Monday, May 29, 2017

Finding Peace in Chaos: Summer Survival 2017

I was having a hard time keeping my thoughts straight, hovering somewhere between "yeah I am fine" and "ah man I am loosing it". Two separate viruses had hit our normally healthy home in the last 6 weeks. Couple those with a jumbled up schedule packed with extras like sacraments and recitals and tryouts and house hunting all as we finished off the school year. It wasn't that we had so much more going on that normal. Being released from sports practices for a few weeks gave me much more than a few extra hours in the day. No, it was the complete lack of predictability that caused the unease. 

There are seasons in life where structure and planning and purposeful living comes easier. Then there are seasons like this.  

I was leaping into summer without any vacation plans in ink, without a master calendar dotted with ideas to structure out days, without team commitments for my three club athletes, crossing my fingers that my healthy ones would stay healthy and the sick ones would get better already. Oh and we quite literally did not know where we would call home the next month. 

I am a hyper-planner. I think I was blessed with a charism of administration. Scheduling the lives of the little and big people under my roof really brings me joy. And riding through a harried spring into a more laid back time of triple digit temperatures should be refreshing and instill feeling of relaxation. So why did I find myself living instead with a sense of dread? 

During Lent I had developed a beautiful practice of rising early to work through my BIS Lent journal. I am not a journalist by nature, but the concrete daily time for me to get grounding with God was life giving. But it is hard to drag oneself out of bed early. Having a Lenten promise to do so was the only reason I persisted. Plus I didn't want to get behind in the book. The perpetual student in me wouldn't allow for that. 

But Lent ended and the Easter season brought with it joy and celebration and the sacrifice of getting up early... well it was easy to give that up. I had an Easter season book study to do. On my nightstand, on the counter, in the car. It didn't matter where I put it. I wasn't getting done. I was sleeping a little later, checking in with social media, glancing over my email and getting the daily readings, making my coffee and going about my day. But it wasn't Lent anymore so why should I sacrifice sleep?

Gone was the time to just sit with God. 
Holy Spirit come. That was the simple prayer I would utter before opening my Lent journal. Holy Spirit come. So simple and so easy, and those were the first words each day. 

Today I woke up and instead of checking the feeds or opening my email even, I listen to God. I asked Him to give me peace.

Peace doesn't come from the schedule, or the plans, or the organization and structure of the day. Peace comes from God. He will provide peace in the days of uncertainty. But our God is a gentleman God. He doesn't force himself into our lives. He loves us from afar in those times when we keep Him at a distance. When we invite Him in closer he comes equipped with all the graces we need, ready to rekindle the holy gifts he has given us in baptism and confirmation. 

In Matthew 11 Jesus tell us 

"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest." 

He invites us to come to Him. He offers rest, but in the next line he offers so much more...

 "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves."

He doesn't say he is going to take away our problems. He says He is going to teach us and give us rest. 

I don't want God to take away my problems- my problems are good problems. Having many hearts to love and many mouths to feed and many talents to nurture in my little ones is a joyful problem. I need him to teach me how to enter into the fullness of life without feeling weary or burdened. I need to learn how to have faith and trust so deep that uncertain and shifting schedules don't keep me up with worry at night. I need to have confidence that my children will grow through their physical suffering and if they all end up getting sick so be it. 

"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light". 

The load is still there because that is life in this world. 

When we take our uncertainty, the frustrations, the worries, the sadness,whatever we have weighting down our hearts and we cast that upon the yoke of the Lord, the load is made manageable. 

I still don't know where we will be living when the next season begins. I don't know what the summer will bring. But for me, putting on His yoke each morning means starting each day with an invitation to God.

Come Holy Spirit Come. 

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