My husband has been extremely busy lately, training for a ½ marathon, discerning a change in employment, visiting ailing parents, and balancing his “free” time with getting enough sleep and focusing on our 5 children and their needs and activities (and me, too, his wife!). I have been carrying a heavier load, trying to balance his load out. Needless to say, he agreed with me when I shared my desire for some time to myself. Recently, after a busy week and busy Saturday, he suggested I take some time on Sunday, after Mass, while he took all the kids to visit his parents in the city.
Although I appreciated his offer, I felt a tugging on my conscience about spending time by myself on a Sunday, especially one after we’d all been so busy and needed to reconnect. I have been hearing through various spiritual readings and conversations how very important it is to honor the 3rd Commandment: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Just as God “rested” on the seventh day, we, too, need this day to rejuvenate and be renewed in God’s Love. To just stop and reconnect with family. To rest. To nap. To play. To eat together. To visit.
It was a moment of truly discerning God’s will for me, and my whole family. As tempted as I was, I didn’t feel God was calling me to a day of shopping or the movies by myself. After Mass, I decided to go with my family to the city to visit my in-laws. At first I chose the visit out of guilt, trying to trust in God’s commandment, even though I didn’t “feel” like honoring it. On the drive over, my husband suggested some sight-seeing with the kids before visiting his house-bound parents. I perked up a bit, for as much time we spend in the city, most of it is spent in the living room of his parents. We arrived, and I have to say I was overwhelmed by God’s goodness and Love. We had an amazing afternoon with our kids….walking by the beach and wharf, enjoying freshly baked bread, strolling through art museums, savoring chocolate sundaes. The kids enjoyed all the people-watching, and we held hands throughout the day, enjoying each other’s company. Afterwards, we visited their grandparents, and were pleasantly surprised by an aunt and cousin who also stopped by unexpectedly.
By the end of the day, I was truly humbled by God’s generosity. Not only did He arrange a very special outing, but He showed me once again how His ways far exceed my expectations, and how His ways bring much JOY. I so often struggle with my old image of God, but He continues to be patient with me and reveals His all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing pure GOODNESS.
Both our work and our leisure time are given to us so that we may deepen our bond with God and seek our support in Him. If we try to see God and to seek His will in everything that He bestows upon us, then our time for rest will strengthen our faith in God’s omnipotent love. (S.C. Biela, God Alone Suffices, 3rd ed. [Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2011] 18)
Thank you, God, for allowing me to see the truth about my weakness, and how it calls upon the abyss of Your merciful love.