Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sweeping the Way of Humility

I've been sweeping the floor a lot since Henry began eating more foods.  He is a very strong-willed baby.  He takes a small taste of everything I put on his tray and promptly begins throwing what he doesn't like (usually a vegetable) over the side of his high chair, looking at me with an ornery wrinkled nose.  He is one!  And he is so bad!

It makes me laugh at least for now, and I get out the broom and begin to sweep the floor yet again.  I love to sweep the floor because it makes me think of Our Lady sweeping the floor at Nazareth.  Repetitively sweeping the floor encourages me to meditate on a very powerful life lesson: the need to take responsibility and clean up our past before we can move on.

I used to consider cleaning the kitchen floor the most awful chore of all.  With many babies, it gets so dirty so fast!  But then I thought about what other people do.  My husband deals with complicated machinery every day; politicians consider how to prevent wars and resolve problems of national or international significance; soldiers enter situations that endanger their lives; priests are responsible for the salvation of souls...  Surely sweeping the floor is not something that justifies stress or the right to say I am busy!

Lots of people today want to be the one who is "so busy" or the one who is "so stressed".  Do we actually deserve that distinction though, or are we just not handling our jobs well?

I am too often among the latter.  I get stressed out about messes; I get overwhelmed with homeschooling; I can't keep up preparing meals.  But these tasks are so minor in the realm of things and I do not want to be among the spoiled generation.

Yes, I have heard stories of college students who "can't handle" their lives and their "workloads".  There are suicidal teenagers who are overburdened with social stress or addicted to the violent stimulation of video games.  How does this happen?  Could it be because we put a little- or way too much- emphasis on ourselves?

A painful truth: we don't all deserve to be the superior.  Our generation is narcissistic.  We are stupid enough to believe what our parents told us: that we are special, we are smart, we are beautiful and we deserve the world...

My parent's friends who are in their fifties and sixties always wear a smile and say the family is doing great, everyone is handling life just fine.  Yet those of the next generation enter the room with faces of martyrs, dragging along their children, complaining to anyone who will listen about staying up all night with the baby and how hard it is to get everyone dressed.  Now I know these things can be difficult; I complain about them myself way too much.  But did my Mom?

The truth is, she didn't.  The older generation is tougher, more able to handle life because they just accept it's not about constant happiness.  Discipline is their tool and ingenuity is at their disposal.  They work and don't complain, they make the best of things and don't complain.  I admire this and though I am far from there, I am striving for it.

At least I can say that I will forever be happy to sweep the floor.  I will try to imitate Our Blessed Mother and her extreme example of modesty and humility.  This state of contentment is a perfect environment for purity to flourish.  I will think of those who have greater vocations and be grateful for the littleness of my own.  After all, it is all I can do to try to keep up and I want to be able to someday do it well.




WHAT DO YOU THINK?

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for this. I needed to read it today.

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  2. Yes, Yes, Yes! You wrote what I have been thinking.

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  3. One fatal mistake that our generation makes is to compare ourselves to others. We think that our friends or neighbors have it much easier or better. The devil enters and whispers to us how bad we have it, if only we could have married him/her over there or chosen a different state in life. We simply have no idea what they are suffering or going through. Their trials are for them, not us. We should really just focus on our duty, the obligations that God gave us, and do them well. Comparing ourselves is the beginning of so many spiritual problems.

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    Replies
    1. Just to add, I agree entirely with what you said about the differences in the generations. Older generations knew how to deal with suffering and adversity much better than our generation.

      I think your post explains well how a housewife can practice great virtue even though she is doing things that the world considers unimportant.

      A lot of that stress you talk about comes from the unreasonable and warped idea people get from popular culture about the family. People are in a constant war of competition so that their kids will be successful in a materialistic sense. They compare themselves and their families to others and get stressed that they are not measuring up to the worldly standard.

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