This post has been running through my mind for a few days. It started when I saw this article from the Daily Mail about Helen Kirwan-Taylor, who wrote a happy little article about how her children bore her to death. At first, I felt some righteous indignation, mixed with feelings of great superiority and a whole lot of pity for the kids thrown into the mix.
A few days later, I had the incredible opportunity to see, courtesy of Julie D. at Happy Catholic, the story of the Hoyt family. This is an incredible testimony of one man’s love for his son, and of giving of himself joyfully for others.
It’s easy to look at Mr. Hoyt and see love and sacrifice. It’s easy to look at Mrs. Kirwan-Taylor and dismiss her as petty and shallow. But there was more to this that I needed to see.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ “
The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25
What purpose did God have in mind when He created us?
God created us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this life, and then to be happy with Him forever in the next life, in Heaven. (CCC 358)
For the first 30 years of my life I led a pretty decent life — the comfortable American lifestyle. I wasn’t flashy, or extravagant, or decadent in my day-to-day life. I went to church on Sunday, tithed, and and all the rest. I wasn’t a big bold “in-your-face” sort of sinner. I was dating a nice Christian guy. We went on nice, wholesome day trips to close by cities, shopped, ate in nice restaurants, etc. A pretty average life. I avoided people and situations that made me uncomfortable. I lived for what made me happy… what kept me in my comfort zone… and never voluntarily inconvenienced myself.
After meditating on the Scripture above, it hit me: just when, in my “pre-Mommy” years, was I going to get around to finding all these hungry, thirsty, strangers who needed my help? What would the Lord have said to me as I stood before Him?
[cue heaping helpings of His grace]
So now I’m the mother of six kids under the age of 8. I homeschool. Wherever I go, I get gasps of astonishment at my “incredible faith” and amazement at how I manage to do so much.
And I’ll be honest. I believed all the hype. I felt pretty darn proud of myself.
But here’s the reality. God, in His infinite grace, knew that I needed that extra push to learn to serve Him. Obviously, I wasn’t doing it on my own. So He gave me 7 people to serve. Daily. People who would trouble me, inconvenience me, push me WAY out of my comfort zone, and demand that I sacrifice my wants and needs.
It’s not fun. With respect to Mrs. Kirwan-Taylor, there is no magic “gene” present in some mothers that just gives us a euphoric high when called upon to play CandyLand, change the 4th messy diaper of the day, or spend an hour cooking for little ones who decide arbitrarily that they aren’t going to eat anything yellow.
It’s hard. It’s messy.
Look at Mr. Hoyt and see the incredible gifts God gives us. His case is extreme, but all parents have the same opportunity to serve.
Praise Him for His grace.