Thursday, April 19, 2007

Patient suffering

I'm being redundant.

As you probably know, the word "patient" comes from the Latin root "pati", meaning "to suffer."

Therefore, to be patient is to suffer. What affirming words for a mother.

We moms tend to suffer practice patience all day long.

When you:

change another diaper. Then another. Then another, even though you should have been out the door for that appointment ten minutes ago ...

pick up after a toddler's trail of destruction in the room (or many rooms) you cleaned just a half hour ago ...

mop up the second cup of spilled milk in fifteen minutes ...

give the potty training another valiant try ...

read Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?, one more time, even though you are so exhausted you think (and wish) you could sleep like the dead ...

disentangle a tantruming two-year-old from a shopping cart and carry her from the store, even though you really, really need to get these errands done ...

call Poison control in a panic, because you're worried that the little guy just ate some hand sanitizer ...

say, for the 210th time, and as you are placing her in yet another time-out, "We do not bite!" ...

eat the remnants of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and call it lunch ...

fall into bed, are slack-jawed within ten minutes, and awakened ten minutes after that by a toddler crying for mommy, courtesy of a Disney-induced nightmare ...

... then you are suffering. You are experiencing the passion (another word that comes from the same root) of your vocation. And God is drawing you closer to Him through it all. It's through patience, through our small daily sufferings, that we shed the skin of selfishness and emerge a new creation.

So, I want to take a minute to thank Him.

Thank you, Lord, for these simple, everyday opportunities to suffer, to be patient, and to grow in holiness -- one diaper, one sandwich crust, one sleep-deprived night, one tantrum at a time.

And thank you, Lord, for this little tidbit, too: that only occasionally am I the one having the tantrum.

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Visit Meredith at Sweetness and Light to contribute to her Carnival of Toddlers before 6 p.m. tonight
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(This post also appears on Catholic Exchange's Blog page, "Friends of Catholic Exchange.")

13 comments:

Love2Learn Mom said...

Great post! And here's a pertinent Chesterton quote that I absolutely love (If I remember right, it's from Orthodoxy):

"Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say 'do it again;' and the grown up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning 'do it again' to the sun; and every evening 'do it again' to the moon."

Karen E. said...

Oh, Alicia, marvelous quote! I love it! Thank you.

Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle said...

Karen,

What a truly beautiful post about the hidden graces found in motherhood!

God bless your day!
Love, Donna

betty said...

Wow! Your post brings back such memories when I had four little ones under the age of five! I wish that I had YOUR wisdom and understanding of my motherhood vocation at that time! I, too, love Chesterton's quote. It reminded me of the time I was watching a beautiful sunset with my little granddaughter and the sun slipped beyond the horizon she cried, "Do it again! Do it again!" That was one time Grammy couldn't do it again!

Love your blog!!!

Jennifer F. said...

What a wonderful post. Exactly what I needed to read after a day like today!!

Kimberlee said...

Thanks for a lovely post, Karen! I thought of you with a smile as I dined on the broken animal crackers dumped all over the floor by little people, lol!

Suzanne Temple said...

Wonderful post, Karen. How did you know to list ALL the things that are driving me nuts? I mean, making me holy...

mike said...

The words for suffer (all from that pati root) make for some great idioms in the Romance languages. In Italian, to be ticklish is to "suffer the tickle."

Kristen Laurence said...

Beautiful, Karen. A holy priest once pointed out that according to St. Paul, patience is the *first* quality of love ("Love is patient, love is kind...")

And since there are no accidents in Scripture,it is no small thing to be patient every day. It is the chief sign of the Love of Christ.

Thank you so much for sharing this post.

Lisa Mladinich said...

Karen,

As always, your writing inspires me and leaves me breathless with a desire to craft simple, elegant prose rich with meaning. Write on, baby!

God bless you!

Lisa Mladinich

Shawna said...

This is really what I needed to read this evening, after a long day of doing many things on that list. Thank you for reminding me to see the eternal purpose in this season. God bless you!

elaine said...

Thank you dear {K} ... you offered me some comfort today.

melanieb said...

Beautiful.

I'm going to save this and re-read it on those days when my patience stock is running low.

I love the Chesterton quote too. Maybe monotony will be easier to bear if I think it is more Godlike. I wonder if that's why monasteries' schedules are so monotonous.... Every morning they "do it again".