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Kathryn Pasker Ineck contemplates our need for physical and spiritual food and rest.

“Give it to me!” I demand as I blindly reach behind my driver’s seat to confiscate a toy cellphone my little sons have been fighting over for the past 15 minutes. After spending the morning at a playdate, they are in need of lunch and a nap and I can hardly get home fast enough. Their indignant cries and screeches are escalating as they repeatedly snatch the phone out of each other’s greedy hands and I briefly wonder whether car seat manufacturers could take pity on parents and add dividers to the sides of car seats, right up to the ceiling. My 3-year-old dutifully places the phone in my hand to the dismay of his 2-year-old brother. Quickly, I unroll the window — sending up a grateful prayer for automatic windows — and chuck the phone out to bounce along the shoulder of the Interstate.

Perhaps I ought to mention that the toy phone in question is imaginary. That’s right: IMAGINARY. Pretend. Invisible. Made up. If I thought the noise in the car had been loud, their heartbreak is now deafening. How could I have just thrown their imaginary toy right out of the window? To mollify them, I imagine up two brand-new, identical, imaginary cell phones, but they are absolutely not having it. These two new imaginary phones are not nearly as spectacular as the single imaginary one they had been fighting over.

My sons — and I, if I am to be honest — are hungry for food and rest. For a physical recharge. Our struggle is very real even though the object causing the conflict is not. Much of motherhood, especially during those early, pre-school years, is physically demanding. Hauling tiny bodies and all of their accompanying diaper bags, strollers, and sundry accoutrements is not for the faint of heart or weak of limb. Naps and snacks are the fuel that gets them — and us! — through each day.


mom kissing a small toddler


As our children grow, our world becomes less physically demanding but more emotionally demanding. More spiritually demanding, if that’s even possible. And I wonder: is that how our God, our patient Father, sees us? How many times does He watch us struggle over things that, in the long run, aren’t real? How exasperated does He get with us because He can see that our struggle has more to do with our unmet physical, emotional, and spiritual hunger than with outside forces and influences?


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God sees us in our everyday irritations, struggles, and annoyances and He offers himself for our own refreshment and renewal. #catholicmom

Jesus addresses this hunger in the Gospel. Of course He does, because this struggle is so intrinsic to the human experience. In John 4:14, Jesus declares, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.” Later, He goes further to say that His “flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in Me and I in him” (John 6:55-56). And as for the physical exhaustion? He has that covered, too:

“Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest … for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-30)


I am often struck by the ordinary-ness of the Gospels. By the timelessness. God sees us in our everyday irritations, struggles, and annoyances and He offers himself for our own refreshment and renewal. He offers Himself to us if we only open our eyes to accept His help!

Copyright 2021 Kathryn Pasker Ineck
Image: Canva Pro