Speed of Life

[ 2 ] April 13, AD 2012 |

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’sMidnight Radio.[/author_info] [/author]

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Category: Columnists, Family

About the Author ()

Jennifer Mazzara has been a Catholic for 26 years, and a blogger for 6. She is a mother of two beautiful little men and shares her daytime with them playing with trains or just watching the world go by outside our door. Her big man is in the United States Marine Corps, and her family's life in the the military couldn't be more blessed. She blogs at Midnight Radio.
  • Bruce in Kansas

    Well-written! Many of us have been where you are; you are not alone. And, what’s even more strange, these are “the good old days” you’ll look back on!

  • Anonymous Catholic Mom

    I started responses 2 or 3 times and each of them sounded like a cranky old woman saying “You think you got problems now? Oh just you wait !” and that is both disrespectful and dismissive of the valid adult experiences you are having (and learning from) now.

    I was also a young Marine Corps wife once-upon-a-time and I specifically remember the house-hunting trip we took when the second child was a new baby. I had to give up my job to move and I felt fat and we were readjusting to life together after a deployment. I remember stopping at a Denny’s and trying to juggle the 2 little boys pre-meal while husband read a newspaper completely disengaged from the familial process at hand. I asked him for help whereupon he put his paper down, smacked the older child for misbehaving and picked the paper back up – having made my task all the harder. His parenting has improved a lot since then and he now teaches that same son to be a father to his own little boy.

    Honestly, I dont feel as much filled with wisdom as I do a bit of envy. I wish I could return to a time when I really believed that no matter what our family would still exist, life would still be beautiful, and I would still be loved. At times in our marriage, my husband has dropped the various bombs of “on our wedding day I was so reluctant to actually get married that my consent wasn’t valid therefore we are not sacramentally married” to “I don’t love you, I never did and I want a divorce because you have been a very bad wife” ( I’ve ben a devoted and true wife), “Im not moving away without you, Im just taking a job 3000 miles away, but I will still visit you and the kids, but we need not discuss this, I’ve made my decision” to “you were not a gift from God, she was. If the Church would only let me marry her instead then I could be happy”.

    It is hard to find a way to navigate the politics of toothpaste lids and who takes out the trash if there is not a shared foundation of what it was that was entered to in the first place. I would have once liked to have entered into a dispute with him over minutiae knowing that he valued our union as much as I did – I feel like it would have given me a completely different outlook.

    But God can make all things new again…during the time after he moved away, God used the brokenness as an opportunity to teach and heal. After 22ish years of hearing things like above (25 years married) he has now turned a corner and finally values me the way I wanted to be valued as a new bride. When I think of myself as that new bride, Im sad for all she was headed into. For anyone who might see me now, I look well tended and without a care …I have material luxuries I could only have dreamed of back then and it would be easy to mistake me for a spoiled brat of a middle aged woman, but I would trade all my luxuries now to have had a history of love and respect and kindness. Even forgiveness and love and rebuilding can never erase the memory of your spouse throwing you under a (metaphorical) bus. May you never know that feeling.

    Keep up the good work, your spiritual habits will create a strong place to deal with whatever trouble it is that you will face. Im proud to have you in the sisterhood, Semper Fi.