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Sometimes I make a big mess of things. A really big mess. Sometimes the messes I make are the work of several awful days that finally pile up to create an overwhelming avalanche of terrible, and sometimes I do just one swift awful thing and them BAM. There I am, spiritually face down in the dirt, having failed the very people that God gave me to take care of. And when I’ve done something awful, I find it near impossible to get up and do the next thing. Unload the dishwasher. Say sorry. Anything. Move on and try again. I find it hard to do that. I’m just so awful, I think. I should just stop because I’m just going to keep doing awful things. There’s really no hope for me or for these sad people who need me.

Flashback to the mid-nineties…

During what may have been my last bike ride, my front wheel slipped on a steep bit of road and I flew off, head first. If it were one of those extreme sports competitions, I would have gotten all sorts of points for how high I was. I landed roughly on the dirt and gravel and when I finally stopped skidding, I lay there for a bit, face to the ground, dazed. I stayed there for a while, painfully covered in cuts and bruises.

Fast-forward again…

That’s what a spiritual faceplant feels like to me: humiliating and awful and you just don’t want to move. For a while. A long while. Everything hurts and maybe, maybe they’ll all just let you stay down here, in the dirt (or mud, if you’re crying).

After typing all that, I wish I had something profound and practical to share about what to do in these situations. Most times, and for longer than I would admit, for longer than I need, I just wallow. Feel bad for myself. And boy is it hard to do good things in this state. But sometimes, SOMETIMES, I remember to turn to God and say Help me, please! through my tears, or anger, or humiliation. I feel really silly saying that, if I really thought about it, thought back to all those really terrible times, God hasn’t failed me yet. All those moments have ultimately worked out for the good. God hasn’t failed me yet, and still I linger in the dirt before asking Him for help. Sometimes I don’t even remember to ask at all. He is all-merciful and all-powerful. And He loves me more than I can imagine. Even if I’m a very slow learner.


“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Between my morning prayer and bedtime prayer, the day goes by very quickly. Before I know it, I’m getting ready for bed, trying to remember if I turned to God at all since 7:00am. I am certain there’s an Iphone or Blackberry app for this — something that beeps at appropriate times. Unfortunately, I’m smartphone-less and have to rely on more primitive (and cheaper) forms of reminders.

Stubbed toes. Stubbed toes, paper cuts, pinched fingers, headaches – whose day isn’t peppered with small pains? Instead of letting these go to waste with a grimace and a grunt, use them as a remember to say hello to God. “God, I just stubbed my toe. It really hurts.”

Snacks. Saying Grace doesn’t have to be just for big meals. Before taking a bite of that mid-morning granola bar, one could say a mini-Grace. “Thank you, Jesus for this granola bar.”

Annoying people. Someone cut you off on the 401? Someone rudely insinuate that you shouldn’t be parking in the Expectant Mother spot? Take a deep breath and swallow your angry retort. “God, please help me be patient. Please bless this person. Please show me what you would like me to do here.”

Minor annoyances. No Frills has run out of their sale items again. The one-year old has flushed an entire roll of toilet paper. Your husband has shrunk your favourite sweater. “Oh, Jesus… No Frills has run out of their sale times again, my old-year old has flushed an entire roll of toilet paper and my husband shrunk my favourite sweater. Sigh.”

This list could go on and on, since the goal is to offer as much of our lives back to God. There’s peace that comes from looking at these little (good or bad) things as chances to pray. Acknowledging God’s presence in each of life’s little minutes lightens the load that we sometimes assume we’re lifting on our own.

What is this?

Here a volunteer parishoner at St. Clement shares her personal experiences as her young family tries to keep the Catholic faith alive in their homes, living out the promises of their Baptism. Thank you for stopping in and be sure to share some of your stories as well!