My two-year-old has discovered her independence. She can feed the dog (and join the dog in chowing down), take off her clothes (and put them in the hamper), and even drink from a cup without a lid (bathing herself in the process).
Her new favorite phrase is "I do it MYSELF!" It punctuates every offer of help from me, pierces the air when her big sister leans her way, and sears my patience at every moment of the day.
I’m an old hand at the "I do it MYSELF" mentality. Given the choice of God’s grace and controlling things myself, I all too often choose the latter.
Doing things myself is easier, for one thing. I know it gets done the way I want it done, and I know when it gets done. When I do things myself, I don’t have to worry about someone else: about their feelings, their style, their schedule.
But, watching my two-year-old scream after she dumps the fifth cup of water all over her tenth outfit of the day, I am reminded of the wisdom of the Body of Christ.
We are not alone…for a reason. We are not left to fend for ourselves…for a reason.
It’s no easier for me to trust God’s wisdom and providence than it is for my two-year-old to understand that she really does need my help with whatever impossible task she’s attempting. It’s as hard for me to say "Yes" with humility and acceptance as it is for my toddler to stop wiggling and screaming while I wipe up the mess caused by her insistence on doing it herself.
God doesn’t expect me to do it all myself. He didn’t give me the gift of the sacraments and then head back for the celestial chorus of heaven, ignoring my daily frustrations. He didn’t put my vocation on me and then walk away, laughing as He left.
There is help all around me, though I may have to ask and I will definitely have to say "Yes."
In that lesson of humility, there’s a lesson in grace…and enough humor to keep me sane while my two-year-old eats the dog food.
Copyright 2010 Sarah Reinhard
About the Author
When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Three Shots and follow her writing at Snoring Scholar.