That’s a catchy, clever little phrase. “The speed of life.” David Bowie used it for a song. I think there was a movie. I don’t have a particularly strong grasp of reality at the moment, though. Writing coherently has slipped way, way down on my list of priorities–right after things like ‘wax the cat’ and ‘alphabetize M&Ms’–and so has my motivation for keeping up on what’s new, what’s interesting, what’s good, what’s true, what’s beautiful. I’m just surviving. It’s been a busy month.
I have a really cute little month-old baby (happy birthday!). That’s him in the picture. I also have a dear darling toddler, who learned how to open doors about a month ago. The neighbor brought him back home, so it’s all ok. I also have a dear darling husband, who took time off from work so that we could travel north and bond over the awful ordeal that is buying a home. They’re all here next to me, snoring away in the hotel bed. They’re all sick. At the risk of sounding blasphemous, I’ve given serious thought over the last couple of days as to whether Divine Providence can, in fact, “pile on” or if that’s only something humans do. Surgery incision acting up? Of course! Paperwork for money messed up? Naturally! Ten days in a hotel with no internet and a major school assignment due? Yes! Insomina? Bring it on. Plans fail to visit with my mom? Affirmative. Ran out of wipes? Check. Wrong size diaper? Check. Gas costs over $4.00 and we’re still 300 miles from home? You bet. Brought one dress shoe each from two different pairs? I could go on and on.
The solution to this problem is pretty simple. I put my head down and charge through, getting irritated often and falling asleep at meals during the moments when everyone under the age of 3 is behaving well. I keep my head above water, sometimes realizing that my life is actually pretty beautiful and the little problems are, well, little. Vitamins get forgotten, the extra readings for class are ignored, the car is a filthy disaster zone, and my son hasn’t eating anything other than pancakes and apple slices in about a week. I do the bare minimum, which at this point is get dressed every day and try to remember that I can, in fact, nurse the baby to get him to stop crying.
This morning, when I sat down to write, I seriously considered just posting a cute picture of the new baby and saying, “Look! I’m busy! Isn’t he cute? Ttyl!” It’s fun to complain about one’s tough life, though, so once I got started I didn’t stop. I listed all my problems, all my complaints, all the millions of ways that things could be easier if only “someone else” could get their act together. I wanted to be noticed for my sacrifices, viewed as the total heroine that I feel like. As I wrote, I saw a connection between “life” and “Life” and decided that could be my point for this post. So I deleted all the nonsense about how cool I am and this is what you’re left with–a really good example of what a sleep-deprived, highly distracted, B-grade writer comes up with when up against a soft deadline but feeling so guilty about missing her last post that she’s writing something anyway even though it probably isn’t very good.
Keeping your head above water is sometimes all you can do. Your family will still exist, life will still be beautiful, and you are still loved. It doesn’t matter that things are a mess, everything is misplaced, and you feel exhausted (and fat, and useless, and frumpy, and milky, and exhausted, and fat). You are living your life. The same thing, at least for me, can sometimes be said of the spiritual Life. So what if you only made it to Easter Sunday mass, out of the entire Holy Week extravaganza? So what if you make it to confession only once a month (or, uh, less) and can only come up with “I’m a really bad person.” So what if you’ve said the same decade of the rosary ten times in the last week, because you keep distracting yourself and forgetting how far you got? You’re praying, you’re penitent, and you’re approaching Christ in the Eucharist. You’re trying. Your head is above water.
A priest friend of mine once said “fake it ’till you make it,” meaning keep up with habits of spirituality even when they seem pointless or you don’t “feel” like it. Right now, my physical life is merely keeping up old habits of hygiene and other civilized behaviors–a kind of inertia that makes sure I don’t wander down to the continental breakfast in my nightgown. Admittedly, it’s a pretty low ebb, but it is still life and I’m still living it. Spiritual life sometimes reaches those low ebbs, ebbs which feel so lazy that it sounds pretentious to call them “dryness.” One day organization and peace and serenity will come and you’ll finish the rosary the first time, or make a really good examination of conscience in the confession line instead of at home a week earlier.
Jesus knows all about the speed of life. He’s there for you, even if all you do is shower and make it to the couch.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Joseph-and-Jennifer-Mazzara-e1313150981219.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Joseph and Jennifer Mazzara are a young, married Catholic couple. Meeting at Christendom College, they wed soon after graduating in 2008. God has blessed them with two sons! Jennifer now raises them, teaches piano and runs the local chapel’s RCIA program. Joseph joined the Marines. Their websites are The Three B’s, Midnight Radio.[/author_info] [/author]