I am trying harder now to be more patient with my children. One way I'm trying to do this is to say a Hail Mary before I start screaming. It's a lot like counting to 10, but it takes a little longer and it's actual prayer (multitasking-yes!). I figure Mary was Jesus' mom, and while she and Jesus were sinless and probably didn't really drive each other crazy, she's probably witnessed some crazy in Nazareth. And in the roughly 2000 years since her Assumption, she's witnessed a lot of crazy--from the vantage point of heaven, of course. So, I'm asking her intercession while I try not to yell at my kids all day long.
Sometimes the prayer is audible, sometimes not, but the kids know what I'm doing and I wonder what they're thinking when they see me do this. I don't want them to associate the Hail Mary with me being fed up. They have asked me "what are you doing," as they watch me moving my lips, eyes raised to heaven. I tell them I'm asking Mary to pray for me.
This leads me to wonder of you know any moms who don't yell. I know one, but I guess I could be acquainted with more and just not know it. She's really sweet. I have seen her with her family and with other peoples' kids and I have never heard her even raise her voice above an "inside voice" tone. I don't know how she does it, especially since she has more than 10 kids of her own. Yes, you read that right. And I have never in 7 years of knowing her heard her raise her voice. There is an air about her. It's peace. She radiates peace.
I'm not sure what I radiate, but it's not peace. I think I radiate agitation. I radiate bad juju.
Actually, I do think I know how she does it. I'm pretty sure she prays more than me. She's definitely one of the holiest people I know. She seems to have put all of her life in the Lord's hands, and she is confident in His Providence.
This is my problem. I try to do too much. I pay good lip service to "Leaving it up to God," "His Will be done!" But I find myself trying to control things and then getting frustrated by the things I have no control over. Like the weather canceling or postponing events I've organized for Church. Dang, I can't make the blizzard either show up or avoid us. And I can't even rejoice in the time off.
Which brings me back to Mary. There she was, a 14 year old girl, and this angel shows up and tells her that God wants her to bear His Son. And after she gets over being confused ("How can this be? I don't know man."), she tells the angel, "I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word." And she probably never thought, "Boy, what's Joseph going to think? What are all the women in town going to think about me?" She probably just knew God would take care of it. She was that humble.
I read this today and it kind of jumped out at me. Maybe it will hit you, too:
We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body (2 Cor. 4:8-10).
Let it be done to me according to your word.