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I pass this sign, in the morning, at the end of my walk.  It is my reminder as I tiredly, but contentedly, make my way home.

“a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'” ~Mark 1:3 NIV.

My paths have taken many fits and starts on not through streets.  They are never straight.  I’m far from being prepared.

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This morning, to my surprise, the middle son rose to walk with me and I found myself answering his questions about religion.  His bff is not allowed to celebrate birthdays or holidays in his religious practice.  Why are there so many types of religions? he asked.  Isn’t there just one God?

This past weekend, amidst a flurry of activity, our youngest son received his First Holy Communion (FHC).  In our Catholic faith; this is huge.  His brothers were allowed to altar serve; their father asked to usher.

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Sadly, the birth order effect rings true.  With my eldest son his FHC was planned months in advance.  Four families of friends chose to celebrate this sacrament together, and we held a separate celebration with just our very own.  The middle son’s ceremony was planned six weeks in advance with a plethora of family and friends.  The youngest’s, one week.  Work, vacation and the older boys’ schedules and projects had caused us to forget the passage of time.  The fancy invites were never sent.  Family was notified via Facebook and text.

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A mother’s work is never done.  Doughnuts were requested for the middle son’s “un-birthday.”  I was notified of this the day before and the Krispy Kreme location is nowhere near our home.   I haven’t frequented this place in years!    Later, I sat in the high school parking lot as the eldest auditioned on trumpet.  Parents lined the hallways and I retreated to my car to read Dr. Leman’s book about teens.  When this son slowly and dejectedly made his way, an hour later, I gave him a hug.  He tried his best.  It is out of our hands.

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The RSVPs came in by Friday afternoon for our early Saturday morning ceremony.  Almost our entire family, on both sides, chose to celebrate with us.  My initial reaction of stress became replaced with a sense of calm.  I was humbled.   With short notice my house would be full of family members encouraging my youngest child’s religious faith.

And so I cleaned with alacrity.  For the first time we had a party catered.  We scrubbed and washed and when my blood pressure rose; I breathed deep.  I was thankful to have a house full of people to clean for.

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Each son held a weeding implement, the hubs a mop.  They shooed me out the door, Friday night at 7:30 PM, to spend some time with girlfriends to talk books.  I had not planned on attending our reading discussion group; to prepare my home.  This is my religious faith and it is my responsibility to nurture it.  Mop-in-hand; the hubs made his stance clear.  He chose it, as well.

And with shouts of goodbye my sons and hubs returned to their tasks without a second glance or complaint.  The best gift ever.  I mean, EVER.  On the short drive to bookclub my eyes misted over.  The hubs.  My kids.  They never cease to amaze me.

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The only child who escaped life through books can now live it.  And talk about it.  With friends.  It is easy to get lost in the pages, alone.  It is quite another to walk the pages, to write your own story with people alongside.  It occurs to me that this is why I like to blog vs. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and email.  It is the journal of our days; my own paradise in plain sight.

paradise in plain sight

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The simple pancake  and eggs breakfast.  Dinner amongst mothers.  I think of the quote by Cheryl Lacey Donovan.

“Mother is a verb. It’s something you do. Not just who you are.”

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And so I walk.  It is clear to me now; my purpose.   I am a mother gardening; tending to my children and eradicating weeds.  I hope they choose to grow in their religious faith; for their compasses to point north.  If they get lost on their walks along the way, I hope they will remember to find the compass/ GPS in their hearts.

Their paths.  They will never be straight.  I hope I can give them the tools to make their choice; to get there.

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