I’ve been talking to moms, and as it turns out, working moms. One of them gave me a definition of a working mom: “an ongoing experiment to prove that sleep is not essential to human life.” You had to laugh even as you recognized the deeper truth. We are busy people: moms, dads, kids, seniors, young professionals. However you want to classify it, we are busy people. But, this week I have been talking to moms. Here is a composite of a day in the life.
The eyes open first thing in the morning… “Ok, check the children’s calendar. Aaargh, I am homeroom parent, and I am supposed to bring a snack today…Settle down kitties, I will feed you…. Ok, to work out or not to work out, that is the question….” And so a day in the life begins.
Kids to roust out of bed, lunches to make, school website to check, snacks to pack for after school, figuring out who is taking whom to what after-school practice, activity, or game. Finally the coffee is ready and at last a quiet moment – only to be broken by the plaintiff cry of “Mom, where are my clothes for the field trip?” “What field trip? Oh yes, that field trip, the one that did not make the family calendar, whose permission slip is right here under the telephone bill… did we really use that many minutes?
One more round of you-better-not-still-be-in-bed checks, homework ready to go, checking on the where, whens, and whats of school and after school. A working dad appears with that so-needed cup of coffee, a kiss, and “I’ll get the kids ready and drop them at school.” “Yup, he’s a keeper.” A quick check about supper.. “Yes! We are all here tonight. We actually get to dine at the table instead of the car.” Good-bye to all and a wave from the door.
“Wow, just me and the kitties… it’s kinda quiet…” And then begins the incursion of other to-do lists: laundry, grocery shopping, making dental and doctor appointments, veterinarian too, taking the car for an oil change, plumber, trees need trimming, fundraiser gala for school, committee (Why did I volunteer for that?) and more. Before you know it your “quiet time” has disappeared, and you are in the car heading for work and beginning to consider the to-do list there: calls to return, meetings, luncheon, client reports, more meetings.
Somehow errands get run, kids get picked up and shuffled around, a dinner is enjoyed together, the events of the day recanted, homework is done and checked, bills are paid, tomorrow’s calendar is checked, and the day unwinds into a house at rest. And so a day in the life ends.
I could have written a similar account for working dads, retirees who wonder how-in-the-world they are busier now than when they were working, or even friars. What is true for all of us is as it says in today’s psalm refrain: “The Lord is near to all who call upon him.” The challenge for us all is to find that space and place in each day to call upon the Lord. Our friar life is busy, but we are privileged in that we are called to daily prayer as a community, we celebrate Mass, we pray with parishioners and visitors, and we make (or are supposed to make) space in each day for private prayer. The nature of our busy lives is kind enough to schedule prayer for us. What about the “nature” of your life? The Lord is indeed near to all who call upon Him.
Call upon the Lord in that first minute when the eyes open. Pray when the finger first snags the coffee cup, in the few moments in the shower, the drive to work/school, when you pick the kids up, at the table, at the end of the day, and more moments in between. Pray in the context of your life. No matter how congested or busy, call upon the Lord, He is near – even if the call is but the briefest of moments during a day in the life.