Life is Worth Living

“Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled…”

“Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

This is from the Gospel of Luke 10:41-42.

It was not the Gospel reading this weekend, but I kept thinking about it. For you see, usually on Saturday–after my cleaning is done–I glance at my missal and scribble down the Introit Psalm, the Epistle, and the Gospel for Sunday, and sneak out the door for a Holy Hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

I like this hour of quiet, and when my mind begins to wander, I open up my Douay-Rheims Pocket Psalms and New Testament and pray the next day’s readings, in preparation for Sunday Mass.

Well, I lost the paper where I had written them down. So, yesterday I guessed and ended up in Luke 10. (I was only 3 chapters off.)

And I read, and reread the verse above, for I am such a Martha–careful and troubled about many things. Things that are secondary. Things that should be set aside. Things that should be cast into hell, as a waste of my time.

For example, I wonder about this blog. Am I wasting my time? Am I wasting your time? Surely there are better things to read on the internet, if one should even bother with the internet.

Furthermore, I never can quite say what I want to say. Even now. I’d like to tell you to step out of the Rat Race of the World, but here I am, in the middle of it, online.

I’d like to tell you to quit comparing yourself to other families and to just put First Things First. Go to Confession. Pack a picnic lunch with a bottle of Flat Top Rose, invite another family, and spend a few hours on the grass.

Throw away your Wendell Berry novel that promotes breaking the Ninth Commandment and read some Hilaire Belloc poetry or his The Path to Rome or his The Cruise of the Nona. (I finally secured a copy–it’s ridiculously hard to find–and chuckled endlessly at his dedication. I haven’t finished the book yet.)

Do you have little girls? Let them haul their baby dolls everywhere.

My sons found some nasty, white maggots the other day. Do you know what they decided to do with them? Put them in a jar with a slice of cheese to observe them. Those slimy things wormed right into the cheese and then formed a cocoon-like shell, which darkened after a few days. Then, more days later, a fly emerged. So revolting and yet, fascinating.

Do I have a point for that story? Nope.

Is there a point for this blog post? I’m not sure, and I apologize for wasting your time.

Life is Worth Living

Ramshackle Vans – The God of Majesty Hath Thundered!

I was rolling my 15-passenger Ford E-350 “Sweet Ride” into the parking lot of a grocery store the other day, with all my seven children, when I thought, I love my job.

Here I am, on a lovely summer day, just picking up a few necessities–wine, beer, cheese, and olives–on my way to a friend’s house for iced coffee and a chat on her shady deck. I was looking forward to our boys shooting each other with laser guns, our girls braiding each other’s hair, and the babies toddling in the grass.

Motherhood is glorious, and God is good.

Back to the grocery store and my van… I left the children in the van listening to The House on Pooh Corner and ran in and then out with my necessities. By the time I returned, the van had up and died. It wouldn’t even turn over.

Ah, well. I had a choice at this point. I could cry and lament my bad luck or I could laugh it off and call my husband at work. I chose the latter.

Since it was hot out, I had firstly to remove all the children from the sweltering van and direct them to some grass by the highway. They weren’t thrilled about this, but they did dutifully stand there and pray to St. Joseph for the van to somehow miraculously start, for they desperately wanted to play with their friends.

While on the phone with my husband, he wanted me to try to fix it myself. Right! I know nothing about vehicles, let alone crippled, 15-passengers vans. I did figure out how to open the hood, however, and I was proud of myself for this feat. Then he had me find the battery, which I also located, I think.

Things quickly turned downhill when he next directed me to find a special tool that he kept in the side door of the van and wanted me to adjust some bolt or other on the battery. Or at least I think it was on the battery. I’m not sure, for I never did find the tool or understand what in the world he meant.

Nothing would do, but that he would have to come. In the meantime, I called my friend, who thankfully lived nearby and asked if she might come get the children? Of course. This bit of information quickly lifted the morale of the children, and indeed, they were speedily rescued, packed in, and whisked away in her sleek minivan to summer bliss and frivolity with nary a care.

I alone remained, standing in the shade of our forsaken van, contemplating my plight.

I stared at the car next to me. In it sat a shaggy-looking man smoking his cigs. He watched the whole show and never once offered his assistance. A kind old woman did offer hers, however. May God bless her kindness. I waved her on.

The sweat trickled down my neck. I thought about cracking a beer, for this is the state of Wisconsin after all, but I didn’t want to open the cooler for fear of warming those precious cheeses.

I watched a giant motorhome amble into the parking lot. I scratched a mosquito bite.

Then I remembered my tiny Pocket Psalms. I reached into my purse and randomly opened to Psalm 28 and read it aloud to the passing clouds.

In due time, the Man of My Dreams appeared. He immediately located the mysterious tool–a wrench apparently–and proceeded to wiggle things around. He loosened and tightened this and that. Then, he got out the jumper cables and saved the day.

My Husband, bless his soul!

The van roared to a start, and Psalm 28 rang in my ears, the God of majesty hath thundered!

I sweetly thanked my Knight in Shining Armor and drove straight to my friend’s house for a peaceful afternoon.