Good Morning L.I.G.H.T. Families & Friends,
After all of the “business stuff” that I’ve been sharing with you for the last few months, I think it is time for another faith reflection to help get us focused for the year ahead. As we prepare to join together for our first L.I.G.H.T. Gathering of the year, I have been thinking about our topic for the upcoming month: Jesus’ Justice and Worship. We have a great program planned that will help us explore how “Just” Worship helps us to maintain our Right Relationship with God. Worship involves spending time with God, in both personal and communal prayer – private prayer time and participation in Mass – and then making the connection between this prayer and our daily lives. Well, wouldn’t you know it, this weekend, I had the topic hit me right between the eyes.
Like all of you - for me, this is a crazy, busy time of the year. Between back to school stuff with the girls, getting Matt off to college, preparing our lives for an upcoming deployment, and gearing up for a new year of L.I.G.H.T., I’m definitely burning the candle at both ends. I thought I was handling it quite well until this weekend when two of important ‘guys’ in my life (my husband and our pastor) looked at me and asked “How are things going? Are you ok?” I thought to myself, well of course, I’m handling it all. It’s going great. Then in the midst of a POW Science birthday party for 8 years-olds, it all came crashing in.
What really happened, was that with all that was going on for me this past Saturday, rushing around with all of my obligations for work and family, I forgot to eat. (I promise you THIS does not happen often J). So a blood-sugar plummet caused me to break out into a cold sweat mid-Mento-volcano eruption! I had to duck out of the party and scoot across the hall in the mall to grab a sandwich at Panera while the kids created slime and explosions galore. But as I was sitting there, in the quiet, munching on a chicken salad sandwich I realized that this low was more than just temporary hunger. It due to the reality that I was in fact running on empty and it finally caught up with me. So, what does this have to do with Worship?
Well, we all know God is our Father and Creator. He knows us, better than we know ourselves and He gave us a gift – a day of rest every week to remind us that we need to take care of ourselves. He asks one special thing of us on this day, and throughout the week – for us to spend time with Him. Spending time with God is the way to keep it all in balance.
Holy Mass allows us the opportunity to gain peace and nourishment for ourselves as part of the community that joins together at the weekend liturgy. It allows us to go forward into our week having experienced the love that God intends for us and bring His peace into the world around us. Personal prayer, spending time in the quiet, allows us to listen to the One who cares for us most. It is here, in this conversation with God, where we can be gentle and honest with ourselves, but also where we can be tough and realistic about where we are at and about where we are going. Without this time, we rush through and eventually, it does come crashing down.
So I listened! (Are those who know me surprised??) Ellie and I came home and I sat on the couch with a blanket. Everyone thought I was sick, they never see me being still. I rested and then tied up a few loose ends as I became determined that the next day would be all about getting myself back on track.
On Sunday, we got up in time to attend the early Mass down the street from our home. Would sleeping in have better served my need to rest? Honestly, I really don’t think so. Surrounded by this community of worshippers (even though it wasn’t you!), I was reminded that I was part of something bigger than myself. It kept my situation in perspective. I was nourished and renewed and ready to ‘Go in Peace.’ Then we headed out to my favorite place in the world – the boat.
Typically, I would bring something to read and immerse myself in it while fun was being had around me. I usually think that being alone with my own thoughts is what will bring me peace, but I realized this weekend that is not necessarily the case. On this day, I decided to bring nothing to distract myself.
Joe and the girls wanted to fish. I don’t fish! But instead of curling up in a corner of the bow, I let myself be present to my family. I took in the peaceful ocean air as the boat rocked to the rhythm of the waves. I ‘trolled’ the boat back and forth while my ‘fisher people’ were hard at work at with their reels. I became impressed that our girly dancer didn’t shrink back at the sight of bait like her mom, but rather grabbed that (icky) piece of squid and baited the hook like a pro. I was amused by my eight year old’s insistence that she KNEW that a fish was on her hook time and time again, even when the rest of us thought she was wrong. (Mind you, she caught the most fish!) I enjoyed watching my girls bond with their Dad and watching my husband relax. I stayed in the present where it was busy, it was not quiet, there was bickering, and it got messy – but in that present, I found the peace that I needed. The peace wasn’t in escaping it all, but being a part of something that was vital.
My ears did not sense the silence, but my heart did as I gained the same type of peace and nourishment from my family on this quick trip to Block Island Sound as I did that morning from my presence at Mass. God was with me there on the ocean, talking to me in the non-quiet silence of my heart. Reminding me of what was important. Helping me know that He would keep me on track if I just trusted Him. That He loves me and wants me to take the time that I need to care for myself, just as I care for those around me.
We all need both kinds of Worship. We need to worship with our community at Mass and we need to find these personal moments with God to keep us on track. Both help to keep us mindful of what is important. And to help us maintain that deep sense of peace and joy that is His gift to us if we let it be. It is only then, when we will be able to do what God has asked of us with our gifts – to share them with the world. To be His hands and help His people share in the joy that we know is ours.
This month at L.I.G.H.T. we will be focusing on Worshipping God and the connection that this has with what happens in our daily lives. I can’t wait to share it with you. Until then, have a great week!