As I open up my laptop I have just the title for the week on my screen from last night. “Flat.” It describes my day, my week. It was all I had time to type yesterday. Simply the idea. No energy to flush it out.
A week ago, the tire light went on in my van. We just got the Queen Mary, so I didn’t think it could be any big deal. I dutifully pulled over to a gas station and checked my tires as best I could and put some air in. Hoping for the best, hopped back in the van only to find the light still on. Drats! Visited some friends and stopped at a second gas station on the way home. This time the light went off. Voila! Fixed!
Nope. Next time back in the van the light is back on. Tate said it could just be the change in weather. I figured I would stop at Tire Discounters on Monday morning and have it checked. As fate would have it, that would be too long.
Sunday morning we were able to sleep in a bit as we were going to 10 o’clock Mass for a baptism. Of course, I was lulled into a false sense of “plenty of time,” and it was a hornet's nest getting out of the house. Finally, we were in the van, buckled in, and telling the big kids how they needed to help more. Then the noise. Tate stopped the van and I got out only to find one very flat tire on the rear passenger side. DISASTER! Thankfully we were not out of the neighborhood, but we were still short a ride to Mass. Not many 15 passenger sitting around our block.
I started calling and knocking on doors and was able to secure a mini-van. So we took two cars and made it to church just in time. Monday, I took the car into Ford hoping our warranty would cover whatever the issue was. No such luck, but they did say it was only a leak and would cost $28 dollars. I was feeling fairly lucky, a little too lucky. When I went to take the girls to practice that night - the light was back on, haunting me. Come on! Took the van back in the next day only to be told I would need a new tire.
I am happy to report that tire light has been off for days, thought we are $200 lighter, and I pray it stays so.
In my own life, there have been some warning lights going off. Increased irritability, raising my voice, quick temper, and headaches. They are all pointing to a growing problem and impending danger. Trying the quick fixes at the gas stations may relieve the symptoms for a brief time, but soon the lights are back on. Mom needs tending too. This is no $28 fix. I waited too long, and this week find myself flat. Now there is no where to go, I must deal with the issue(s) at hand.
Too often I find I am measuring my day but what I get done, instead of what I am doing well. Am I an image of Christ to my family, or a worn out, nagging mother? I must admit the tasks before me in a day are more than I can get done, so I must prioritize better. In my mad rush to complete what I believe needs to be done, I forget to look and focus on what is really important. Life is not a checklist.
Make no mistake, the devil is all over me with a 1,000 distractions. I feel it. It leaves me feeling flustered and running from here to there. I need God to light the way to what is important and what needs to be done. I need to take the time to sit more often with my little ones.
In the homily this morning, the priest mentioned St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne. (It is her feast day today.) They have many things in common, but I was struck at the one he pointed out - they all seemingly failed many times. Roadblocks, setbacks, and at times an inability to see how they could accomplish the task before them. What they all continued to do though was to strive to follow Christ despite the struggle. His words gave me hope. I can’t fix everything at once, but I can do the next thing before me correctly, and hopefully the next one after. I can aspire in my heart in this moment to strive to be better. I can ask God to help me be that reflection of Christ to my children, husband, and all I meet.
I don’t need to tell you how hard this can be. My older children continue to challenge me more each day with their attitudes, defiance, and back talk. How to patiently encourage them to be respectful while at the same time punish them calmly when they are not is in itself more than I feel I can accomplish at times. Lord, help me.
Flat. Yes, I think it is an accurate way to describe how I have been feeling too often lately. However, I am going to watch those warning signs and know that despite failing at times, I will continue to strive to follow the will of God in my life. JMJ