Me and My Clutter

heartOnce again I find myself looking at my obvious Lenten penance with hope that God will, once again, help me.  He is so faithful.  The big house we moved into in March 2009 (yes, we moved during Lent; it was perfect) has some serious housekeeping eyesores.  One of the biggest is a corner of our master bedroom that is piles on piles.

I have been chipping away at it for days now and just today I took a book off of one of the taller piles and smile.  The title:  101 Ways to Simplify Your Life by Candy Paull.

This book was given to me about ten years ago by Rita Munn, a mother of many and a fine writer for the equally fine Catholic Heritage Curriculum (CHC for short).  Back when Casa Sullivan had little ones roaming the halls, I had gathered a team to throw a homeschool conference at a local parish called “Growing in Joyful Parenting.”  She and her husband, a Deacon in Tennessee, stayed in our home.  The entire weekend was memorable and life-changing for so many of us.  New friends were made and old friendships fired in the love of Christ.

heart“Lives based on having are less free than lives based on doing or being,” says William James, according to the epigraph of the book.  I am tempted to sit and open the book .  I decided to keep cleaning, sweeping, sorting and throwing away.  The cats leapt around and chased each other.  The dog is constantly underfoot because it has been raining for two days.

With one in college and the other two young people in high school, I have a gift as a housewife and mother that I need to see with the eyes of my heart:  I can make all this work a prayer.  I can stop here and there and pray my Rosary and offer the extra pull on my limbs for souls.  By our recliner (ok, my recliner) is Catherine Doherty’s last book, Molchanie: Experiencing the Silence of God.  Her images evoke swimming for me, as my husband and I both were competitive swimmers for many years.  God’s Love is like water and we are to dive in and soak in His Mercy and Presence.  She exhorts several times in the book that one does not have to be living a quiet life to unite your heart to the quiet of God’s Heart (…so, no—I say to myself and to you in a similar state– you may not wait to pray for this until all the kids are raised, you do not have pets, you throw your Iphone into the woods and the doorbell stops ringing…)

Well, in the last pages, she summarizes waiting for this Quiet that is His Peace, His Mercy and, as I read it, what His Love can mean to a soul.

A quiet heart

“All is quiet in one’s heart.  The mind is asleep but the heart is receptive.  All emotions are subdued except the powerful emotion of love in one’s heart.  In this waiting for God, the totality of one’s person is at peace.  When this happens, God allows you to see why other people are not at peace and why there are so many problems.  All the “whys” in the world seems to flash in front of you like a movie, but this does not disturb your peace one iota.  Rather, the “whys” incite you to pray for others and for their problems.”

I am going to keep fighting my urge to overlook the clutter, keep cleaning and try hard to see my Lenten “to do” list through.  At my stage of the game being and doing, working and praying are like my two hands at prayer, pushed gently together, finger pointing upward to Heaven where I want, one day, to fly like a bird.  I am going to really “wow” my husband and get the teenagers involved.  I still have lots of Lent.  I have God’s help.  What more do I need?

Oops, just stepped on the dog as I grabbed my broom.


About Sara Sullivan

Sara Sullivan converted to Catholicism, as a young wife and mother, at age 33. She is married to Jerry over 20 years and mother to Maggie, Joybeth and Jay. She enjoys cooking with her husband, reading, vacuuming and sweeping pet hairs from the family’s six dogs and cats, writing and volunteering as a catechist at her parish. With great joy, she became a member of Regnum Christi in a small chapel in Cumming, Georgia, dedicated to our Lady on Christ the King Feast Day, 2008.
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