So, today I had an epiphany while cleaning for houseguests who will be arriving shortly to our home. I’ve been very excited to welcome our guests who are very dear to us – and who are bringing their precious baby girl for me to hold and love on.
However, I have put off – as LONG as I could! – the cleaning and preparation of where they will be staying in my son’s area in our home (he’s away at college) and who left quite a lovely mess (granted, upstairs and out of site) with promises to take care of it when he got home. Yeah, that’s gonna happen…:)
We seem to have different standards of “clean”, apparently. I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to refresh and restore this area of my home – embarrassing, truly! It’s just that…well…I knew what was awaiting me, and frankly, I didn’t want to do it! If any of you have raised a male child whose idea of clean differs vastly from yours….well, I’ll just leave to your imagination that which I was facing today. I’m thinking of Pig Pen from Charlie Brown….and dating myself in the process:)
While I was cleaning, I became more and more irritated, and was imagining all sorts of scenarios of what I was going to tell him when he returns home. I was really going to town in my own mind telling him exactly what I thought about him leaving this mess for me to clean. Things like “Have you lost your mind?”, and “I don’t have time for this!”; “How dare he leave such a mess for his mama to clean?”, and on, and on, and on. I know…a little embarrassing to admit given how often I preach humility, humility, humility.
Not too long into my cleaning frenzy, I had a surprising awakening in my heart and mind. I suddenly realized how prideful and ungrateful I was behaving when I’ve been given the greatest gift in having my prodigal son returned to me through his conversion back to Our Lord, when I’ve been given a beautiful home to take care of for my family, and so many other gifts and graces…..and here I am whining about how gross his area of our home is and the fact that I have to clean it to receive people who love us and whom we love. POOR me, right? And, how SO not humble of me!!! Our Lady would never, ever behave in this manner, so what was I DOING?
I began to think about mothers who have lost their children, and pondered upon what those mothers would do or endure just to have a moment back with their child. It brought tears to my eyes. I feel certain any of these mothers would trade places with me in a split second and clean anything if only to have her baby back, even for a moment. How heartless of me? Granted, it was unintentional, however, the result is the same. How blessed am I that my child has been returned to me by the grace of God! And what was I offering in return?
Very quickly, I reconciled myself with my Lord asking forgiveness for my pride and ingratitude, and thanked Him for His Mercy and Love, for the delight of my now-adult children, and for the gift of being able to clean and freshen this area of my home to receive my guests this weekend, and also to receive into my arms my boy (and my beautiful youngest daughter) who will soon be home from college. I began offering prayers for all mothers who lost their children, or who are separated from their children in any way, offering up my ordinary work as a small, but loving sacrifice for these beautiful women and their children. Being Catholic, one of the things I have embraced wholly is the gift of redemptive suffering, and utilizing all my joys and sufferings – anything I can offer – for souls in need and for special intentions. Once the Holy Spirit got my attention, and I realized the path I was treading downward upon, and remembered my call to offer love and sacrifice for my brothers and sisters in Christ (even our ordinary work counts!) – amazingly, my irritation swiftly left and joy returned – it was awesome!
I am so grateful to get a knock on the head and a whack at my pride today from the Lord. I really needed that reminder and gentle nudge to “get over myself”. And, I’m really excited at how clean and lovely everything is looking for our guests.
And, not to worry…I will indeed be chatting with my son about his responsibilities for his space in our home when he arrives home from college:) But, thanks to my lesson from the Holy Spirit today, the conversation will be much more merciful and loving.
Jesus, I trust in You.