Once a month our parish holds a 24 hour Adoration. We’re only a small parish, with many elderly and so aren’t able to commit to anything more regular. So when it comes, its special and exciting. I had my name down to do an hour and a half this morning, starting at 8:30am and was very much looking forward to it.
The morning got off to a hectic start when my alarm over slept (my 6 month old) which never happens! After a very frantic scrabble I got the two girls and myself dressed and fed, shoes on and bag packed, and into the car in the space of 40 minutes. Phew!
We get to the church just in time to take over from the lady before us. We settle in to a pew, the church to ourselves. We unpack the kiddie saint books, water bottles, breathe deeply and I take up my pen to journal…
Loud voice, “Mama, bikkie?”
Whispering, “No darling, you just had breakfast, bikkies are for after church.”
Shout, “Up here!!”
Whisper, “Sweetheart, please don’t climb on the seats, why don’t you read your books?”
Howls, tears, “Noooo!!! 😭”
Miss 6mo is crawling around at my knees, smacks her head on the underneath of a seat. Sobs, cuddles, hushes.
Loud voice, “Mama read?”
Whisper, “Shh darling, Mama’s talking to Jesus, you read baby, mama read to you at home.”
Small body thrown to the ground, “MAMA REEEEEAD!! 😭😭😭”
Miss 2yrs takes teething ring from grumpy-teething Mis 6mo. Screams, sobs, whispered repremands, cuddles.
I breathe deep trying not to loose my temper. At home Miss 2yrs will read book after book to herself. She’ll share with her little sister. The majority of the day she’ll listen and accept reason (mostly, not always). But at Adoration?
Adoration has always been a quiet refuge for me. A place to journal, to sit in silence, to loose myself in a deep, spiritual book. With the kids in tow I still try to do those things. They interupt, fuss, jolt, ask questions, make demands, squrim themselves between me and the pages until they’re snuggled on my lap.
I just want to have quiet. I just want to read, good holy words. I just I want to write, to share my thoughts with the Lord. I want my girls to learn from my example, how to behave, how to pray. I scribble these in my journal between grabbing hands and snuffling wimpers.
Its like a slap in the face.
“Let the teaching of your children be your prayer to Me.”
I write these words down. Cheeks flushed, I put away my journal, put away my book. I pick up my grizzly baby and rock. I sing, “O Sacrament most Holy…” I pray the rosary out loud as I sway and am surprised to see Miss 2yrs sitting with her rosary, chiming in with “Holy Mair-ee” and “Arm-in.
My baby, thumb in mouth, falls asleep to the rhythm of “Hail Mary, full of grace…” My little girl sits quietly for a moment. At the end of the rosary the restlessness starts again, and if I’m completely honest, so does my simmering temper. But the slap still stings and the words still echo in my head.
What about what He wants?
Its not about what I want. Its about what God wants. I come before Him, into His house with the selfish presumption of how I want to spend this time with Him.
How does He want it spent?
To spend time in prayer through my journal is self-centered, my young children can’t understand what I’m doing. But they can understand prayers said out loud, understand praises sung. They can’t understand my focus on pages, but maybe they can understand my gaze on Christ with the Crucifix behind Him? I can teach them that way, and by sacrificing my “I want”, I please God a thousand times more than by reading or writing all the holy words in the world.
So, next time there’s Adoration, I’ll strive to leave my “I want”s at home, and do as He wants.