I am bummed about a quote that I came across today. I usually find that quotes by saints inspire me, encourage me, and energize me...not today, however.
I have always loved quotes. As I was packing up our old house for the big move to this new house (we are slowly getting settled!), I discovered tons of scraps with quotes written on them. I recognized most of them from college, which was a 4-year search for truth and meaning.
As I packed, the one that jumped out at me the most was, "Fear of aging is a life that has not found meaning." I remember writing this when I was 20-years-old. The future seemed so wide open and scary. My only past was my childhood, which was largely chosen for me. The future was all up to me, and the very thought of such power terrified me.
As I approach 40 (well, I still have 3 years to go...who's counting!?), I feel a great sense of peace about aging. I see my days and years as fulfilling gifts, not the terrifying blank slate that I saw for myself at 20. Thank you, God, for this incredible, unpredictable experience of motherhood.
Today's quote was this popular one by St. Therese of Liseux: "You cannot be half a saint; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all."
I have seen this quote before, and it did not bother me. Today, however, it leaves me very unsettled. I very much want to be a saint. I long to spend eternity in Heaven. I believe and follow Church teachings, and I take advantage of the Sacraments (but not as often as I'd like...only made it to Confession once last year!). I pray daily, and I try to teach my children about Jesus, Mary, the saints, and the importance of asking for forgiveness.
So, why do I feel so "half"?
Half of the time, I think that I am a good mother. I am kind, sweet, respectful, and affectionate with my children. And then, they ignore me and I have to tell them something a third time, and the "other" mother comes out!
Half of the time, I think that I am a good wife. I am kind, sweet, respectful, and affectionate with my husband. And then, he doesn't read my mind or complete something extremely important on MY to-do list, and the "other" wife comes out!
Half of the time, I think that I am a good example for my children. I do not want them to be exposed to television that could take away their innocence or expose them to violence/things too old for them, so there is no cable in the house (only PBS!). And, I only watch television (except the weather and news headlines...bad enough!) when they are sleeping. But then, I have a habit of enjoying loud, fast, popular music in the car (goes back to my running days when I would crank the music to help my workout). I do turn it off if I hear anything offensive or bad language, but my 3-year-old knows almost all the words to "Call Me Maybe," and there is a questionable line about "ripped jeans, skin was showing"...woops!
Half the time, I feel so incredibly blessed with all that God has given me. It's like I couldn't imagine asking for one more thing (material thing, that is...I am always asking for graces!). And then, I see that someone has posted the most gorgeous kid's bedroom on Pinterest. And, I think of my own kid's bedrooms with mix-matched bureaus and comforters, no pictures on the walls, etc., and I sigh because that will never be my childrens' rooms and maybe I am depriving them?
I could come up with a thousand more examples.
I am not there yet. I am not afraid of aging anymore, but man, I hope that I have enough time to figure out the other "half." St. Therese, PLEASE pray for me!
Copyright 2013 Trish Bolster
About the Author
We welcome guest contributors who graciously volunteer their writing for our readers. Please support our guest writers by visiting their sites, purchasing their work, and leaving comments to thank them for sharing their gifts here on CatholicMom.com. To inquire about serving as a guest contributor, contact editor@CatholicMom.com.