31 Days of De-Stressed Living, Day 23: Sense the Mysteries

child in churchDo you ever tire of the Catholic “mommy wars” over proper parenting at Mass? Cry room vs. front row pew; pro-breastfeeding vs. anti-Cheerios; attending as a family vs. letting each spouse go separately. The only subjects more likely to get fur flying are head-coverings or Marty Haugen. Or maybe pants, eh Simcha?

Now that my children are young teens, part of me actually misses going to Mass when they were younger. Sarah would sit on my hip and sing her version of the hymns (“Amazing grapes…”), while Chris would remind me to listen for the angels when the priest raised up the Eucharist. (I had told them that their guardian angels wanted to join the other angels in heaven at the consecration, but if they were naughty, they would have to stay behind, and would be most put-out.)

One of the most wonderful parts of parenting is being able to experience, vicariously, the wonder of the invisible world: God and angels and saints and heaven … and electricity and Tooth Fairies and Mommy Magic and microwave popcorn and musicals and Mozart. So much of life is conducted behind the scenes, like the miles of tunnels beneath Disney World. Gifts and serendipitous moments are as much a part of life as bedtimes and vaccines. Through our children, we learn that if we spend too much time focused on the minutiae, we lose the sense of wonder, and deplete our own joy.

So … just for today, lets give the taskmaster the day off, and take some time to sense the mysteries and remind ourselves of the innate goodness of life.

*  The explosion of a vine-ripened tomato in a mouthful of garden salad

*  The heady aroma of home-baked bread and the simmer of soup.

*  The gentle flickering of a votive lit in a countryside chapel.

*  The crunch of compacted snow frosted with a shiny veneer of ice.

In these moments, time stands still and we catch a glimpse — however fleeting — of life as it was meant to be lived, experienced, and reveled in. These sweet mysteries whisper of the destiny of all human beings: Not constrained by obligation and responsibilities, but liberated to experience life at its transcendent best.


Do YOU Believe in Tooth Fairy?

Today at “Mommy Monsters” I write about a highly controversial parenting topic: The Tooth Fairy.

Like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, some parents refuse to get caught up in the whole childhood fantasy train because they are afraid the child won’t trust them any longer, once they find out the truth. Won’t believe that the many other invisible entities we talk about — God and angels and saints among them — will be tossed out, too.

To be honest, it’s not something that has ever bothered me much. Granted, we put much more emphasis on St. Nicholas at our house than Santa Claus, but I’ve never really worried about them not being able to distinguish real from fantasy for the simple reason that I TREAT them very differently.

Apart from a seasonal appearance, we don’t treat the childhood myths in the same way. God and the saints are a part of our family, and we talk about them every day. We turn to them in good times and bad. We live in a way that is going to please them.

With the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy, we break out the story from time to time to please ourselves, to add a little fun and color to our lives.

What do you think … How do you treat the subject?