Wednesday, February 25, 2009
in mysterious ways. I was running late getting off work so i knew i wouldn't be making it to the Mass for Ash Wednesday. Had just enough time to get dinner made and take my daughter to to help out at the Wednesday night CCD. The place was super packed - people standing out the door not able to fit into the church that's how crowded it was. It might have helped if they had scheduled a second Spanish Mass but since this was the only one the whole world seemed to be there. So after dropping my daughter off I drive back home - as usual I'm going a bit fast and almost missed seeing a little old lady sitting on the edge almost of her driveway and waving frantically. I quickly stopped and rolled down my window to ask if she needed help and turns out she had fallen while taking out the trash into that sitting position and couldn't get herself up. Lord only knows how long she had been sitting out there hoping someone would come by and help her. I kept picturing my own mother who also lives alone and although there are many helpful neighbors around, if none of them happen to go outside she could be stuck for hours in a bad situation. I helped her up and got her standing and she mentioned she still had another trash bag to take to the curb. Once I knew she was steady on her feet I left her in the driveway and went and got her other trash bag and took it to the curb. She appeared to be living all alone as well. Her little pomeranian dog came to the garage door and yapped at me but wouldn't go any farther - some help he would have been. Couldn't bark loud enough for even the neighbors to hear. I knew God had directed me down that street to help her as I usually go home a different way. I know many people have helped my mom out when she was in a bind and I was glad I could pay it forward to someone else and this lady was not seriously hurt thank goodness. If I couldn't be in Mass tonight I'm glad I was able to be in his service by helping out a neighbor.
Most people’s children leave the nest when they turn 18. Some leave for college or travel the world and others just to be in their own place. I constantly read or hear about so many mothers upset about empty nest syndrome – feeling their lives now have no meaning and they have nothing to do since their children are gone. I envy those women with empty nests! My youngest will be graduating from high school this year and just like her older brother and sister – she will not be leaving to go off on her own. The same as it was for me and my two sisters – however unlike my mother who did not want us to leave and did everything to prevent it – I DO want my children to go out and spread their wings. Alas the economy among other things has kept them at home while they work and go to school. Grandma (my mom) is no help either constantly telling them they don’t need to go off into a dangerous world and should stay home until they marry, etc. as is the tradition in our culture. And while most moms would probably be thrilled to still have her “babies” at home – I am not. Having married young (19) to get out of the house and had children young (21) at the insistence of my husband, I was looking forward to some ME time and trying to improve the relationship with my husband and having some fun. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE my children but what once was a perfect house for a mom, dad and three small children is definitely not the case now that we are five adults. And to make it even worse we only have 1 ½ baths with the main bath only accessible from our bedroom! With everyone working odd hours and needing to take showers also at odd hours – needless to say it ruins the mood. And again the economy doesn't help making buying a bigger house out of the question right now. I long for the day when I can stay in my PJs all day Saturday….watch an R rated movie without feeling uncomfortable if the kids walk in during a sex scene….be spontaneous in the bedroom, living or kitchen for that matter….a whole day of uninterrupted work on any one of my many hobbies…be able to take off on a moment’s notice for a three-day fun-in-the-sun weekend. There is so much to do and see out in the world that I not only long for the day I have an empty nest but for the day I can retire from work to devote more time to experience everything. A great article in the New York Times sums it up best - http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/20/health/20well.html?em.
Not having had a very good Catholic upbringing I’m not sure what we should be doing on this day other than going to Mass, getting ashes on our forehead and not eating beef or chicken. The reason I say I didn’t have a good Catholic upbringing was because yes we went through all the obligatory motions of going to Mass every Sunday, participating in the various events at Church and attending CCD (Sunday school) but I never knew the why of a lot of our rituals and traditions and I never asked. This is what my parents said we did and we obeyed without question – didn’t question anything back in those days. I didn’t pay attention to what the priests said because frankly they were boring and I couldn’t relate to anything that they said to my life and how to apply it. As I followed the same pattern with my family, the cycle continues of this is what we do because it’s always been done, end of story. I think it’s sad that most of us do not have the knowledge that we should about our Catholic faith. And I find more fulfillment and knowledge when I attend other faith sponsored events instead of at ours. Don’t get me wrong ours leave you feeling good and can restore the spirit but I don’t always feel that I know the why behind things and how can I do this on a regular basis at home, must everything always take place at church only to “count.” I have found some great resources at Women of Faith (not for catholic) and the Magnificat Breakfast and Dr. Italy’s Web site. Now I just need to discipline myself and get back into regularly practicing my faith. I haven’t even decided what I’ll give up/sacrifice this year. And if we should not go about with sad faces demonstrating our “suffering” of having to give up chocolate or whatever and meat on Fridays why is it ok to go around with the ashes on our forehead all day long for the world to notice. I know that’s the ritual but it seems contradicting. So it is we shall get Ashes on our forehead and another season of lent begins.