I love Irish Music. When I was in college I was able to go to my first ever Irish Fest in a nearby town and met an amazing band called the Fuchsia Band. Awesome guys!
Anyways, they have a song on their c.d. that goes something like this,
Punctuality is all very proper I know
all the hurry and worry I hate
but it always occurs that wherever I go
I’m exactly ten minutes too late.
Welcome to my life. In America, we put a lot of emphasis on schedules, timetables, deadlines and due dates. These little buggers seem to dictate our lives with their very existence. This is not to say they don’t have their place and purpose. Certainly they do, but there are times that they become our sole focus. We anticipate the coming deadline. Then life turns into something like a word problem found in a math book:
Mom has one hour until she and her three children have to be at a doctor’s appointment fifteen miles away. She plans fifteen minutes to get ready to go for the day. She then adds in another ten minutes to find her keys, cell phone and purse. In the remaining time Mom must wrangle the kids, get their socks, shoes and coats on; prepare a diaper bag, deal with two meltdowns and load the children into their carseats.
Once buckled in, Mom will realize that she cannot find her purse which has the keys and the insurance card in it. After locating the items she rips out of the driveway and onto the road. She is then stopped at by a red light every half mile. The road she normally takes is under construction and she must use a detour that will take her two miles out of her way. Just as she is about to pull into the parking lot she gets stuck behind a city bus unloading passengers.
What are the odds Mom will make it to the appointment on time?
or perhaps a better question:
What fraction of Mom’s sanity will be left in tact?
Like a pregnant woman past her due date our patience dwindles as we encounter failures in meeting our scheduled goals. We want it to work out how we planned. We want things to be on time. We want to be able to look at those frazzled people who come stumbling through the store/school/lobby doors with pity. All with a smile in our hearts that we aren’t in their shoes (today, anyways). But, that’s the thing with life. We are not living on our time, but on God’s time. Everything happens for a reason and has been allowed for our own good.
Life is an obstacle course for us to jump over, dive under, climb up, and fight through. God sets the obstacles. And though we may see them, we have to be able to face them, not just look for a way around them. Like a Tough Mudder run we have to battle through one obstacle knowing that another is just on the horizon. There is one way to finish and that is to complete the obstacles as they are intended to be completed. It is our challenge to not just recognize that which God has set before us but to rise to the occasion. Not to be that person that looks around the sides of an obstacle for an easy out.
Reflection: At the Annunciation, our Blessed Mother encountered the Angel Gabriel. Here she, a virgin, was told she would conceive through the Holy Spirit and bear a son who would be Jesus. This child would be the Messiah, the one prophesied for centuries. The one who was to free Israel from its bondage. The one to fulfill the final promise made to Abraham. The one to establish the everlasting and worldwide kingdom! And she was to bear Him in her holy womb for nine months. Can you imagine her anticipation? What would it have been like if she had been 41 weeks and still waiting to see the face of God? To hold this miraculous and divine child? Do we yearn for Christ’s presence as she would have those nine months? Or do the weeks slip by and we barely notice His presence in our prayers, at Mass or in our homes?
Challenge: What can we do for those who are frazzled by life’s schedules? Can we help them? Do we pray for them as soon as we see them? Even our small quick thoughts can become prayers when we see the poor parents juggling five kids and looking like they haven’t slept all night. Pray for those who are feeling the strain of life’s challenges this week right when you see them—the frazzled parent, the crying toddler, the standoffish teen, the struggling elderly.