Monday, March 07, 2011

Construction Begins

Our neighborhood is going through a huge project which is taking several years to complete. They dig up half the street, lower it about 4 feet, dig out the ditches in our front yards, widen the street, and give us curbs. Our street will be one of the last ones completed.

Today some of the early stages of construction began in our front yard. They were digging up phone lines in each front yard. Excavators and workers were everywhere. It will still be many months before our street undergoes the big transformation, but today I got that sense that the journey is beginning.

I left my house twice this afternoon and both times had a kind man directing me with a whistle and flag on how to pull out of my own driveway. It was an odd feeling, having a stranger show me how to do something that I do every day. And the hole! It was probably 10-12 feet deep and was fascinating for the kids but gave me an uneasy feeling. I was thinking of all the workers who will be in our yard and around our house in the coming months.

But just as the work has to be done in our neighborhood to beautify our streets and hopefully lessen the drainage and flooding issues, so too does work need to be done in my own heart this Lent. Construction must begin.

Each Lent I feel like our family is undergoing some trial or some experience that in itself feels like my Lenten sacrifice. This year is no different. We’re undergoing some adjustments this month as Steven’s workload has multiplied exponentially and we are seeing him hardly at all. His hours have been long with every job, but “long” hours have never entailed working 7 days a week!

I’m also grieving the loss of my friend’s precious little boy. Tomorrow morning is the funeral. I decided to ask my parents to watch the 3 older kids while I attend with Thomas. It will be a tangible experience of grief for me to get through, which I know my heart needs. I’ve been following Sarah’s blogs about Cooper for several years after knowing her in high school and college. Talk about a roller coaster ride in dealing with a child’s health issues! What an amazing child and dedicated family to go through such difficult hardships with such great hope. They really are an inspiration and I look forward to honoring Cooper’s life tomorrow.

Aside from the daily challenges of work, family life, friends, grief, and homeschooling, there are the spiritual issues that my own heart faces each day. Learning to give my own will up to God, find joy in the sufferings, persevere in my vocation…it’s a daily struggle, really a lifetime struggle to love God and know him and serve him through this family he has given me.

Completing our First Holy Communion preparation with Mary Clare is going to be a beautiful part of this Lenten season. So much of what we’re learning together is the basis for what my own spiritual life should be about…loving God and neighbor, being obedient, asking for forgiveness often, and desiring that gift that Christ so graciously gives us in the Eucharist, Himself. Oh how I can’t wait to watch her experience that sweet first taste of Heaven in the very flesh of Jesus!

My own flesh is so, so weak. Every day a battle rages between my will and his. In the beautiful allegorical chapter book we’re reading together, The King of the Golden City, the author uses a character called “Self” to represent our own will that we fight against. When we give in a little, in maybe something that doesn’t really matter, it becomes easier and easier to say yes to “Self” in the bigger things.

The main character, a little girl called Dilecta, is awaiting the visits of the Prince, just as we await Christ’s coming to us in the Eucharist. I pray that Mary Clare and I, and really our whole family, can practice saying NO to Self this Lent so that our souls will be cleaned and ready to receive Our Lord in a deeper way this Easter.

The construction also happens as Christ digs up and tears away things in my life that I think I need for my happiness. Little children and workers are going to be running all over. There will be popcorn kernels on the carpet, a wet bed, a leaking sink, missing shoes, a husband rarely seen during daylight hours, and a dug-up front yard. How I choose to accept these “gifts” of love from him is what shows who I really am.

Do I love him for the good that he gives me, or do I love him for the challenges too, the things that make me cling to him? Does the chaos bring about frustration or does it draw me closer to Christ who gives me all these little blessings and little opportunities to say YES to him? Can I serve my family with a happy heart? Can I be content amidst the construction and chaos knowing that beauty and Easter are around the corner?

Construction begins. Whether I like it or not. Thanks for following my journey.

119. an amazing book, Unplanned, that really spoke to me, and a dear friend who lent it to me
120. friends who serve God by being a voice for the unborn
121. this “victory” for life that allows us all to see God’s hand working slowly through the 40 Days and Stand & Pray ministries
122. the life of a little boy who never did anything great, but love and suffer, but who showed us all how to do that with grace and hope and dignity
123. a little homework sacrifice done for this dying boy
124. grandparents who put up with the chaos
125. neighbors of grandparents who are making it through, even after the loss of their son in December
126. friends and family who offer prayers and encouragement in hard times
127. the chance to rely on Him alone for my daily needs
128. Holy Mass in the cryroom with some beautiful triplet girls and a brand new adopted baby girl
129. children who miss me while I’m gone
130. picking up brother’s bead mess without being asked
131. vacuuming not done by me
132. the knowledge that my home will be cleaned on Thursday
133. Walmart with 2 sleeping boys
134. double doozies at Cookie Company
135. receiving thanks from friends for some very little thing
136. the grace to say NO to one activity, and the acceptance by the child who so wanted to participate
137. friends who reached out to a suffering soul in great need
138. First Communion dresses
139. silly brother in dressing room, no rhyme or reason to his antics
140. “I pooped on the floor but I put it in the trash can!” Oh, the laughs that boy brings us!

Thank you God for all these gifts, and for the work you are always doing in my soul.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Blair, I am new to 1000 blessings. Obviously, I don't have the time to read each bloggers blessings so I am going to ask God to speak to me through the one blogger before me and the one after me. He has blessed me with both this week (no suprise there).
Can I serve my family with a happy heart? So much about your post spoke to my heart but I have had a bad martyrs heart as of late and it brings out the most unChristlike attributes in me. This sentence was a reminder of why I serve. Thank you for this beautiful post. I'll pray for you to find peace in the construction. Nice to meet you. Patty

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