Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I Like When God Smacks Me Upside the Head (Are You Living Your Life Like a Saint?)

I didn't really want to go to Religious Education class last night with my kids. Eva asked to stay home and I said, "It's only the 6th class and we already missed one to be with Poppy, which turned out actually instead to be me nursing a horrific dying tooth nerve that night. We can't miss tonight. Sam is doing First Communion in the spring and needs to go to all the classes."

Still, I didn't want to go myself. The past classes had been difficult trying to understand what the Spanish-speaking speakers were talking about when I know maybe a first-grade level of Spanish (we go to a very welcoming church). Our director would try to translate but that became a little disruptive to the Spanish-speakers trying to understand the lecture. I wasn't really looking forward to my brain being on fire more after a tiring day with another tiring day on the way (co-op tomorrow).

We went anyway.

This time my three English-speaking companions and I were taken into a classroom (ironically, the one I taught in last year and had such a hard time because trying to teach kids Religious Ed directly after they've been in school all day was REALLY difficult). A video was put on and I was like, "Oh, I am going to fall asleep."

The video was about saints. And four saints were covered that blew my mind wide open. I sat there taking notes and trying not to bawl like a pre-menopausal baby when Edith Stein's (a Jewish-to-Catholic saint? Shut the front door!) story was told and it turns out she died in a gas chamber.

I wasn't super impressed with The Little Flower even though most Confirmation girls choose her as their saint, and Edith Stein was cool and all that back when it wasn't cool to be a woman. But the two that affected me were Katharine Drexel and Mother Teresa. Drexel was brought up all fancy and then used her $4 million from her parents dying to help Blacks and Native Americans. Talk about philanthropy! Mother Teresa ... what sacrifice!

And you know what I never truly sat and thought about? The fact that these people did not set out to become saints. They were not pious and selfless from the moment of their birth. They all come from different backgrounds and locations. They were not perfect. The Little Flower had to be dragged out of the Pope's pad by guards because she was a teen begging to become a nun and wouldn't give up. I dug that part because it sounds like something that would happen to me when I get an idea in my head and won't let it go!

THEY WERE HUMAN. Sometimes they were annoying and tenacious, but those qualities paired with hard work get stuff done.

The evening left me asking this:

What can I, as the homeschooling mother of 5 and wife of 1 do to make things better in the world? Maybe my calling is raising and educating awesome kids who might go on to do crazy-rockin' things in the world. That thought makes me laugh and feel less-than, as I look at the piles of dishes and laundry and think about how many popsicles I let them eat in the summertime and how we sometimes skip schoolwork for fun outings and how they have too much screen time. Maybe my calling is taking in extra kids when they need a place to just be kids. Maybe my calling is to someday write books that help people beyond getting published in magazines and learning how to make tater tot casserole.

Even if you aren't Catholic, and I was not raised Catholic (or even really Protestant yet I was drawn to it anyway), are you living your life like a saint? I'm not talking about being PERFECT. The saints were never perfect. Some of them have incredibly sordid pasts but turned their lives around and gave up their lives for a more selfless pursuit or two. Are you living your life like a selfish jerk or like a giving, loving, kind, patient, forgiving person?

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