Holiness isn't Glamorous
Linking up with the lovely ladies of Fine Linen and Purple for "What I Wore Sunday."
One of my good friends attended a talk for mothers recently. Her favorite takeaway, she said, was this, "If you were a saint, what would your statue look like?" I guess the bishop who gave the talk said that his statue would involve him driving in a car, coffee in one hand, zipping around the diocese. His point was that, when we look at the statues of saints in church, sometimes we forget that those holy men and women weren't just standing around there, perfectly in prayer all the time. Quite the opposite! They were living in the thick of things.
Lately, I've been reflecting on the similarities between my marriage relationship and my relationship with Christ. One similarity that has been a comfort has been the difference between my "dating" relationship vs. my "married" relationship. When I was dating the Abbot, I had so much time to just get to know him. We stayed up late at the library - studying, trying to make each other laugh, and having heart to hearts. We walked hand in hand around our gorgeous college campus, and spent loads of time praying and having more heart to hearts in our favorite dorm chapels. We had the luxury of time and energy to spend focused on our relationship. Likewise, in my pre-married days, I had a lot of time that I could spend in prayer. One of my absolute favorite things about Notre Dame was the fact that there was a chapel in just about every building. Oh my goodness. So many chapels, most gorgeous, and all with Jesus in the Eucharist really present. It was like a piece of heaven on earth, I tell you. I used to plan my route home from class so I would hit up at least one of my favorite chapels for some prayer time. I had a lot of time to just be with Jesus, to pray and discern where He was calling me. It was lovely.
Then, He called me to my vocation, the beautiful vocation of marrying the Abbot. And, I said yes.
Once the Abbot and I were married, my love for him became deeper than I ever thought possible. It grows deeper every day. He and I have been through so much together in our 4 1/2 years of marriage, and with each HG pregnancy, with each birth story, with each random hospital visit, with each battle with PPD, with each mile marker passed on the Abbot's journey toward getting his ph.D...we grow closer to each other, and to God. And, likewise, my love for God grows deeper. But it doesn't always feel like that.
When we were dating, when I had all that time to pray by myself, my faith seemed so exciting. I have a vocation! I can give God my yes! My husband and I can grow in holiness together! Such spiritual consolation found in the beautiful dream of living out my vocation. But the daily living out of said vocation? Lots less consolation, lots more dryness and dullness. Holiness doesn't consist of one big "yes" after another...but of lots of little ones. Holiness is choosing not to nag my husband about taking out the diaper garbage. It consists in him slipping out of bed to get the baby before I wake up to retrieve her. Holiness is not snapping at the preschooler who's having her fifth meltdown of the morning, or having patience with the baby who just will not sleep. Holiness is running interference when your spouse is the one struggling to be patient with your children and desperately needs a break. Holiness is putting aside your research, putting aside the unfolded laundry, and choosing to spend time with your spouse. But above all this doing - holiness is doing all of these things with love. It sounds so simple, doesn't it? I wish it were. But it is a daily battle, fraught with daily failures and dotted with moments of triumph, and filled, absolutely filled with the grace to just keep going.
When I was a lowly high schooler, wondering what God was calling me to, knowing I wanted to live my life in a way that was remarkable, I had no idea that remarkable would look so ordinary. But it does. And that is how it should be, because we live our holiness in imitation of Him. And how did God show His love for us? He came to this world, was born an ordinary baby, lived an ordinary life, and even underwent death, as is the ordinary end to any life. He had to be obedient to his parents, patient with family and friends, diligent in his daily work - and it didn't look or feel glamorous.
But do you know what makes it all so extraordinary? Do you know what makes holiness not a drudgery? It's what comes after the ordinariness. It's what happens after the cross, and after the burial. It is so easy to get lost in that feeling that this is all there is. But it's not. There is more, so much more to come. Earth is our traveling place. Heaven is our home. Currently, we live 5 hours from one set of parents, and about 6.5-7 hours from the other. Driving with two little ones can be downright painful. Do you know what gets me through that last stretch of one of those drives? Envisioning walking up the front steps of my parents' house, or the Abbot's parents' house, and knowing we will be instantly embraced and ushered into their warm, loving homes. Holding out hope for that feeling of home at the end of our journey is the only reason I ever consider loading up our littles for a roadtrip. Knowing that there is a home waiting at the other end makes the dreariness, the dullness of the drive worth it.
And so it is with holiness. And so it is with heaven.
And now...what we wore to Mass this week! Isn't that little smile of Sister Stinky's just precious? As any parent of a 3 year old can attest, it is so hard to capture this kind of smile on a camera...but what a treasure when you're able to snap a picture of one!
And, okay, didn't get a picture of her in her church clothes, but the Abbot snapped these while we were getting her in her pjs. I could just nom-nom on those scrumptious thighs and dimpled knees of hers. My goodness, I love this baby.
Have a wonderful week!