Over the weekend, my son was invited to enjoy the afternoon and spend the night with his cousin. When he returned the next day, he shared about all the fun activities and yummy food that they enjoyed, and I was happy he had a good time with his relatives. That is, until he hinted that he would prefer living at their house, with them, over our home, and us. Ouch. Now, before you might think badly of my son, know that his Control Freak of a mother encouraged him to be open with his feelings. I knew as I was asking him that I was also asking for trouble, and for a quick wounding of my ego. Sure enough, even though I understood what he was saying and why he was saying it, I wanted to rescue my pride. I wanted to (and did, to some degree) rationalize to myself and to him why their home environment might appear to be better, but that the grass wasn’t necessarily greener.
The truth, though, was that I had been praying for more peace and joy in our home for a long while. The noise and chaos drives me crazy, and because I am so darn responsible, all the activities and school projects stress me out. I am so overwhelmed that my temper is short and often times I unfairly lash out at my son. OR hold too high of expectations. OR micro-manage his schoolwork. OR nag him about how inefficiently he does his chores. Of course he enjoyed the laid back personalities of his aunt and uncle! Yes, I can rationalize to myself that they might have been trying their best to make sure he enjoyed himself, but perhaps not. Perhaps they are like that all the time. It doesn’t really matter, because if I stand in truth, I know God is asking me to allow more of HIM and His joy in our home. I must beg Blessed Mother, Queen of Peace, to reign in our home.
Now, in my mind I want to be strong and organized, while remaining gentle and loving and present to my loved ones. But according to my track record and my awareness of my personality, this doesn’t work. I am always so tempted to rely on my own strength (which is non-existent) rather than allow the One to live in me and through me.
So as we celebrate this third Sunday of Advent, I am reminded of the pink candle – JOY!
Christian faith most fully expresses itself in the joy of discovering the personal love of God, which you can depend on and to which you can entrust yourself. Faith experienced in this way eradicates the attitude of the dramatic fatalism toward one’s own evil, which our contrition can change into a “happy fault.” Christian joy flowing from faith is like a stream of God’s love. It is faith that tells you to smile at God, to be joyful in His love. Then you should look at yourself, whom you take much too seriously, from a certain distance and with a humorous perspective. The virtue of humor lets you defeat the poison of sadness with which Satan tries to permeate your soul. This virtue of humor causes you to stop worrying about yourself and allows you to live a life of joy flowing from faith. (Tadeusz Dajzcer, The Gift of Faith, 3rd ed. (Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2012), 99-100).