Sarah and I took Luke and Kate to Mass. Taking Luke and Kate to Mass is always an adventure! Kate was especially antsy this morning and we didn't even make it to the Gospel before I had to walk with Princess Screechy into the 'cry room'.
Many days at Mass, I don't get to hear much of the readings. Between Luke and Kate, distraction has become my middle name! Today, I did catch a few words from the first reading that stuck with me. I figure that it must be important since God allowed me to hear something so clearly and actually retain it!
So...here it is:)
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
A cheerful giver. Those two words were bouncing around my head during my cry room time. What is a cheerful giver? Am I a cheerful giver? What is God asking me to give?
Things that make you go hmmmmm.......
My thoughts among doling out goldfish crackers and shushing the kids drifted to, "Do I live with my heart wide open?" I know the expression "Eyes Wide Open" which, in Wikipedia, is defined as "an expression that means that a person is fully aware of a true situation."
Being fully aware of a situation with your eyes....and your mind....is sometimes much different that being aware of a situation with your heart, don't you think?
I can look at a situation with my eyes and understand what the truth is without living with my heart wide open.
Living with my heart wide open is harder than living with my eyes wide open. Having a wide open heart allows me to feel complete joy, but also be left open to pain. Having a wide open heart means that I am completely open to God's will, but also need to retract my own will when my plans are not the same as His.
While at Church this morning, my thoughts of living with my heart wide open were connected with my children, particularly my oldest 3. This letting go process is really hard. I spent most of the last 2 decades trying to guide and protect them and now, as they begin to take the first steps is venturing out on their own, much of how we relate is changing. Change has been going on slowly for a while, but now we are on the very edge of the mountain where they are getting ready to jump into their own adult lives and I don't have control about what is underneath them!
I know this is the way it is supposed to be, but it isn't easy! I can't say I'm living with my heart wide open in regards to their growing up and making their own ways. I'm not 100% ready. I'm not on the roller coaster with my hands up in the air enjoying the thrill of the ride. Most of the time I feel like I'm riding the track up to the top of the highest drop thinking, "Why on earth did I ever get on this ride in the first place?!?"
The problem is that when you try to protect yourself from pain, you also keep yourself from letting in the joy. Such a Catch 22!
There is a particular beach that our kids like to go to when we visit Martha's Vineyard. It's a beach that gets a lot of big waves whenever a ferry comes to Oak Bluffs Harbor. The excitement starts as soon as the ferry is spotted and shouts ensue encouraging siblings to race to the edge of the water. Sitting in the shallow water, those giant waves come in and crash into my children....throwing them head over heals as they laugh and grin at each other and right themselves to enjoy each wave! Sure they get a little water in their noses and a ton of sand in their bathing suits....but they enjoy the ride.(Even the oldest ones that like to pretend they don't enjoy anything sometimes!)
I think that's how I have to make my heart: jumping into the joy and power of life's waves....despite the water up my nose or the sand in my bathing suit!
Oh...and the blessings of a cheerful giver....2Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.