come home. They will get off of the bus, see their home, then hop into the car. I will throw something at them that resembles a nutritious snack. Which is a lie. They will get chips and cookies and if they are lucky, a bottle of water. Together, we will go to Religious Ed class. Luke will run through the parking lot like a rabid raccoon, and by the grace of God not get hit by the angry mothers who find Religious Ed a total inconvenience, and make his way to his class. I am Annie's teacher, so we will go to class together. After class we will get back in the car, and quickly head to the high school, and pick up the two teens-one from football practice, the other from her art class in New Haven. Keep in mind, I do not expect either one of them to be out on time, but if I think about that right now, my head might spin off. From there we will drive back home, where we will grab something that resembles dinner, that clearly I had to make ahead of time, and now I will leave most of the kids home to take care of themselves, while I drive Annie to cheer practice.
Cheer gets out at 9pm.
And no homework has yet to be done.
This is Monday.
A fine way to begin the week, don't you think?
And so I really prayed about this. Well, after I cried, and complained to everyone I saw about how busy I am...then I prayed. Should I home school Religious Ed? Do we quit cheer? Do I move to Africa? Do I cut my hair shorter? Which, yeah, I know, the hair makes no sense, but this is what happens to my brain when it gets overwhelmed. I mean, really, what are my options? And then God stepped in, as He always does, because He is the ultimate rock star and always comes to my rescue. I was at daily Mass, seriously considering telling the Religious Ed Staff that I would be unable to teach this year, when out of the corner of my eye I saw Evan. Evan was in my 5th grade class last year. He is a great kid, with a beautiful faith, and as he made his way back up the aisle from Holy Communion, his eyes caught mine, and his sweet face broke out into the biggest, best smile you have ever seen. He waved. I waved back. And a wave of love and light swept over me. The question burned in flames above my head....How could I not teach?
We are all busy. But we all get the same amount of hours in the day. And I don't think that my problem is not enough time, but rather, how I choose to spend my time. I do not want to force my daughter to quit a sport (yes, cheer is a sport) that she enjoys and works hard at, nor do I want to give up teaching children about their faith. And sure, I can teach another day, but those days are actually busier than Monday. Monday is my day of rest! When discussing this with another football mom the other day, her response was, "Oh well, yeah, we had to cut out religious ed all together. I mean, who can get there by 4pm, that is ridiculous. It was too much. Something had to go."
Something had to go.
This made me sad.
It still makes me sad.
Because I am convinced that life is not going to get any slower. It just keeps moving faster and faster. Kids are pulled in a million directions, and parents have to split up and play tag team, just to get the kids where they need to be.
We say we do it for the kids.
We say we do it because they love it.
But what does this say about us?
Where we stand?
Something had to go.
Sunday is far from a day of rest.
Sunday is the day our entire town worships sports.
And it hit me like a ton of bricks.
If we could just live out our God given lives the way He planned...with Sunday as a day of rest, I wouldn't have this problem!
Sports would be on Saturday, and my kids and I could go to religious ed on Sunday, after Mass, like we are supposed to.
We are rewriting our lives to fit our own desires, and I have to be honest...it is not working out so great.
My son has a Mormon friend, who quit the High School football team because games were on Sunday.
I have yet to meet a Catholic in my town with that kind of faith.
And I would consider becoming Mormon, if they allowed coffee and wine, and well, also if they realized that the Catholic faith is the truth. So yeah. Becoming Mormon is not really an option.
But I will tell ya...this is a holy discontent that is starting to rise in me, and I am feeling like I might have to take a stand.
My kids should not have to choose between God and sports, because without God, there would be no sports.
God comes first.
So we will take each day as it comes, minute by minute, and do our best.
Dinner will go in a crock pot at the crack of dawn, and I will pray extra hard for patience, and sanity.
After the woman told me "religious ed had to go", I took a moment and called out to the Holy Spirit for the right words...because the words that came to my mind were totally not appropriate for the Holy Spirit. And finally I said, "Yeah, well, no Religious Ed is not an option for me. For starters, I am a Catechist. And I love it. And really, it would be foolish of me to remove God and learning the faith from our day, when you consider that HE is the only thing that gives me the strength to get through my day in the first place." After a pause, the woman dropped to her knees, begged for God's Mercy and asked if I would take her to Church.
She drove away.
But I mean, really? What kind of message are we sending our children when we are okay signing them up for teams that travel, and spending hours on a Sunday morning sitting on the side lines of some field, but we quit our Religious Education because we are just too busy?
I want my Sunday back.
And I want this world to get its priorities straight.
You can't remove God, and do everything else, because God IS everything, and that is all there is to it.
"Decide today whom you will serve...As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." -Joshua 24