We had company overnight yesterday, so vanity and hospitality merged into one master goal, to CLEAN THE WHOLE HOUSE! And I became tired and worn before the day ended, such that I denied myself and my family a pleasure because I needed to get more stuff done. The guest was delayed and by the time my husband returned with our friend, the whole of the home was in darkness. My insane cleaning tornado went unnoticed. But my refusal to read stories when I shuffled everyone off to bed, did not.
This morning, when everyone left, I had a clean house and a sorry heart. The home showed signs of trying to return to the clutter of the other day. I began my “patrol.” There were little piles and shoes tucked under couches. In the background while I worked, the Catholic radio station ran its normal programs. Sometimes I listen, sometimes I’m even mindful. Today, I felt irritated. “This mess is impossible,” my mind grumbled. The radio refuted me as an advertisement for Mother Angelica chirped about “With God all things are possible.” I went to another room.
The radio announcer talked about looking at the interior of one’s life, and going ever deeper. I looked under a couch and found even more mess. Fifteen plastic dinosaurs, a drained Capri-sun, crunchy socks and one slipper under the sofa reminded me, that in the end, caring for these people is only what I’ve been asked and expected to do, and that picking up these things was a little thing, that could be done with great love, or great irritation. Wanting both the full credit for doing what people can see is something I’ve battled for years, while reading to them at night, would be something done in secret and God clobbered my heart. I’d picked the wrong thing. The thought formed, not so much words as a sense, the home was me and God was telling me through the children, through the endless clutter, this is as the soul is. I knew, God was saying, “If you go deeper, you will always discover, there is more mess that needs to be cleaned, and that no matter what you do, Sherry, it is not you that will clean it, but Me.”
The following evening, my second youngest daughter, Regina was scheduled to receive the Sacrament of Penance. The readings for the day were Matthew Chapter 18:21-35.
Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.”
Jesus then told the parable of the two servants, one of whom was shown mercy, who did not show mercy to the other for the same need. My children owe me a much smaller debt to me than I owe God. So I’ve pulled out the story books, and left them on their made beds for tonight. Today, we begin again.
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About the Author
Sherry Antonetti is a Catholic published author, freelance writer and part-time teacher. She lives with her husband and 10 children just outside of Washington, DC, where she's busy editing her upcoming book, A Doctor a Day, to be published by Sophia Institute Press. You can find her other writings linked up at her blog, Chocolate For Your Brain! or on Amazon.