31 Days of De-Stressed Living, Day 20: Practice Patience

shadowOne of the fun surprises of middle age, I’ve discovered, is the body’s newfound ability to wake up in the middle of the night, mind whirring like a video on fast-forward, alert and ready to … well, in most cases, ready to pee. But then alert and ready to start the day. At 4:00. Dang.

Months ago, I thought the nighttime insomnia was because of all the stress in my life, caused by the ordeal my family was going through (plus the on-the-job stress I was feeling at the time). Now, I realize it’s just part of the journey, so I’ve learned … to practice patience, and take advantage of it. So I’m typing instead of staring up at the ceiling, silently cursing the Sandman. Practicing patience. (Nice segue, Heidi.)

This morning I woke up with a line from the “shepherd’s psalm” (Psalm 23) spinning through my head: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…”

Have you ever noticed that the psalmist didn’t RUN through that valley? Not even a quick-step. He walked. So often when we find ourselves in crisis, the temptation is to get through it as quickly as possible, which (truth be told) can greatly add to the stress.

Some experiences are more of a marathon than a sprint. When we find ourselves having to transom some dark valley, pushing ourselves to get through it quickly is likely to backfire, whether that particular valley is cancer, divorce, or … yes, even grief. But if we take the time to look around and to tend gently to the needs of those we love (including ourselves), it will take less out of us in the long run. No matter how much we need to practice patience with other people, the most important person to be patient with … is ourselves.

Have you had to “walk” a valley recently? How did you “practice patience” with yourself and those closest to you?

 

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Sweet Mysteries of Life … and Faith

Welcome to the “Carnival of Catholic Parenting” hosted by Maman A Droit! This month’s submissions are inspired by Hebrews 12:1-2:

Therefore since we are surrounded with such a great cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us.

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After you read this great post, you’re encouraged to check out some of the other contributions to this month’s carnival through the links at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve wanted to head up to “Cross in the Woods” to the St. Peregrine Shrine, to light a candle and pray for my father’s recovery (St. Peregrine is the patron saint of cancer sufferers). I have two other friends whose fathers are similarly afflicted right now, so I went this weekend with the intention of interceding for the health of all three men.

When I arrived, all the candles in the shrine were either lit or broken. I stood there a moment, dumbfounded, wondering what to do. Having driven so far to get here, I didn’t want to leave without doing what I’d come to do.

An elderly gentleman on the bench behind me seemed to read my mind. “Don’t worry,” he said. “God knows your heart. Just say your prayer, and trust God for the rest.”

It seemed like good advice, so I touched three of the candles and asked God to bless the men they represented. And I left my offering, just in case St. Peregrine was watching.

Earlier that day Father Michael had spoken of invisible realities of faith … How we can’t always explain how God does things in ways that satisfy our human understanding. The reason for this is simple: His scope of understanding is infinitely greater than our own.

When I think of the great love of God, there are lots of things I don’t understand. Starting with, why would the Father send His Son to become one of us? Why would the Son condescend to die a criminial’s death … then continue to come to us through the centuries in the form of bread and wine? How does God bind us together as family through the sacraments, empowered by the atoning death of Christ, with bonds so strong, not even death can separate us? Why did Christ spent so much time healing the masses … knowing that they would still need to experience death? And why does he continue to provide in the sacraments the means of physical and spiritual healing … even though our final destination is not in this world, but the next?

I don’t know the answers to these questions. They are true mysteries. But I believe God uses my prayers, combined with those of the saints, through the infinite merits of Christ.

And THAT, dear friends, is why I light a candle, say a prayer … and trust God for the outcome.

Image: Flickr – Creed 400

Don’t forget to check out these other great Carnival of Catholic Parenting posts:

  • Julie @ Journey to the Simple Life talks about her struggles to be a positive witness through her speech in her post, Finding a New Way
  • Kate @ Momopoly discusses the importance of timing in Maternal Pacing
  • Heidi @ Extraordinary Moms Network reflects on why she turns to the cloud of witnesses in Sweet Mysteries of Life & Faith
  • Cassie @ There’s A Pickle in My Life talks about the temptation to let others’ choices distract us from our own families in her post, Running the Race
  • Maman A Droit compares the people who help her be a better parent to the people who helped her be a better cross-country runner years ago, in her post, Run Faster!

Prayer Request from Cheryl Dickow, Bezelel Books

One of our Bezalel authors has asked for prayers Deacon Pat Hayes, author of Top Ten Ways to Build a Wonderful Marriage, has had both a career and health setback. Deacon lost his job about the same time he was told he had a form of bone cancer. Although told this was a treatable form of the illness, along with his job loss, you can imagine what Deacon is going through and how necessary your prayers are for him and his family at this point in time. Deacon has been a blessing to me, helping me write an article for TCW as well as just being a blessed cyber-friend. Please raise up Deacon Pat in your prayers today and keep him and his family on your prayer list.